How to plan for a backyard deck

How to plan for a backyard deck


Winter is here, and all is quite. While you are cozy in your home, why not plan ahead for the summer for a great outdoor deck?

If you are planning a fence, I highly suggest you to check out the following posts, where I laid out all the key information you need to consider:

  1. Things to Consider When Designing a Backyard Fence
  2. Pros and Cons of Vinyl/PVC Fences, Wood Fences, Iron Fences and Chain Link Fences
  3. Things to Know Before Getting a Fence

Now back to backyard decks. Let’s get right into it.

Know your limits

The Ontario Building Code requires that a permit be issued prior to starting the construction of a deck that is: attached to the house, the elevation exceeds 24″ above grade, or the deck exceeds 107 sq ft.

The City of Ottawa webpage states:

A building permit is required for a deck that is attached or adjacent to a building having a walking surface of greater than 24″ above adjacent grade. Other decks, not described above, that have a walking surface greater than 24″ above adjacent grade and area greater that 10 square metres (approximately 108 square feet) also require a building permit. For more information, please visit our Sundeck web page.

Regardless of whether or not a building permit is required for your deck, you should contact the Development Information Officer (DIO) for your area to determine whether or not your proposed deck will meet the zoning requirements for your property, mainly the setback to lot lines. You may contact the Development Information Officer for your area by telephoning our Call Centre at 3-1-1, or by visiting the Client Service Centre that is closest to your home address.

So do your research before planning. You don’t want your dream deck to go down in flames due to unforeseen regulations.

city of ottawa

Know your needs

Write down a list of what your needs are for the deck. Is it going to be a place full of memories, parties, or is it going to be a place of relaxation? Depending on what your needs are, your deck can turn out every different.

Know your style

Now that you have figured out your needs, find out what style of deck you want. Do you want stairs? Protective railings? Is it going to be a two-story deck with entry on two different floors? How big is the deck going to be? Set your parameters and ask for feedback from the people around you. If you are having trouble finding a style, stay tune for our next post for some inspirations.

Our Past Deck Work

One of our past works. (Kanata, Bridlewood)

Know your material

Different style will need different material. Not sure what material is the best? Not to worry! We provide consultations at no extra costs. Here’s a little quick rundown:

  • Pressure-Treated Lumber, the #1 choice in deck material. Affordable, accessible, and easy to cut and fasten with nails or screws. Most are made from southern yellow pine, and then chemically treated to resist rot, fungus and wood-boring bugs. A con of pressure-treated lumber is that it requires maintenance. It has a tendency to crack, split and warp. Routine maintenance is necessary to prolong the life and look of the deck. This will include an annual power washing and an application of stain or wood preservative every two or three years.
  • Redwood and Cedar, the old favourites. Not drenched in chemical, full of rich color and natural beauty. Both contain tannins and oils that make them naturally resistant to rot, decay and voracious insects. However, a thing to consider is that the level of weather- and bug-resistance is directly related to the amount of heartwood in the boards. Heartwood grows closer to the center of the tree, and is relatively hard and very resistant to decay. Sapwood grows in the outer part of the tree, near the bark, and is softer and more susceptible to decay. Furthermore, to maintain the wood’s natural color,  you’ll have to apply a stain. If you don’t apply a stain, both redwood and cedar will eventually weather to a soft silvery gray.
  • Composites
  • Tropical Hardwoods

Contact Capital Deck and Fence to find out more about your options.

Know your budget

Set yourself a limit. Consider how much you make. Keep track of your monthly spending as of right now. Be realistic. Get a second pair of eyes. Request a free quote from us. Start saving if needed.

Due to material shortages and high volatility of lumber prices we are TEMPORARILY suspending all new WOOD AND CHAIN-LINK fence installations. We apologize for the inconvenience. Wood decks and all other types of fences (vinyl, iron) are still available.