Frequently Asked Questions
A Deck is simply a room created by a floor structure. A well planned deck effectively expands your living space to the outdoors. Optionally, a deck can be made into an indoor structure by enclosing it with screen or glass. A deck is an investment that increases the value to your home. The return on your investment is typically 70-80% on homes that are sold within three to five years.
You can build your deck yourself or you can hire a professional to build it for you. If you have never build a deck before we suggest that you consider hiring a professional, or try to build a single level deck. If you are the adventurous type and have some experience with framing then we hope this information will offer some help with your project.
There are many choices for a deck structure. Your major choices are single-level decks, multi-level decks, basics decks, pool decks and spa decks or some combination thereof. Single level decks and basic decks are the most common. These decks are built on one level with an optional set of stairs to exit the deck if you built more than 18” off the ground. Multi-level decks are the equivalent of two or more single level decks. Often multi-level decks overlap and may include separate sets of stairs to get from one level to another. An L- Shaped deck is built in the shape of an “L”. L-Shaped decks often wrap around the corner of a house. Pool decks and Spa decks are framed to accommodate extra weight. Also Consider a shade structure like an arbor if your deck is in direct sunlight. Shade structures will make your deck much more enjoyable on a hot afternoon.
The type of the deck for you depends primarily on your intended use. Obviously, you would not want to entertain a large group of people on a small deck build outside your bedroom. Consider how you intended to use the deck. Some ideas are:
- PRIVATE SUN-BATHING
This deck should be relatively small. The ideal placement for a private sunbathing deck is outside the bedroom. However, if your bedroom does not get much sunlight or the sun shines on the deck during working hours then you may want to consider another location. An 8 foot by 8 foot ( 8’x8’) deck make a nice sun bathing deck.
- LARGE PARTIES
If you regularly entertain 20 or more people during the early evening hours, a large deck located outside the family room may be a wise choice. Consider an L shaped deck, if yard space is limited. A 16’ x20’ deck should be the minimum size for your needs.
- FAMILY USE
A deck intended primarily for family use and small gathering are the most common decks. An 8’x 12’ deck generally offers enough room for a grill and adequate free space. Scale the size of the deck to fit your needs.
- OTHERS CONSIDERATIONS
• BBQ and dining area
• Hot tub area – Future plan or exiting.
• Build ins, like buffet shelving or benches.
• Others accessories like planter boxes, storage benches, and skirting of your deck are popular choice.
• We can help you with your deck sizing for intended uses. We offer free consultation.
- Location, Location, Location
Determine where to build your deck is extremely important. Since a deck can be added to any side of your house or can be build as a free standing unit anywhere in your yard you will have a free hand determining exactly where to build it. However, obstacles such as utilities, plants and trees may impose limitations. Also, there may be zoning building codes, and home owner association restrictions on how close to a property line and where you can build your deck. Please consult the survey of your property to establish easement and setback restrictions as to where you can or cannot build an addition.
- Survey the Perimeter of Your House and Yard.
Note the location and the time of day that get sun and shade. NOTE: The sun’s angle will change with the seasons. Pay attention to the terrain. You may not want your deck too close to a tree that sheds leaves because of the fall cleanup.
- Consider The Long Term Consequences of Your Decision.
Decks are not mobile. Once it’s in place that portion of your yard space can not be used for other projects. Also, you may want to add to your deck at some point in the future, so consider where your property line ends.
- Planning Your Deck (Very Important!)
Now that you’ve decided to build your deck, you will need a complete set of plans for your deck. Most municipal building departments will require a plan before issuing a permit to begin construction. It’s a good idea to inquire what level of detail your plan will require. Again, check for any building restrictions before hand.
- Explore Your Plan Options.
You have several options for creating a plan. The Options include drawing a free hand plan on graph paper, drawing and plan using a CAD program, generating a plan from a deck designer professional or adopting a pre drawn-plan.
The first step to consider is to decide what type of pond, outdoor fountain, waterfall, or waterscape you want to build in Miami, Hialeah, or Fort Lauderdale. You should consider what type of aquatic life you want in the pond. Is it going to be a home for goldfish or Koi? Or is your main concern for the aquatic plants? Perhaps you only want the pond for the sound of a waterfall. Each type of pond, waterfall, or outdoor fountain that our builders in Miami and Hialeah work on will need to be planned for its specific features. Keep in mind that the most common mistake water gardeners say they made when building their first pond was making it too small. A small pond limits the number of fish and plants you can add.
You can build your pond yourself or you can hire a professional to build your outdoor fountain or waterscape in Miami or Hialeah for you. If you have never build a pond before we suggest that you consider hiring a professional, or try to build a simple pond. If you are the adventurous type and have some experience, then we hope this information will offer some help with your project.
Many factors will determine what type of pond you should build. Do you want something purely decorative? A sanctuary for aquatic life such as Koi or other types of fish? Perhaps an aquatic garden? How about a soothing waterfall? Perhaps some combination of these? Some of these choices will be yours to make, others may be made for you by space constraints. Weigh your options and let us help you arrive at the one that is right for you.
- Water Garden
A water garden typically contains both goldfish and a variety of aquatic plants. Water gardens in moderate climates usually need for an area of the pond to be at least 2 feet deep. Colder climates require a depth to provide at least 12″ to 16″ of water below the freeze zone.
- Koi Pond
A Koi pond is different from a water garden because Koi limit the amount of plant life available to be grown. Simply put: Koi eat some plants. A Koi pond should also be larger because Koi get quite large despite the size of the pond, it is recommended that a Koi pond be no less than 1000 gallons in volume, the bigger the better. It also needs to have an area of the pond at least 3 feet deep, 4 – 5 may be better. A Koi pond entails a rubber liner, multiple skimmers, bottom drain, multiple biological filters, settlement chamber, ultra-violet clarifiers, improved aeration and deeper. Since Koi are fed regularly they generate a lot of waste that needs weekly maintenance of the skimmers, sediment settlement chambers, filters and UV clarifiers.
- Back Patio Pond
Entails a rubber Liner, skimmer, biological filter, lined with rocks and gravel, about 2 feet deep and generally about 10 X 14 feet wide. Accommodates a few KOI, smaller fish, turtles, frogs, water-lilies and marginal plants. Requires regular “skimmer” maintenance, annual biological filter maintenance and “spring pond cleaning”.
- Hybrid Pond (crossover pond)
Selectively uses the concepts and components from “back yard ponds” and “Koi ponds” to meet the different requirements of client. It is less deep than Koi ponds, fewer Koi, fewer filters, more rock in pond, added shelve areas for plants and habitats for turtles. The expected maintenance is less than Koi ponds but more than “back patio” ponds.
- Pondless Waterfall (cascading pondless)
The pond is replaced by a hidden reservoir of water that provides water for the waterfall. This usually consists of a basin, or lined hole in the ground, filled with rocks made into a waterfall and a pondless waterfalls pump circulating the water. This method literally requires almost NO maintenance, NO standing water, NO Algae, NO mosquitoes, NO pond additives, and NO critter vandalism. You determine when you want the waterfall to run, turn it on when you are home, turn it off when you leave. No standing water means that it is safe for front yard installations
- The type of the pond for you depends primarily on your intended use and aesthetic preference as well as your ability to provide the needed upkeep.
Most ponds will be enjoyed more if they are installed close to the home. Select an area where you can see the pond year round. Ponds are great attracters of wildlife including birds and butterflies. Position the pond where runoff from rain will not flow into the pond. This may carry fertilizers, chemicals, and organic debris into the pond. It may be necessary to alter the terrain to accommodate this. Avoid placing a pond too close to trees. Falling leaves and other debris will need to be removed from the pond. You will want to place your pond where it will receive at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sun if you want to grow water lilies. Shade is fine for fish-only ponds. Water circulation is not essential but the use of a pump will allow you to keep more fish, it will keep your plants healthier. A pump is required to run a filter, fountain, or waterfall. The sound of running water adds greatly to the enjoyment of the pond. Most ponds will benefit from the use of a biological filter. This is essential if you are keeping koi or more than a few goldfish. We have several types of biological filters to choose from.
SURVEY THE PERIMETER OF YOUR HOUSE AND YARD
Note the location and the time of day that get sun and shade. NOTE: The sun’s angle will change with the seasons. A pond in the winter will get shade at a different time of of day and at a different angle in the summer. Pay attention to the terrain. You may not want your pond too close to a tree that she leaves because of the fall cleanup.