Category: Decks

The Importance of Proper Deck Planning: Tips for a Successful Project

Deck contractor building and planning a new deck construction project

Building a deck is more than just an addition to your home; it’s an investment in your quality of life. A well-designed deck can serve as an outdoor extension of your living space, offering a sanctuary for relaxation, a hub for family gatherings, and a venue for social events. However, the success of your deck project hinges on proper planning. Without a well-thought-out plan, you risk ending up with a structure that doesn’t meet your needs, exceeds your budget, or even worse, is unsafe to use. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of proper deck planning and offer tips to ensure your project is a resounding success.

Why Planning is Crucial

Budget Considerations

One of the most common pitfalls in deck construction is overshooting the budget. Proper planning helps you outline all the costs involved, from materials to labor, and allows you to make informed decisions that align with your financial capabilities. A contractor can provide a detailed estimate, helping you avoid unexpected costs.

Functionality and Design

A deck should not just be aesthetically pleasing; it should also be functional. Planning helps you decide the size, shape, and features that best suit your lifestyle. A professional deck contractor can help translate your vision into a feasible design, advising on the best materials and structural elements to suit your needs.

Safety and Compliance

Building a deck involves adhering to local building codes and regulations. Proper planning ensures that your deck is not only safe but also legal. A contractor can handle the task of obtaining all necessary permits and scheduling inspections, ensuring your deck is up to code.

Key Steps in Deck Planning

Assess Your Needs

Before you even think about design, consider what you’ll be using the deck for. Is it primarily for dining and entertaining? Do you need it to be kid-friendly? Or is it a peaceful retreat for reading and relaxation? Your intended use will guide many of your subsequent decisions.

Choose the Right Location

The location of your deck matters. It affects not just the construction process but also your enjoyment of the finished product. A contractor can assess your property to recommend the most suitable location, considering factors like sunlight, wind direction, and proximity to neighbors.

Select Materials Wisely

The materials you choose will have a significant impact on the longevity and maintenance requirements of your deck. A contractor can guide you through the pros and cons of different materials, helping you make an informed decision.

Create a Detailed Plan

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to create a detailed plan. This should include dimensions, structural details, and a list of materials. A contractor can provide detailed blueprints, serving as the roadmap for the entire project.

Budget and Timeline

With your plans in hand, you can now create a budget and timeline. Be realistic and account for potential delays like bad weather or material shortages. A contractor can help establish a realistic budget and timeline, accounting for potential delays and unexpected costs.

Obtain Permits and Inspections

Before construction begins, make sure to obtain all required permits. Your contractor can handle this cumbersome task, ensuring your deck is up to code.

Tips for a Successful Deck Project

  1. Consult Professionals: Even if you’re well-versed in home improvement, consulting with a professional contractor can provide valuable insights.
  2. Think Long-Term: Choose materials and designs that will stand the test of time, both in terms of durability and style.
  3. Prioritize Safety: From railings to staircases, make sure every component of your deck is safe and up to code.
  4. Consider Future Add-Ons: Plan for possible future additions like a pergola, hot tub, or outdoor kitchen. Even if you can’t afford them now, preparing the structure to accommodate them later is wise.
  5. Review and Revise: Don’t be afraid to make changes to your plan as you go along. Flexibility can often lead to a better end result.

Proper planning is the cornerstone of any successful deck project. It sets the stage for everything that follows, ensuring that you end up with a deck that not only enhances your home but also enriches your life. So take the time to plan carefully; your future deck will thank you.

Filed under: Decks, Trex Composite Decks

Creating an Outdoor Oasis: Incorporating Landscaping into Your Deck Design

Trex composite deck with plants and furniture

Outdoor living spaces have become an essential part of modern homes, providing a seamless transition between the indoors and the natural world. A well-designed deck can be more than just a place to grill and gather; it can be a tranquil oasis that reflects your personal style and connects with the surrounding landscape. Here’s how you can create an outdoor oasis by incorporating landscaping into your deck design.

1. Understanding Your Space

Understanding your space is the foundation of creating an outdoor oasis. It’s about recognizing the unique characteristics of your yard and how they can be harmonized with your deck design. From the way the sunlight hits different areas to the natural flow of the landscape, every detail matters. By carefully assessing the area and identifying key features, you can create a design that feels natural, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Avoiding common mistakes like ignoring the surroundings or overcrowding the space ensures that your outdoor oasis will be a comfortable and inviting retreat.


  • Assess the Area: Consider the size, shape, and orientation of your deck and yard. Think about how the sun, wind, and other elements will affect the space.
  • Identify Key Features: Recognize existing features like trees, ponds, or slopes, and integrate them into the design.


  • Ignore the Surroundings: Avoid overlooking the existing landscape and how it interacts with your deck.
  • Overcrowd the Space: Don’t add too many elements that can make the area feel cramped or unbalanced.

2. Choosing the Right Plants

  • Select Native Plants: Native plants are adapted to your local climate and soil, making them easier to maintain.
  • Consider Scale and Proportion: Choose plants that complement the size of your deck and don’t overwhelm the space.

Plants for Connecticut:

  • Perennials: Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, and Joe-Pye Weed.
  • Shrubs: Mountain Laurel, Inkberry, and Summersweet.
  • Trees: Eastern Redbud, Dogwood, and Sugar Maple.
  • Grasses: Switchgrass and Little Bluestem.

Plants for Massachusetts:

  • Perennials: Bee Balm, Goldenrod, and Lupine.
  • Shrubs: Bayberry, Viburnum, and Witch Hazel.
  • Trees: American Elm, Red Maple, and White Pine.
  • Grasses: Indian Grass and Northern Sea Oats.

3. Incorporating Hardscape Elements

  • Use Natural Materials: Stone, wood, and other natural materials can create a harmonious connection between your deck and the landscape.
  • Add Water Features: A small fountain or pond can add a soothing ambiance.

4. Creating Functional Zones

Dining and Cooking Area Ideas:

  • Outdoor Kitchen: Consider adding a built-in grill, sink, and prep area. Stainless steel appliances are durable and weather resistant.
  • Pizza Oven: A wood-fired pizza oven can be a unique addition.
  • Bar Area: Including a bar with seating can create a social hub.
  • Cooking Safety: Ensure proper ventilation and fire safety measures.

Relaxation Zone:

  • Outdoor Fireplace: Options include wood-burning, gas, or a fire pit, with materials like natural stone, brick, or fire-rated concrete.
  • Seating Arrangement: Arrange comfortable seating around the fireplace.

Safety Considerations:

  • Fire Safety: Ensure construction to local building codes and include proper safety barriers.
  • Material Selection: Use non-combustible and heat-resistant materials.

5. Lighting and Accessories

  • Use Ambient Lighting: Soft lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Add Personal Touches: Decorative accessories like cushions, rugs, and art can make the space feel personalized.

Trex Lighting Examples:

  • Deck Post Cap Light: Tucked discreetly under the cap, providing a warm downward glow.
  • Stair Riser Light: Installed into step risers, durable for years of foot traffic.
  • Recessed Deck Light: Subtle dot lights that install flush on the deck boards.
  • Aluminum Post Cap Light: Integrates lighting into the Trex Signature® aluminum post.
  • Wedge Deck Rail Light: Versatile post lamp that can be installed on composite sleeves.
  • Energy Efficiency: Trex deck lighting uses 75% less energy compared to incandescent.
  • Easy Installation: DIY-friendly with the built-in Trex LightHub® connection system.

6. Sustainability Considerations

  • Water Conservation: Use drought-tolerant plants and efficient irrigation systems.
  • Eco-friendly Materials: Examples include recycled composite decking, reclaimed wood, bamboo, permeable pavers, solar lighting, recycled metal, and low-VOC paints and stains.

7. Working with Professionals

  • Consult a Landscape Designer: A professional can help you create a cohesive design.
  • Hire a Skilled Deck Contractor: Ensure that the construction is done to code and meets your quality standards.

Creating an outdoor oasis is more than just adding a few plants around your deck. It’s about designing a space that resonates with your lifestyle and connects with the natural environment. By thoughtfully incorporating landscaping into your deck design, you can create a tranquil retreat that enhances your home’s beauty and offers a place to relax and entertain. If you need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts like Regan Total Construction who specialize in creating beautiful outdoor living spaces.

Filed under: Decks, Trex Composite Decks

Crafting Your Perfect Outdoor Space: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Deck

Luxury trex composite deck

A deck can be a tremendous addition to your home, providing a space for outdoor dining, relaxation, and entertainment. However, building a deck can be a challenging process filled with potential pitfalls. Being aware of these common mistakes can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress.

Let’s delve into six common mistakes that homeowners often make while building a deck and how to avoid them.

  1. Skipping the Planning Phase

    One of the most significant mistakes homeowners make is skipping proper planning. Building a deck is not as simple as buying lumber and driving in a few nails. It requires careful consideration of the space, lifestyle needs, and local building codes.

    Start by determining the size, location, and purpose of your deck. The size and shape of your deck should accommodate your intended use and complement the design of your home and landscape. With today’s decking materials designed to last 25-50 years, it’s crucial to plan the correct size, shape, stair location, and material selection carefully.

    Remember, every time you step onto your deck, you should feel satisfied with these details. That satisfaction stems from thorough planning, the right choices, and excellent execution.

  2. Ignoring Local Building Codes and Permits

    Another significant error is ignoring local building codes and permits. These codes ensure the safety and integrity of your deck. Failing to comply with them can result in fines, required modifications, or even deck removal.

    So, spend time understanding these codes and securing necessary permits. This understanding and compliance will save you from unexpected hiccups during the construction process.

  3. Choosing the Wrong Materials

    Choosing materials based solely on price is a common pitfall. Remember, the choice of materials significantly influences the longevity, aesthetics, and maintenance needs of your deck.

    Consider the impact of local weather conditions, maintenance requirements, and durability when selecting materials. Composite decking or hardwoods like cedar and redwood may be more expensive than pressure-treated lumber, but they offer greater durability and require less upkeep.

  4. Poor Installation of Ledger Boards

    The ledger board, which connects your deck to your home, plays a crucial role in the deck’s stability. Improper installation or sealing of the ledger board can cause water leakage and structural damage.

    Ensure the ledger board is correctly attached to your home’s framing, not merely the siding. Using appropriate flashing can prevent water from getting behind the ledger board and causing damage.

  5. Overlooking Deck Drainage Systems

    Ignoring deck drainage systems is another common oversight. Efficient drainage is crucial to prevent water accumulation, which can cause wood rot and structural instability.

    Incorporate a reliable deck drainage system to channel water away from the deck and house. This system could include gap-sealed deck boards, a slope design, or even an under-deck drainage system for elevated decks.

  6. Not Taking Your Time to Find the Correct Contractor

    Choosing the correct contractor is pivotal because all of these materials need to be installed in a specific manner with the correct fasteners and framing layout. If these requirements are not met, the warranty on the materials will not be valid with the manufacturer. Moreover, deck building codes have been increasing over the years, making it crucial to find a contractor who specializes in deck building.
    A contractor who is consistently booked far in advance is often a good sign of their expertise and demand. Conversely, if a contractor is readily available within a few weeks to a month, it could be indicative of a lower quality contractor who’s not in high demand.

    Further, consider whether the contractor participates in continuing education and holds accreditations for building code aspects of deck building, as well as accreditations from decking and railing manufacturers. These qualifications demonstrate a commitment to industry standards and the latest best practices.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a smooth construction process and create a durable, safe, and enjoyable outdoor space. Investing in comprehensive planning and the right contractor is key to achieving the deck of your dreams. It’s about not just building an outdoor structure but creating a space that will bring joy each time you step onto it.

Remember, the deck’s structural integrity, aesthetic appeal, and its compliance with building codes and warranty stipulations all rely heavily on the quality of workmanship involved in the construction process. This is why hiring a contractor who specializes in deck building, possesses appropriate accreditations, and is abreast of the latest in building codes and manufacturer’s specifications, becomes crucial.

In essence, building a deck is not just a home improvement project, but a long-term investment that should be approached with diligence and care. Contractors who specialize in deck building understand this and will bring the required expertise to your project, ensuring that every aspect is handled correctly and to your satisfaction.

So, take your time to plan, research, and select the right contractor for your project. A well-designed and well-constructed deck is not just an aesthetic addition to your home, but a venue for family gatherings, a peaceful retreat, and a personal statement of style. Get it right, and it will reward you with years of enjoyment and satisfaction. Plan carefully, choose wisely, and build a deck that will stand the test of time.

Filed under: Decks

The Future of Deck Building: The Benefits of Working with a Deck Contractor Offering 3D Rendering Services

Deck building is not just about construction. It’s about creating a space that harmonizes with your home and lifestyle. It’s about visualizing the future – envisioning a place where you’ll create memories with your family and friends. Today, the most progressive deck contractors are using 3D rendering services to bring your vision to life, even before the first nail hits the wood. Below are the benefits of working with a deck contractor who offers these advanced services.

1. Visualization

The primary benefit of 3D rendering services is the ability to see the finished project before construction begins. Traditionally, a homeowner’s imagination and a two-dimensional blueprint were the only ways to visualize the final product. However, 3D rendering technology has revolutionized this process. It allows the creation of a lifelike model of your deck, viewed from different angles, reflecting accurate proportions, materials, colors, and even lighting conditions. You’ll gain a tangible sense of how your deck will look and feel within your existing outdoor space.

2. Improved Communication

A significant aspect of any construction project is communication. Misunderstandings can lead to costly mistakes or dissatisfaction with the end product. 3D renderings facilitate clear, efficient communication between you and your deck contractor. They allow for the visual representation of ideas and changes, eliminating ambiguity and ensuring that both parties understand the project vision.

3. Greater Design Flexibility

With traditional blueprints, making changes mid-project can be challenging and expensive. However, 3D renderings offer greater design flexibility. Want to move the stairs or add a built-in bench? With a few clicks, your contractor can alter the 3D model, allowing you to see and approve these changes before they’re implemented. This flexibility minimizes surprises, ensures your satisfaction with the final product, and can ultimately save time and money.

4. Material Selection and Accurate Estimates

Another advantage of 3D rendering is the realistic representation of materials. Whether you’re deciding between cedar or composite decking, or choosing the color of your railing, 3D models can display different options with impressive accuracy. This visualization can help you make informed decisions about materials and aesthetics.

In addition, 3D rendering allows for more precise cost estimates. By creating a detailed model of your deck, your contractor can provide a more accurate quote for materials and labor. This transparency can help you budget more effectively for your project.

5. Increased Value and Satisfaction

Finally, 3D renderings can enhance the value of your investment. By allowing you to visualize and tweak your deck design before construction, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the end result. This satisfaction can translate into increased enjoyment of your outdoor space and potentially higher resale value.

Moreover, a deck contractor who offers 3D rendering services demonstrates a commitment to cutting-edge technology and customer satisfaction. This forward-thinking approach is a positive indicator of their professionalism and dedication to quality work.

In conclusion, 3D rendering services are transforming the deck building industry. They offer homeowners unprecedented control over their projects, fostering clear communication, flexible design, and confident decision-making. If you’re considering a new deck, consider a contractor who offers 3D rendering services. It’s an investment in a smooth construction process and a final product that aligns perfectly with your vision.

3D deck rendering with patio
view of 3d deck rendering
view of 3d deck rendering
3d deck rendering with steps
3D Deck Rendering RTC
3D deck rendering back of house
3D deck rendering with railing
Full view of deck 3D rendering
Filed under: Decks

Top 5 Trends in Deck Design for 2023

Beautiful outdoor deck with a state of the art integrated deck kitchen

As we approach 2023, there are several top trends emerging in deck design. With people spending more time at home and looking for ways to enhance their outdoor living spaces, deck design has become increasingly important. Here are the top five trends in deck design for 2023.

  1. Deck Sustainability

    One of the most significant trends in deck design is sustainability. As people become more environmentally conscious, they are looking for ways to incorporate sustainable materials into their deck design. Many homeowners are choosing to use eco-friendly materials like composite decking made from recycled plastic and wood fibers. Not only does this material look great, but it is also low-maintenance, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly. Other sustainable materials that are popular for deck design include bamboo and reclaimed wood. These materials not only look great, but they also reduce the impact on the environment.

  2. Multi-Level Deck Designs

    Another popular trend in deck design for 2023 is the use of multi-level decks. Multi-level decks provide a unique look and feel to any outdoor space. They create different areas for relaxing, dining, and entertaining, and can also provide a more private space for homeowners. This type of deck design is particularly popular for homes that are built on sloping or uneven terrain. Multi-level decks are a great way to maximize space while adding visual interest to the backyard.

  3. Integrated Deck Lighting

    Integrated deck lighting is another top trend in deck design for 2023. Not only does lighting enhance the look and feel of the outdoor space, but it also adds functionality and safety. Homeowners are incorporating a variety of lighting options into their deck design, including recessed lighting, string lights, and solar-powered lights. Additionally, many homeowners are choosing to install lighting that is integrated into the deck railing, which creates a soft glow and adds an extra layer of safety. With so many lighting options available, it is easy to find a style that complements any deck design.

  4. Outdoor Deck Kitchens

    Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular in deck design. With more homeowners looking for ways to enjoy their outdoor spaces, they are investing in outdoor kitchens that allow them to cook, entertain, and dine outside. These kitchens can be as simple or as complex as the homeowner desires, with features like built-in grills, refrigerators, sinks, and storage areas. Outdoor kitchens are a great way to bring the comforts of the indoors outside, and they create a luxurious and functional space for entertaining guests or just enjoying a meal with family.

  5. Bold Deck Colors and Deck Textures

    Finally, bold colors and textures are another top trend in deck design for 2023. Homeowners are opting for bright, eye-catching colors and unique textures to add interest and depth to their outdoor spaces. Bold colors like turquoise, orange, and yellow are popular choices, as are unique textures like patterned concrete and exotic woods. These bold design choices can create a stunning contrast against the natural surroundings, and they provide an opportunity for homeowners to express their personal style.

    In conclusion, as we approach 2023, the top trends in deck design are sustainability, multi-level decks, integrated lighting, outdoor kitchens, and bold colors and textures. With so many options available, homeowners can create a unique outdoor space that is both functional and visually stunning. Whether it’s a simple space for relaxation or a luxurious outdoor kitchen for entertaining, the right deck design can transform any backyard into a true oasis.

Filed under: Decks

Why You Shouldn’t Build Your Deck Without a Deck Builder Specialist

New deck construction project

Building a deck for your home is almost always a good choice. Not only will you get to enjoy it for years to come, but it also increases the value of your home significantly. However, custom decks can go wrong if you try to build them yourself or if you use a contractor with very little experience. Specialized deck contractors are invaluable to ensure stability, durability, safety, longevity, and much more. Here are several reasons why you should work with a reputable custom deck company when you’re ready to install a new deck.

Quality That Will Last

No matter what materials or designs you choose for your deck, it’s likely not going to be cheap. Quality matters with your deck whether you’re talking about the materials or the workmanship. You can invest in the best quality materials possible, but if you try to save money by building the deck yourself, you could end up spending more money in the long run. When you work with experienced deck and patio builders, they will recommend the best quality materials for your needs and budget. And you can always rely on their quality workmanship.

More Efficient Building Processes

Building a deck by yourself takes hours of planning and preparation. And if you miss one minor step, it can create a major setback. The last thing you want is for your backyard to be under construction for several weeks at a time. When you hire experienced deck contractors, you won’t have to deal with this. Experienced professionals have built dozens of decks before and know what issues they could run into beforehand. Depending on the size and features of your deck, it could be built in a matter of a few days. During your initial consultation with deck and patio builders, they should be able to provide you with an estimate of how long they believe your project will take.

Safety Is A Top Priority

If you’re building a backyard deck, you likely plan on spending a lot of time on it. This might even involve having parties or allowing kids to play on it. So when you consider this, safety should be a top priority. Even some of the handiest people overlook some safety features when trying to build a deck themselves. It might look great and stable initially, but extensive foot traffic can increase safety risks.

This is not something you have to worry about when you work with a custom deck company. Safety is always a top priority and experienced deck and patio builders know exactly how to secure every component. You can have total peace of mind knowing your deck is as secure as possible with a professional deck builder.

Custom Design Options

Experienced deck and patio builders have seen and built many unique decks before. So if you don’t know exactly what design you want, chances are they can show you some examples for inspiration. Or if you find a design you like online, they can recreate it to turn your vision into a reality. Many times people have a specific vision for what their deck could look like, but then their vision changes when talking to deck and patio builders. With the additional experience specialized deck builders have, your deck will turn out to be even more beautiful than you imagined!

All Local Requirements And Codes Are Met

Every area has specific requirements and codes that need to be met when building a deck. Most experienced deck contractors will pull the necessary permits for you and ensure all local requirements and codes are met. If you decide to build a deck yourself, you have to research this on your own and it’s easy to miss something. Your new deck must be compliant with local codes and regulations, so it’s best to rely on professional deck and patio builders.

Beauty Is In The Details

Too many DIYers get frustrated when their deck-building project takes longer than they expected. That’s when mistakes are made and small details are overlooked. And it’s these small details that can lead to the need for major repairs in the future and potentially create an unsafe deck in the present. Professional deck builders won’t overlook any details no matter how minor they are. Every detail goes together to create the perfect deck, so it’s not worth missing any of them.

Save Time And Money With Professional Deck And Patio Builders

Finally, you can save a significant amount of time and potentially money by working with professional deck contractors. Building a deck yourself will likely take at least twice as long as a deck contractor, and that’s if everything goes perfectly. But if something goes wrong, then you’re adding time and likely spending more money as well. Plus, when you work with a specialized deck contractor, you can rest assured your deck will be durable and stable for years to come. All you have to do is perform routine maintenance to keep it looking like new.

Regan Total Construction can turn your vision for your deck into a reality. We’ve seen too many people try to build their deck themselves and be disappointed as a result. We take great pride in every deck we build and love hearing all the positive comments from our customers. When you’re ready to begin exploring the process of building your new deck, contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Filed under: Decks