Backyard decks are structures in the backyard of a home that are designed for activities, lounging, or otherwise adding usable space to that home. They can be broken down into two general categories: attached decks and floating decks. Floating decks are not attached to the home or building, while attached decks are affixed for stability and a smooth transition between indoors and outdoors. The materials used to make backyard decks can vary significantly; wood is the most common material, though composite decking has become more popular over the years. Aluminum is less common but still available for construction.
Attached backyard decks are more common than floating ones, as they offer convenience for homeowners or guests walking out of a building and directly onto the deck space. The specific design of these backyard decks can vary significantly according to the homeowner's needs as well as the amount of space available in the yard for the structure. If, for example, an above-ground pool is present in the backyard, a builder can construct the deck in such a way that stairways or platforms lead up to the lip of the pool. The same can be done for an in-ground pool, though the structure will have to be customized differently to accommodate the lower structure.
Sometimes the best locations for backyard decks are away from the home or building itself. In this case, a floating deck can be built; it will be independent from any other structure and must therefore support its own weight and create its own stability. Like attached decks, the designs of floating decks can vary significantly according to the builder's desires as well as the structure's proximity to property boundaries and other obstacles.
Many builders construct backyard decks from various types of woods because these materials are generally easy to work with during the construction process and many can withstand constant exposure to the elements. Hardwoods are preferred over softwoods, since hardwoods tend to be stronger, aesthetically pleasing, and resistant to weather damage. Composite materials are more commonly used in modern building; synthetic materials can be combined with wood to create a strong, weather-resistant board that will require very little maintenance over time. Some composites, however, are just as susceptible as wood to rot and bug infestation, so careful research should be done into various materials before committing a building project to such composites. The best composites will not warp, crack, or rot after time, and they will not fade in color significantly either.