Create your dream deck

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Backyard barbecues. A big patio table and chairs. A spot to kick back with a book and enjoy an afternoon breeze. Nothing says summer enjoyment in your yard like a deck!

A well-planned and well-built deck can add resale value and make your home easier to sell. But a tiny, "postage stamp" deck that looks like it's about to collapse at any moment can do more harm than good. So if a new deck is on your list of projects this spring, take the time to plan for something that looks and performs well, now and into the future. Here are some things to consider.

Height and elevation changes

One of the first things to consider is which doors from the house will access the deck, and how high the deck will be in relation to those doors. The deck may be level with the doorway, so there's no step down as you exit the house, or there may be a single step down.

If the deck is fairly high in relation to the surrounding yard, and you...