When designing a deck with a pet in mind, the first consideration should be that of safety. When you consider safety, you need to think in terms of specifics for your pet. The best deck design is one that works for your individual living arrangements. Consider the age of your pets. If steep or winding stairs are part of your design, make them wide enough for an aging pet to navigate.
Railings, Gates and Stairs
If dogs are the pets that share your life, safety is the first concern in deck design. Elevated decks need to have secure railings with openings small enough to keep your dog contained. Design deck gates that swing out of view when not needed but that will provide a totally enclosed deck space when in use. Design railings and gates for the dogs you have now and any that you might acquire. That railing that your German shepherd dog can't get under might look like an open invitation to a small puppy. Designing with the future in mind will save you the price of deck renovations down the line.
When it comes to stairs design what works best for humans and pets. Consider solid sides for a steep set of stairs. For the safety of your pets, close in step risers, and build steps that have a wide stepping area. Avoid excessively steep, narrow stairs if you can. Ramps are applicable for older pets in the place of stairs. Design ramps to provide a skid-free surface to enable older pets to join you.
Built Ins and Shade
When planning your deck design, include a built-in area with ramps to raised dog bed platforms or fancy dog houses that can be enjoyed by your pet when they are on the deck. If your deck serves as the only backyard that you have, consider building in a space for one of the new small-space dog potty stations. These custom options can be built seamlessly into the design of the deck specifically to suit the needs of your pet. If you like your pet to join you while you enjoy a good book, build a double-sized lounging platform into your plans. Also consider an area of the deck to be a shade area. Consider a pergola or shade providing cover to offer an area for lounging that is out of the direct sun. Design the deck based on the way you enjoy your time with your pet.
Space for Custom Enclosures
If you share your life with a pet that can climb or fly, consider a deck that has room for a built-in enclosure. The enclosure will allow your pet to enjoy the space with you, but not necessarily always on a leash or tether. Incorporate the design of a kitty condo and play area that can be landscaped into your deck to provide not only necessary and safe pet space, but an area that is visibly appealing. These areas are suitable for any cat or small companion animal that can climb. If birds share your life, build an aviary suitable for their outdoor safety and enjoyment. Find a craftsman who can custom make a cover for the enclosure to keep unwanted pests away when they are not being enjoyed by your pet.
- Photo Credit Deck de madeira image by CarlosNeto from Fotolia.com
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