For those looking to make the most of the beautiful Australian outdoors, an above ground outdoor living space or deck is often the way to go. Done correctly, a deck can add amenity to your home and even enhance its value: according to Domain, a deck or terrace can increase your home's value by up to $100, 000. While a deck may seem like a simple, straightforward addition, its design does require careful consideration of a range of critical factors. Below, we explore the key considerations that must be taken into account to ensure that deck addition projects go smoothly and successfully.

Aesthetic factors

Managing the transition from indoors to outdoors is critical, and you most carefully consider how the new above ground living space will interact with the existing structure of your home. Ideally, the deck should complement the existing material and colour palette; echoing materials from the adjacent indoor space can make the transition from inside to outside smoother. This can be as simple as matching the colour of timber members selected for the deck with the colour of internal floorboards. 

Also consider the size and form of the above ground living space and ensure that this is visually harmonious with the rest of the house. Particularly in cases where your deck may overlook – or be overlooked by – neighbouring properties, selecting complementary screening is a sensible privacy precaution.

Planning factors

Council permission may be required for above ground living spaces with certain characteristics. Generally speaking, council permission is required for above ground additions less than 5 metres from the lot boundary, with a total area of greater than 25m2, and with a floor height of more than 1 metre above existing ground level. Permission is also required for privacy screens that exceed 2.2m in height above the floor level of your deck. Specific requirements may vary between municipalities, and it is advisable to consult your local council or Local Environmental Plan (LEP) when in doubt.

When building in bushfire areas, ensure that your above ground living space complies with the fire safety requirements set out in AS 3959-2009 – Construction of Buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. This Standard establishes the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) metric, which identifies the degree of risk of a building’s exposure to direct flame contact, radiant heat, and ember attack. Ensure that you select decking materials and systems appropriate to the BAL for your area by consulting the Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) Bushfire Map. For specific BAL construction requirements, contact your local council.

Cost factors

Adding an above ground living space to your home can be a significant financial investment. As such, prior to commencing a project you must consider cost in three regards:

  • Cost of the raw decking materials and associated components (i.e. fittings, finishes)
  • Cost of the sub-frame material and associated components
  • Cost of installation labour and fixing system

The relative costs in each of the above three categories varies depending on the situation and decking system selected, but installation labour typically accounts for the highest proportion of costs. In addition to the above, it is also advisable to consider the costs of ongoing maintenance and repairs – both of which may be higher when low quality – albeit cheaper – products and installation methods are selected from the outset.

Decker WPC Decking and Screening 

Wood plastics composite (WPC) decking and screening from Decker take into account each of the above factors and allow you to construct a stunning above ground living space with ease. High performance Decker decking and screening is available in a variety of colours and textures and priced at different points to provide the solution for any budget and project. The durable elements require no painting, varnishing, oiling, or other post-installation treatment or maintenance, and are installed using an easy hidden clip system. To ensure a cohesive aesthetic, vertical screening and horizontal decorative laths are supplied in matching colours and textures that complement the deck and existing home.

In addition to their broad catalogue of decking and screening products, the knowledgeable Decker team also provide help with the design process. View the Decker catalogue and learn more about their design services at