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6 tips for a better outdoor deck

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Few projects are as enjoyable as building a new outdoor deck. They're fun to design and build; they look great; and they enhance both the enjoyment of your home and its resale value. Decks are also a great do-it-yourself project, and there are lots of products on the market that can help you get the job done faster, safer and with better results.

Wander the aisles of your local home center or hardware store or do an online search, and you'll find more than enough inspiration to get you itching to grab a hammer!

Deck design: Let's start at the beginning -- with a great design. If you have something in your head in the way of a perfect deck but you're not sure how to turn it into reality, start with a simple computerized drawing program. You can pick them up inexpensively at a number of retailers, and they're pretty intuitive to learn. Most not only help you design the deck in 2-D, but also do 3-D modeling, structural details, and even m...