DECK AND POND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Miami Area Outdoor Fountain, Waterfall, & Waterscape Builders
A deck is an extension of a home or business that can serve as additional outdoor square footage. When well planned, a deck can expand living space and allow you to enjoy the outdoors in a comfortable and stylish manner. Decks can also be enclosed, creating an indoor structure that can be enjoyed year-round. A deck can increase the value of a home and should be viewed as an investment. Newly constructed decks typically provide a return of 70-80% on homes sold within three to five years of their construction.
If you have the experience and skill set, you can build your own deck. But we typically recommend working with a professional who can design and construct a deck that meets your personal taste while adhering to local ordinances and safety requirements.
No single deck design will work for every client, home, and business. There are several choices when it comes to choosing a deck structure design. The most common choices include:
- Single-level decks
- Multi-level decks
- Basic decks
- Pool decks
- Spa decks
- Combination decks
We find that single-level decks and basic decks are the most common. For most home designs, they make the most sense. They can add several hundred square feet of additional living space and add access to yard space with an optional set of stairs, as long as the deck is built more than 18” off the ground.
If your space and design allow, multi-level decks can overlap and provide maximum square footage. They typically feature several sets of stairs and are ideal for built-in seating areas.
An L-Shaped deck wraps around the corner of the home in the shape of an “L” while pool and spa decks are built either around or to support the additional weight of a spa or pool. There are additional features that should also be considered when choosing a type of deck, like shade structures or built-in flower boxes.
The type of deck that’s right for you will depend on how you want to use the space. Ask yourself how you want to use your deck. Do any of the following fit your vision?
If you plan on using your deck to sun-bathe or enjoy uninterrupted time outdoors, you may want to consider a relatively small deck, preferably outside your bedroom, or at least away from common spaces like a living room or kitchen. Make sure the space receives sunlight and is private from neighbors and other yards.
Go big or go home is what we say when designing an entertainment deck. If you want to host large gatherings, an oversized deck is a must. Build it off a common location in the home, like the great room or kitchen. We consider large decks to measure at least 16’ x 20’, but don’t be afraid to dream even bigger if you have the space.
For a family deck, safety is key. You’ll want to keep stairs to a minimum and pick a material that’s resistant to mold and splintering.
Finally, consider other deck options when deciding on the type of deck you need. This could include whether you want a dining area, BBQ space, hot tub, built-in seating, or accessories like storage benches or upgraded skirting.
For help in deciding on the type of deck that’s right for you, take advantage of one of our free consultations.
Finding the best location for your deck is crucial. This can be done in several steps.
While you ultimately get to decide where your deck goes, whether it’s off the back of your home or freestanding in your yard, you’ll need to know your location limitations. Look for obstacles such as utilities, plants, and trees. Know your zoning building codes along with any homeowner association restrictions. You should also consult the survey of your property to establish easement and setback restrictions.
Once you have an idea of where you want (and can) put a deck, check it out during several time periods of the day. Make sure it receives sun and shade as you see fit. Also, pay attention to the surrounding area. If your deck will be shaded by large trees, you’ll need to keep the surface clean during fall. If it will be exposed to sun most of the day, you’ll need to keep it protected with sealant or other methods.
You won’t be able to move your deck once it’s built. So, make sure it won’t be in the way of future projects, either with your house or the deck itself. Make sure your design doesn’t limit your options for growth later on.
Now that you have an idea of where you want your deck and what you want to use it for, make sure your plan accommodates your vision. You can draw your plan or use a CAD program, or work with a designer who will provide a professional plan. Most municipal building departments will need a detailed plan of your deck before you’re allowed to start construction. This will let you know if your design meets building restrictions as well.
A pond is a water feature that can provide a relaxing and esthetic element to any property. There are several types of ponds, waterfalls, waterscapes, and fountains to consider when you want to build in Miami and the surrounding areas. You can choose from outdoor fountains, cascading waterfalls, or built-in waterscapes that hold aquatic life or plants. You can choose to house Koi or focus on unique flowering plants. Either way, our outdoor fountain and waterscape builders in the Miami area can enhance the beauty of any landscape and improve the value of a home.
If you have the experience and skill set, you can build your own pond. But we often recommend working with a professional. Building a pond can be challenging and dangerous, depending on where you’re digging and how deep you want the water to be. If you’re going to house Koi or other fish, you’ll want to make sure the area will keep them healthy and happy. A professional can design a pond that meets the needs of its inhabitants while creating the look you’re after.
The choice is up to you, but to find out, ask yourself a few questions. Do you want your pond to house fish? Or do you want it to remain purely decorative? Do you want it to have a cascading effect or simply be built into the ground? Do you want any decking to surround it or do you want seating to be built in? Weigh your options and explore different designs until you find one that fits your vision.
There are several different types of ponds you can choose from. Below are some of the most popular, along with their advantages and any associated concerns.
This type of pond houses goldfish and aquatic plants. They’re ideal for warmer climates, where they can be shallower. But in climates where temperature plummet below freezing, a water garden will need to be at least 12” below the freeze zone.
A Koi pond is great for viewing and feeding fish, but not ideal for those who want to grow a variety of aquatic plants. Simply put, Koi enjoy consuming plants and can leave the terrain surrounding a pond quite empty. Koi can grow to be very large fish and should be kept in ponds with no less than 1000 gallons in volume. Deeper ponds are also necessary for Koi. A minimum of 3’ is preferable. Koi can produce a lot of waste, making a Koi pond one of the more difficult types of ponds to maintain.
Back patio pond
A back patio pond is ideal for a variety of aquatic animals and plants. These ponds are generally about 2’ deep and can house small fish, turtles, frogs, plants, and water lilies. Koi can live in back patio ponds, but the number of fish should be restricted. Back patio ponds do require maintenance but not as much as Koi ponds.
A hybrid pond combines the best features of back patio ponds and Koi ponds. They’re shallower, have fewer filters, and include more shelves areas for plants and small animals. There’s less maintenance involved and more to enjoy.
Instead of having an open viewing area of water, a pondless waterfall includes a hidden water reservoir that feeds a waterfall. With this type of water feature, there’s virtually no maintenance to worry about. With no standing water, there’s minimal clean-up and no worry of algae or mosquitoes. Pondless waterfalls can be turned on and off to save resources, making them a great option for summer homes or for those who often travel.
There are several aspects you’ll have to take into consideration when deciding where to install your pond. You’ll want to have it in a location that’s easy to see and enjoy. You’ll also want to make sure that, should your pond attract wildlife, it’s in an area that will not make it easy for unwanted invaders to have access to plant life or fish. From an environmental standpoint, you’ll want to have your pond in an area where rain runoff won’t flow into the pond and deposit fertilizers, chemicals, or debris. You may need to alter the terrain to prevent runoff. You should also avoid placing a pond beneath or too close to deciduous trees.
If you want to grow water lilies, you’ll need to place your pond in an area that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. But if your pond has fish, shade is preferable. Keep in mind that the sun’s angle will change with the seasons. If you need to run a filter or want to run a fountain or waterfall, room for a pump is required.