HomeOutdoor Living BlogHow to Design Your Own Deck Like a Pro

How to Design Your Own Deck Like a Pro

January 28, 2021
Design your own deck like a pro featuring TimberTech PRO Legacy Tigerwood deck, stairs, & TimberTech deck lights

Looking to design your own deck? When you design your outdoor living space, you create a deck that is truly unique and totally yours. Take complete control of every aspect of the build – from deck material to how you pattern your deck boards – or get the inspiration you need to decide which part of the project you want to own.

Read through best practices for installing composite decking, so you can be sure to kick off your project right. LEARN ABOUT INSTALLING COMPOSITE DECKING

To design your own deck, follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Decking Material

When deciding to design your own deck, choose a durable deck material that is designed to last. While traditional wood is a common deck building material, even premium hardwoods and pressure-treated wood will deteriorate in time due to moisture damage and weathering.

TimberTech® capped polymer and capped composite decking is built to resist moisture and withstand the harshest weather – all while maintaining its nature-inspired beauty.

Design your own deck beachview inspiration

Why Choose TimberTech Decking

TimberTech decking is superior to traditional wood in several ways including:

Step 2: Choose a TimberTech Decking Line

TimberTech decking lines are divided between our capped polymer decking line, TimberTech® AZEK®, and capped composite decking lines, TimberTech PRO® and TimberTech EDGE®.

Explore Defining Factors of Each Decking Line

Backyard view of a design-your-own deck featuring TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection in English Walnut

TimberTech AZEK

  • Fully synthetic material from cap to core for superior durability.
  • Advanced color blending and varied grain patterns for an authentic wood look.
  • More design options with Multi-Width Decking.
Detail view of a design-your-own deck made from TimberTech PRO Legacy Collection in Whitewash Cedar

TimberTech PRO

  • Durable blend of polymer and wood fibers.
  • 100% synthetic 4-sided capping protects all sides of the board, even in the grooves.
  • Realistic color blending that ranges from solid to cascading.
TimberTech EDGE Coconut Husk Sea Salt Gray design-your-own deck

TimberTech EDGE

  • Attainable and attractive.
  • Durable blend of polymer and wood fibers.
  • 100% synthetic 3-sided cap on the top and sides.
  • Monochromatic and moderate color-blended options for a subtle real wood look.

Step 3: Choose Your Color

A design-your-own-deck finished project made from TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection in Coastline, Mahogany, Dark Hicory

TimberTech deck boards come in a wide variety of nature-inspired colors across all our decking lines, from rich browns to soothing grays. When you design your own deck, you can opt to keep it classic with a single color across your deck or mix it up with color combinations.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Deck Color

Before you decide on a color, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Your climate – Warmer climates will benefit from lighter colors, particularly from our TimberTech AZEK decking line, which is designed to feel up to 30° cooler on bare feet than competitive products.
  • Your home’s color and architectural style – Your deck color can either match your home’s exterior color and style or contrast it for a more dramatic look.
  • The atmosphere you want to cultivate – Darker browns and grays can be perfect for a cozy vibe, while light tans and grays can contribute to an airy, cheery atmosphere.
Pictured: TimberTech AZEK, Vintage Collection®, Mahogany


Earthy browns convey a sense of stateliness, while still having a rustic feel.

Works well with: Mid-century modern style homes that boast different natural textures.

Gray composite decking Driftwood TimberTech PRO Reserve Collection
Pictured: TimberTech PRO, Reserve Collection, Driftwood


Soothing grays range from light and lively to dark and brooding, and everything in between.

Works well with: Coastal-style homes that emphasize neutral tones and blues.

TimberTech AZEK Vintage Weathered Teak display swatch
Pictured: TimberTech AZEK, Vintage Collection, Weathered Teak®


Warm tans can be bright or subtle, but often have a golden richness.

Works well with: Traditional style homes that exude sophistication with a sunny air.

Step 4: Customize Deck Shape & Size

Deck shapes and sizes vary considerably, and choosing the right deck style when you design your own deck for your home depends on:

Consider backyard space available when you design your deck

Space Available

Your deck’s shape and size should optimize the space around it. A sprawling deck in a small backyard will look unsightly, while a petite deck in a big backyard will feel cramped.

Consider primary deck function when designing your own deck

Primary Deck Function

Does your family often dine al fresco? Do you enjoy a quiet reading corner? Your deck’s shape should accommodate its function whether you use it for one or many different activities.  

Match your deck design to the architectural style of your home

Architectural Style

Ensure your deck’s shape and size match your home’s architectural style for a unified look. Angled designs will suit a mid-century modern home, for instance, but maybe not a traditional home.

Kick off your deck design with a templated deck plan that you can then customize to suit your specific needs and preferences EXPLORE DECK PLANS

Step 5: Prep for Your Build

After you decide on the decking material, color, and deck shape you prefer, it’s time to build.

While it’s always fun to design your own deck, you may find you prefer to partner with an expert once it’s time to choose your fasteners. More complex deck builds will likely require a contractor, while simpler deck designs can be more feasible to take on yourself. If you DIY your deck build, be aware of residential building codes in your area, and contact your town hall for a permit, if needed.

Deck inspection of substructure flashing deck joists

DIY Deck Building

If you decide to DIY your deck build, you can find installation guidance in the Deck Building Resource Center. Be sure to also consult the specific installation guide for your chosen deck boards.

Start with Chapter 1: Joist Blocking & Spacing to properly set up your deck substructure. Then consult other chapters that correspond with the deck boards and preferred fasteners chosen.

Learn why TimberTech AZEK decking with top-down fasteners and a panelized metal railing might be the project for you. EASIEST WAY TO BUILD A DECK

Work With a Pro

Working with a TimberTech-registered contractor can ensure your deck gets built right, so you and your family can enjoy it safely for years to come.

If you decide to work with a TimberTech-registered contractor, review best practices for deciding on a contractor, then use our contractor locator tool to find your decking expert.

Step 6: Launch Deck Designer

Now that you have a step-by-step guide to design your own deck, it’s time to get started. Use our 3D Deck Design tool to design your perfect outdoor living space – and of course, save your design to share with your contractor once it’s time to break ground.

Turn your deck dream into design

Play with shapes, colors, lighting, and railing to bring your deck ideas to life with our custom Deck Designer tool.

Scroll to Top