5 Ways to Transform Your Outdoor Space With Decking by HOUZZ
Make the most of your garden, expand living space and cut down on maintenance with natural wood decking
Warm weather means spending more time outdoors, a season to enjoy relaxing in the garden on a sunny afternoon or getting together with friends for a meal outside. If you’re looking to better set up your outdoor space, whatever its size, a wood decking can add attractive square footage for lounging, cooking, dining, entertaining and even working. The most dramatic decks can show off your home’s architecture and boost the overall look of your outdoor space.
“Decks are a great extension to an interior living space and can extend the feeling of interior space,” says architect Lisa Bovell, principal architect at McLeod Bovell Modern Houses in Vancouver. Read on to discover five ways that adding natural wood decking can enhance your outdoor space and lifestyle, and learn the advantages of choosing natural, highly durable and sustainably sourced wood as a decking material.
1. Boost Your Outdoor Living Space
Natural wood decking is an ideal transition from your home’s interior to the outdoors. “Decks are a great way to create a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior if the colour of the hardwood flooring on the interior matches the deck beyond,” Bovell says. For this stunning home in West Vancouver designed by McLeod Bovell Modern Houses, the deck’s blonde hue corresponds with the light-toned flooring inside, both a beachy complement to the blue waters of the pool and the inlet beyond. Bovell’s team used board-formed concrete for the siding, which has a softwood grain texture that mimics the natural wood of the decking.
For this project, Bovell selected acetylated wood for the decking — a material chosen carefully to stand up to the climate of the site. Acetylating changes the cell structure of the wood so the cell walls block moisture, reducing the wood’s ability to absorb water. This results in nontoxic wood that’s naturally water- and insect-resistant, is barefoot-friendly and is safe for people and pets.
“We found this product after searching for a replacement for natural wood alternatives for decking material in the challenging climate that is the West Coast of British Columbia,” Bovell says. “Accoya wood is a good choice of wood for the West Coast because there are not any other durable wood options that are hard enough for a durable deck surface.” Additionally, the wood offered by Accoya is sustainably sourced, with a smaller environmental footprint than other decking materials.
2. Enhance Your Home’s Architectural Features
Wood decking is a good choice for any home style, traditional to modern. Whether the wood is light or dark, the surface textured or smooth, decking can complement and enhance the architectural features of your home. One of the best things about natural wood, Bovell says, is the variation in colour and texture between and within planks. “We find that this natural variation creates enough ‘noise’ and beauty as it is, so we try very hard to find a single wood that can be used in all applications and locations — horizontal siding, vertical decking, on soffits, sometimes on ceilings,” she says.
The architects used Accoya wood for the decking, soffit, exterior siding and exterior window screens of this contemporary West Vancouver home. Using the same material for all of these applications enhanced the minimalist look they were after, bringing the focus to the clean lines of the building and the gorgeous view. Choosing a material that would work both indoors and out and stand up to weather exposure was essential to the integrated style.
3. Complement Your Yard
Even if you have a modest-size home, wood decking is a natural companion to any style of landscape or even a view looking out to leafy canopies. At home alongside lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees, wood decking provides a calming neutral palette for colourful gardens and looks harmonious with green landscaping. Grey is an on-trend neutral colour for decking, letting a green lawn and colourful flowers really pop. One of the advantages of using natural wood decking is that the boards will naturally weather to a silvery grey. If you’re bringing greenery to your deck with potted plants, choosing acetylated wood reduces the chance of water stains left by the pots.
4. Express Your Personal Style
Options abound when it comes to colour stains and surface textures for wood decking. You can let your design taste shine with smooth, brushed, charred or even custom textured finishes for a one-of-a-kind look. Bovell prefers a wood’s more natural texture and focuses on stains. “The stain is usually matched to the wood scheme in the interior or exterior architecture and material palette of the house,” she says.
The slight variation in the boards and natural weathering can add subtle texture to an expanse of decking. Additionally, you might like to explore mixing wood decking with different hardscape materials such as cut stone, poured concrete or crunchy gravel, and choose a board colour and finish that ties them together visually. In the same way, Bovell selected a blonde hue to match the hardwood floors of the previously mentioned home, you could select decking to pick up the colours of natural stone in a flagstone path leading to a deck, for a similarly cohesive look.
5. Cut Down on Maintenance
When assessing your garden as a whole, consider the size of the planted areas, including lawns that need frequent mowing and flower beds that require tending, versus areas that are hardscaped. The time that goes into tending lawns or beds, not to mention the irrigation needed, often far exceeds time spent keeping a patio or deck clean and in good condition. So including some areas of decking can not only boost outdoor living space but also the time you have available to enjoy it.
That being said, any deck will need regular maintenance since it’s exposed to the elements. In general, you should sweep it regularly, clean it yearly, repair any damage, and stain or seal the wood surface when necessary. Accoya’s uncoated decks are particularly low-maintenance compared with other decking materials and are made from naturally rot-resistant wood. However, any wood is susceptible to weathering and sealing or staining can help protect it.
The wood acetylation process that changes the cell structure of Accoya’s wood improves the decking’s dimensional stability — the amount it expands and contracts —making it scratch-resistant, helping coatings last longer and requiring less maintenance. “Any stain product that is used tends to last longer on the surface of the material because the wood goes through less expansion and contraction, creating a better barrier to the elements,” Bovell says of Accoya wood decking.
More: To learn more about the benefits of Accoya’s sustainably sourced, acetylated wood decking and choose a style that complements your home and garden, visit our decking page here.
This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.
5 Ideas to Steal From These Gorgeous, On-Trend Exteriors, by HOUZZ
Boost your home’s kerb appeal with eye-catching materials, finishes and more
1. Look to Nature
Embrace the biophilic trend and celebrate your natural surroundings with an unpainted wood exterior. Add a clear coating to preserve the wood’s original hue or let it weather to a beautiful soft grey, as seen on this home in St. Joseph, Michigan. Its acetylated wood cladding pops against the black window frames and is low-maintenance, durable and resistant to rot, insects and fungi.
Acetylation is the process of modifying wood with a concentrated vinegar, “which makes it so that the wood doesn’t stay wet,” says Tim Svarczkopf, a technical manager at Accoya, a company that creates acetylated wood. It reduces the shrink and swell by 75% and allows Accoya to offer a 50-year warranty. “If the wood hardly swells and doesn’t rot for 50 years, the applications are virtually limitless,” Svarczkopf says.
2. Go Monochromatic
Exude modern sophistication with a dramatic exterior in a single colour. Ideal for transitional-style homes, like the one seen here one in Bethesda, Maryland, it can work well for a multitude of aesthetics. The key is to vary the tones and textures to bring much-needed depth. The cladding seen here was charred using the ancient Japanese technique of shou sugi ban.
If painted wood is more your style, be sure to choose lumber that won’t swell or shrink too much — movement causes cracks. “The coating is going to last significantly longer that way,” says Ty McBride, a renovator in Oklahoma City. He uses acetylated wood — which is resistant to bowing, twisting and warping — for his projects, keeping maintenance and future repair costs to a minimum. Svarczkopf adds, “It can be used without maintenance of any kind and still not decay. If the owner wants the wood to look nice, they’ll likely want to clean it annually.”
3. Embrace Bold Minimalism
Modern minimalist architecture, with its clean lines and simple colour palettes, continues to pop up in Houzz’s most-saved photos. Impressive use of volume, shape and contrasting materials — such as sleek metal and textural stone — adds visual interest and turns heads.
Acetylated wood decking brings visual warmth to the modern home in West Vancouver seen here, acting as a counterpoint to the expansive glass and rough concrete. While salt crystals may form on the planks, the coastal environment won’t have any effect on the wood itself, Svarczkopf says. The deck won’t splinter and can be enjoyed all year round with minimal upkeep. “Friends who use acetylated wood in coastal regions rave about it,” McBride says.
4. Opt for Expansive Glass
Let in the light with large glass doors and walls of floor-to-ceiling windows to create an airy, welcoming look both inside and out. This popular design trick will visually expand your home and connect you to nature and all of its soothing effects. Use glass or thin cable railings on decks to maintain clear views.
The house in Auckland, New Zealand, seen here fully embraces the trend with plenty of indoor-outdoor spaces. Its acetylated wood windows and doors help with insulation and keep energy bills down. The low-density material traps heat in air pockets, Svarczkopf says, stopping it from travelling quickly from the inside to the outside and vice versa. “The density is really great for thermal insulation,” McBride says. “It doesn’t conduct heat the same way as aluminium and vinyl.”
5. Combine Styles
Mix contemporary and traditional styles for a new exterior look that’s all your own. “Sleek” and “simple” are the watchwords of this approach to help you avoid anything too mismatched. Think neutral hues, clean lines and minimal detailing. For example, consider one large picture window instead of multiple mullioned designs.
A modern addition imbues this shingled home in Bellport, New York, with fresh style while preserving its historic character. The new space features simple windows and charred acetylated-wood cladding, chosen for its durability and sustainability. Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, among others, the cladding is fully biodegradable. “The waste isn’t going to impact the environment, as opposed to cement board, vinyl or aluminium,” McBride says. Svarczkopf notes, “It’s also a very fast-growing renewable resource and a carbon-sequestering product. The fact that it lasts for so long and needs less maintenance enhances the life cycle benefits.”
This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.
To see the article on HOUZZ, please click here.
How to Choose Wood For Exterior Doors and Windows, by HOUZZ
Searching for external wooden joinery that’s less likely to warp, looks great and is kind to the environment? Read on!
If you’ve fallen for beautiful timber doors and windows and are determined to add them to your home, we don’t blame you; their timeless elegance will undoubtedly increase your property’s kerb appeal. But before you jump in and start choosing your windows and doors, it’s important to consider the durability, thermal performance and maintenance requirements of your chosen timber designs.
How do you source a timber that looks superb, but requires less maintenance than traditional species and will hardly move or warp? Read on and discover Accoya wood – an innovative product that’s a game-changer for external windows and doors.
Will they stand the test of time?
It goes without saying that you want doors and windows that will stay in good condition for years, but how can you guarantee the timber you choose will hardly shrink, warp, or move? Step forward Accoya wood, a modified wood product that uses a non-toxic process to create a product that rivals the performance of the best hardwoods.
Not only can Accoya wood withstand the test of any climate, including the most extreme, it brings unprecedented reliability as it’s more stable than other timbers; it is checked and trusted not to move significantly as a result of changes in humidity.
Bonus tip: With Accoya wood’s 50-year warranty on above-ground timber (surpassing teak), you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your forever home will look good for decades.
Will they keep me warm?
Original single pane sash windows are notoriously rattly and draughty due to shrunken or swollen frames, and are inefficient at retaining your homes’ heat. ‘But they look so elegant,’ we hear you shout.
Well, don’t fret as Accoya wood’s naturally insulating frames help to lock in the warmth, ensuring your home stays cosy and your energy bills stay low.
Bonus tip: If you’re worried about excessive solar gain, consider fitting wooden shutters or louvres to shade the area. Accoya wood’s shutters and louvres are a good option to pair with Accoya windows, as they’re low maintenance so will retain their looks for longer.
Will they look beautiful?
Whether you’re going for traditional wooden sash windows frames, bay windows or architectural glazing, the aesthetic appeal of your frames is a key consideration. Accoya wood is easy to work with, so it’s ideal for both period or contemporary joinery, while bespoke sizes and designs offer plenty of creativity, allowing you to have a truly unique look.
Accoya wood’s style benefits don’t stop there. Its naturally light colour affords a wide range of translucent colour options, from light oak to the darkest ebony. The stability of Accoya wood means that black paints can be used with confidence on external applications.
How sustainable are they?
Most of us want to make environmentally friendly choices wherever we can, and by opting for Accoya wood you’ll be doing just that. Its outstanding sustainability credentials start with the sourcing of the raw material that comes from fast-growing sustainable forests, which in turn help combat carbon emissions.
What’s more, Accoya wood is recyclable, so you won’t have to contribute to landfill or any other form of environmental damage. On top of this, Accoya Wood is non-toxic and won’t emit synthetic compounds or chemicals, making it safe and healthy for people, pets and the environment.
To discover more about Accoya, visit their Houzz profile here.
This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.
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