Turning a drab concrete patio into an inviting outdoor oasis is easier than ever with composite decking. Composite decking offers the look of natural wood without all the maintenance. Built to last for decades, composite decks create durable and stylish spaces for relaxing, entertaining, and enjoying the outdoors. From layout to decor, there are many ways to transform your patio and take your outdoor living to the next level.
Composite Decking 101: The Low-Maintenance Patio Upgrade
Composite decking is made of plastic and wood fibers mixed and compressed into durable deck boards. The plastic gives it superior weather, stain, and insect resistance. Composite won’t rot, crack or warp like natural wood. It retains its color and resists fading. The added wood fibers provide strength and a realistic wood look and feel. Composite requires no yearly sealing or staining. Simply wash it with soap and water as needed.
Composites have come a long way in appearance. Today’s options mimic the look of exotic hardwoods, with multi-toned, grained patterns. Textured surfaces provide an authentic wood feel. Composite is also splinter-free and gentle on bare feet.
Composite decks have a long lifespan, outperforming wood by 3 times or more. The upfront cost is higher than pressure-treated lumber but pays off long-term in their low maintenance. Composites offer a consistent, like-new appearance year after year with almost no upkeep required.
Benefits of Composite Decks
- Extremely durable and weather resistant
- Won’t rot, crack, warp, or splinter
- Resists mold, mildew, and insect damage
- No sealing, staining or painting required
- Cooler underfoot than wood in summer
- Retains color and resists fading
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Outperforms wood by 3X or more
- Realistic wood looks now available
- Made of recycled materials
Key Design Considerations for Enhancing Patio Spaces
When planning a composite deck addition, there are several important factors to consider to create an enjoyable, functional space tailored to your lifestyle.
Layout and Shape
The overall deck layout impacts how you will use your outdoor living space. Most composite decks are built over an existing concrete patio footprint, but you can expand or customize the shape and flow. Consider:
- Traffic flow for entertaining guests
- Placement of stairs, entryways, and railings
- How the space will connect to your home
- Sightlines to take advantage of views
- Sun exposure throughout the day
- Rectangular, curved, multi-level, or custom designs
Plan a layout conducive to your intended activities, whether dining, lounging with a book, or hosting large backyard gatherings. Section off different zones as needed, like a secluded hot tub nest or designated grill zone.
Functionality and Usage
Consider how your family will use the new deck space. Will it be used mainly for dining alfresco? Lounging on weekends? Or entertaining larger groups? Factor in:
- Space requirements for dining tables, sofa seating, etc.
- Conversation areas for guests
- Room for kids or pets to play safely
- Privacy considerations
- Weather protection like retractable awnings
Zoning your deck for different functions will make the space more livable day-to-day. For example, create a cozy reading nook away from the main entertaining spaces. Maximize what you can enjoy on your new composite deck.
Aesthetic Design Elements
Once you’ve nailed down the floor plan, it’s time for the fun part – decking colors, railings, lighting and decor. Composite decking comes in a rainbow of colors, from warm natural wood tones to grays, reds, tropical hues and more. Mix colors and board patterns for a custom look. Complement with decorative railing, contemporary LED lights, planter boxes overflowing with blooms, and comfortable patio furniture for the full outdoor living effect.
Some design elements to enhance deck decor include:
- Colors, patterns, and composite board styles
- Sleek steel or glass railings
- Built-in benches, planters, and lighting
- Privacy screens or horizontal trellises
- Stone or tile accent features
- Weatherproof cushions and rugs
Accessories and Furniture
No deck is complete without comfortable and durable outdoor furniture. Look for all-weather materials like aluminum, teak, synthetic wicker, and weatherproof cushions. Style your space with:
- Patio tables, chairs, loungers, and umbrellas
- Outdoor sectionals or modular pieces
- Fire pits, chimineas, and outdoor bars
- Weatherproof cushions and outdoor rugs
- Decorative planters, pots, and flower boxes
Arrange seating to promote conversation, with blocking undesirable views. Outfit smaller nooks with a bistro set or hanging chair. The right patio furniture transforms a basic deck into a welcoming oasis for relaxing and entertaining.
Design Concepts to Enhance Your Outdoor Living Space
When designed thoughtfully, composite decks become so much more than just a floor. Apply these design concepts to enhance aesthetics, comfort and enjoyment of your outdoor living space.
Adding Visual Interest
A flat single-level deck lacks architectural interest. Enhance visual dynamics using:
- Multi-level decking with steps
- Borders and geometric designs
- Light and dark color contrasts
- Angled deck shapes and patterns
- Decorative railing and lighting
Adding different heights gives a deck depth and appeals to the eye. Make part of the deck raised to delineate spaces without restricting flow. Define edges with colorful borders or tiles.
Bringing in Nature
Plants soften hard decking and connect the space to nature. Incorporate live greenery using:
- Hanging flower baskets
- Container trees and shrubs
- Vertical gardens or planted privacy screens
- Built-in planter boxes
- Elevated garden beds
Position planters and pots to provide privacy, shade, or beauty. Herb gardens give deck owners fresh seasonings. Drought-tolerant succulents work well. A green oasis awaits when you mix plants into deck design.
Ambiance and Relaxation
Create a relaxing vibe on your new deck with these elements:
- Outdoor string lights overhead
- Candles and lanterns
- Soft rugs underfoot
- Water features like fountains
- Cozy, cushioned seating nooks
- Soothing audio like wind chimes
Proper lighting transforms a deck from day to night. Highlight stairs and pathways to improve safety. Position lights to accentuate plants or architectural features. A glowing deck encourages use long after sunset.
Nooks tucked away from main traffic areas give deck users quiet spots to retreat with a book or tablet. Pick furnishings and decor that enhance relaxation and comfort.
The benefits of composite decking make it an excellent upgrade over high-maintenance natural wood. Following basic design principles for layout, functionality, decor, and visual interest results in an outdoor living space tailored to your lifestyle.
Turn wasted patio space into the ultimate staycation destination. Composite decks require minimal upkeep, allowing you to spend more time enjoying backyard relaxing and entertaining, and less on maintenance.
Incorporate the design concepts covered to enhance aesthetics and enjoyment of your new low-maintenance deck. An upgraded multi-functional outdoor living space adds value, comfort, and beauty to any home.