Interview with Lawrence Winterburn, expert on deck designs, continued from Page 1. On this page, I ask Lawrence for further ideas on deck designs, including curved deck designs.
Curved Deck Designs
Q. I see examples of curved deck designs in your portfolio. Please offer some of the scenarios in which clients request such deck designs (e.g., in terms of utilizing space).
A. Curves are not so much for conserving space in a small yard. It is not the most efficient way to use space. It is a look -- a point of interest -- an uncommon thing. Better still, when well done, it can seem like it belonged there all along. Sometimes they fit the space. Sometimes they make the deck more dramatic.
Architectural Deck Designs and Formal Deck Designs
Q. Two of your categories are “architectural” deck designs and “formal” deck designs. How would you characterize these styles?
A. Architectural deck designs are those more elaborate in detail. Experimental construction methods make the project appear more simple, or to shield the actual structure from view. Layered trellis work or laminated parts incorporate harder and stronger materials, but make it look like a simple slab of wood. Things are not always as they seem. Many of these projects are expensive and complex to orchestrate. Most have drip edges, flashings or roofing built into the details.
Formal deck designs would normally utilize more traditional looking detailing. Panelized posts and columns, crown moldings, layered trims and, of course, wainscot and lattice. Many have actual roofs like a veranda or porch. Most of these will be pre-finished to match the residences’ colors.
Deck Designs and Pergolas
Q. Please discuss some of the reasons given by your clients for incorporating pergolas into their deck design. E.g., in one entry in your portfolio, I see a relatively small “architectural pergola” which “gives the deck vertical interest.” In another entry, I see a large pergola that creates a courtyard feel. Roughly what percentage of clients who request pergolas express an interest in training container-grown vines over their pergolas, to provide shade? Do some clients express an intention to cover their pergolas in some other way for shading (i.e., with man-made materials)?
A. Containers work better in the southern climates… they have to be emptied in the colder, northern areas or they will freeze and burst -- and many plants won’t tolerate freezing. In the northern climates we utilize planting pockets which offer some protection from frost -- especially when near a residence wall, which doesn’t typically freeze.
Many people use curtains made of sail canvas or other suitable fabric -- this year we are test marketing an under-the-pergola awning. We don’t have info on percentages of people that are interested -- but we should later in the year.
Deck Designs and Outdoor Kitchens
Q. One of the deck designs in your portfolio shows a deck with an outdoor kitchen. Knowing that you’re based in an area with a cold climate (Ontario), I must ask for your thoughts on the installation of outdoor kitchens in regions that experience rough winters. E.g., how are appliances protected from the elements? How much use do your local clients say they get out of their outdoor kitchens (6 months out of the year? 8 months?)?
A. Here in Ontario it has been a solid 9-month season. If you have an outdoor kitchen you can afford to rent or buy heaters for events late into the fall. Cool weather isn’t as much of an issue as it was in the past. When it comes to appliances, we have suppliers that sell fridges that are cold weather tolerant. We tend to design outdoor kitchens in sheltered areas up here, areas not exposed directly to wind from the west and northwest.
Keep in mind though…we have plenty of locations in the Southern US that have year-long use and building seasons. I am sure we will see some incredible things from them in the coming years -- Charleston, Virginia Beach, Tampa, Naples, Dallas, Los Angeles and of course Boston are all now in operation.