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Decking Guide

Your Patio Guide

Backyard Bliss: Decking Decisions

Designing your backyard can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to choosing the right patio or AKA decking. 

At Royal Pools G2 Outdoor Designs, we believe in spending quality time with our clients, discussing the multitude of options available. This guide aims to offer insights into backyard decking essentials, covering patio square footage, various decking options, and also talk about pool coping options.

Join us as we share our knowledge and experiences to help you make informed decisions for your outdoor space!

Average Square Footage

How Much Of A Patio Do I Need?

Typically, clients initially plan for a functional poolside space of 700 to 900 square feet of decking. However, in our experience, we commonly observe an average closer to 1200 to 1400 square feet. This notable difference underscores a crucial consideration in patio design around a pool—the size of gatherings you envision in your backyard. Those opting for 700 to 900 square feet often entertain smaller groups or prioritize family enjoyment. On the other hand, those aiming for 1200 to 1400 square feet frequently host larger gatherings or possess extensive furniture sets.

It's evident that after the challenging times of the pandemic, there's been a substantial surge in decking square footage investments as people redirected funds toward enhancing their outdoor spaces rather than traveling. While this doesn't imply that everyone necessarily needs larger decking areas, it does indicate an emerging trend towards expansive outdoor designs that compliment the home design by giving it a resort-like feel but in your own backyard!


What To Consider When Thinking About How Much Space You Need

Functionality is pivotal when contemplating the required space. Similar to your kitchen or living room, a seamless flow is essential. Below, you'll find a comprehensive list of considerations to ensure optimal functionality in the most common areas we see congregations of people.

Did you know? Around 90% of pool-goers tend to gather in the shallow end, often chatting with those lounging on the patio nearby. This highlights an intriguing trend: most pool owners aren't primarily using their pools for swimming; it's all about lounging and relaxing! But that's a discussion for another time. The key insight here is that the shallow end offers an excellent opportunity for a cozy spot, perhaps even a small table. Consider expanding your decking in this area to create an inviting space for relaxation and conversation.

Shallow End Averages - Width of Pool Plus 6’ - 8’ depth of decking.

Example: If your pool is 16’ Wide, go Back 6’ - 8’ off the pool's edge to fit a smaller table or some outdoor chairs!

While it's quite obvious, many associate a swimming pool with basking in the sun's rays for that perfect golden tan. Utilize the natural sun patterns when planning your backyard layout strategically. These sun-kissed zones present perfect spots for chaise loungers or comfortable outdoor chairs, catering to all the sun-seekers in your backyard oasis.

To accommodate comfortable lounging and free movement around chaise loungers, it's recommended to have a concrete extension of at least 8 feet from the length of your pool’s edge. This space allows sunbathers to relax undisturbed while permitting easy passage for others in the vicinity. In some cases, this extension can even extend up to 10 feet to ensure ample room for both lounging and unhindered movement around the pool area. The size of the loungers indeed plays a crucial role. Knowing their dimensions in advance can greatly influence the required space for comfortable placement. 

When the sun becomes a bit overwhelming, shade structures like pergolas or gazebos not only provide relief but also enhance the beauty of your backyard. Whether you opt for the open elegance of a pergola or the enclosed comfort of a gazebo, both serve as wonderful retreats from the sun's intensity, adding both functionality and aesthetic charm to your outdoor space.

If you're considering a 12' x 12' gazebo, it's advisable to plan for a decking area of at least 14' x 14'. This extra 2 feet around the gazebo ensures sufficient space for movement, creating a well-proportioned and visually appealing outdoor setting. Ultimately though the overall design of your design will dictate if more concrete around the structure is needed on all sides!

In every yard we design, patio furniture plays a vital role. It serves as an extension of your home, offering a relaxing spot for swimmers to unwind or enjoy a meal. Below, you'll find typical furniture sizes matched with the recommended decking space around them for optimal comfort

Table and Chairs Sets

6 Person - 10’ x 10’

8 Person - 12’ x 12’ 

Small End Table - 5’ x 5’

Once you've gathered your preferences and accounted for the suggested decking sizes listed in the charts, it's a great time to sketch a preliminary drawing on any available surface. It doesn't need to be perfectly to scale; the goal is to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper. This initial sketch will act as a foundation for a designer to further develop and tailor the plans according to your specific vision and needs.

The Wide Variety Of Pool Decking Options

The world of pool decking options is vast, ranging from traditional broom-finished concrete, stamped concrete, brick pavers to luxurious natural stone and even raised outdoor porcelain tiles with hidden-draining systems. While I won't delve into all the possibilities, I'll focus on those best suited for the climate prevalent in the Midwest region of the country. 

Here's a structured approach to cover each material independently, detailing their characteristics, average cost per square foot, and the pros and cons tailored to the Midwest climate.

Broom-Finished Concrete

Broom-finished concrete offers a classic, textured appearance and is a popular choice for its affordability and durability. Overall broomed concrete is reliable and the cheapest form of decking to get around your pool.

Pros of Broomed Concrete:

  • Affordability: Cost-effective compared to other materials.
  • Durability: Long-lasting and resistant to harsh weather conditions.
  • Low Maintenance: Easy to clean and maintain.

Cons of Broomed Concrete:

  • Limited Aesthetics: May lack the aesthetic appeal of other materials.
  • Potential for Cracking: Susceptible to cracking over time.

Average Cost

1 Laminar is going to be around $2,800.00 a bulk discount can be applied by your swimming pool contractor beyond 2. Most likely additional pumps will be needed as well.

Stamped Concrete

Broom-finished concrete offers a classic, textured appearance and is a popular choice for its affordability and durability. Overall broomed concrete is reliable and the cheapest form of decking to get around your pool.

Overall, stamped concrete offers a cost-effective way to achieve the look of more expensive materials, but it requires proper installation and maintenance to ensure longevity and preserve its aesthetic appeal.

Pros of Stamped Concrete:

  • Aesthetic Versatility: Available in a wide array of patterns, colors, and textures, offering versatility in design to mimic various materials.
  • Cost-Effective: Often more affordable than using authentic materials like brick or stone.
  • Durability: Concrete is durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions when properly installed and maintained.
  • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal maintenance being that it has to be sealed every 2 years.
  • Customization: Can be tailored to match the aesthetic preferences of the homeowner. It is about 90% customizable but expect prices to increase the more custom you go.

Cons of Stamped Concrete:

  • Potential for Cracking: While durable, stamped concrete may develop cracks over time due to weather changes or settling.
  • Installation Complexity: Requires skilled professionals for proper installation to avoid issues with texture or pattern inconsistencies.

Concrete FYI

There are two things guaranteed in this world: one that you have to breathe to survive, and two that concrete will crack. It's almost like concrete has commitment issues!

Concrete does indeed have a mind of its own when it comes to cracking! The mystery behind when and where it will crack remains unpredictable. Generally, there are two primary types of cracks that commonly occur in concrete: surface cracks and structural cracks.

Surface cracks are a common occurrence in concrete and are typically considered a natural part of the material's behavior. These cracks are often a result of factors like shrinkage, minor settling, or temperature changes during the curing process. Because they're considered unavoidable and generally don't compromise the structural integrity of the concrete, they're never covered by warranties offered by concrete contractors

On the other hand, structural cracks run deeper and are more concerning as they affect the integrity of the concrete. These cracks are often caused by more serious issues such as poor soil preparation, excessive load-bearing, or improper construction practices. Identifying and addressing the cause of structural cracks is crucial to maintaining the structural stability of the concrete. Structural cracks should be covered by a concrete contractor under their Labor and Quality Workmanship clause.

Brick Pavers

Brick pavers are individual units or bricks made from concrete. These materials offer a range of aesthetics, durability, and costs suitable for the Midwest climate, allowing homeowners to select based on their preferences and budget while considering the weather conditions in the region.

Pros of Brick Pavers:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Classic, modern or versatile design options.
  • Repairability: Individual bricks can be replaced if damaged.

Cons of Brick Pavers:

  • Higher Cost: More expensive than broomed and stamped concrete.
  • Maintenance: Requires occasional resealing to maintain appearance.

Average Cost per Square Foot

Around $18 to $30 per square foot.

Brick Paver FYI

Brick pavers, being a concrete product, are susceptible to cracking and settling over time. While these occurrences aren't entirely abnormal, they should be addressed promptly, especially if they happen within the contractor's specified "Labor and Quality Workmanship" period.

An Aesthetic Essential

Pool Coping

Coping plays a pivotal role in the aesthetics of a pool, serving as the innermost perimeter that accentuates the pool's boundary. Typically measuring between 9 to 18 inches wide, coping materials vary from concrete and brick pavers to natural stone and tile. This edge, slightly overhanging the pool, can feature square, bullnose, or chipped stone finishes.

With all three pool types, three primary coping options stand out: stamped or colored concrete, brick or natural stone, and porcelain tile.

Contractors specializing in stamped concrete find this technique appealing. It involves framing a border around the pool and stamping it before pouring the rest of the deck. Alternatively, skilled professionals might snap lines in the wet concrete for precision, using hand jointers to cut a border while pouring the deck as a whole. Both methods offer stylistic enhancements to the pool.

For a custom concrete border, costs vary based on pool size. Typically, expenses range between $2,200 and $3,600, depending on the intricacy and dimensions of the design.

Basketball and Volleyball

Pool Games and Furniture

Basketball and volleyball can make for the best memories in your swimming pool. They can be cast in concrete and removable or set on the patio with a water filled base to be moved around. There is nothing better than competing against friends and family in a water sport. Just be sure your team takes the shallow end 😉

  • Concrete Cast Average Cost:
    $2,200.00 – $3,500.00
  • Portable Average Cost:
    $100.00 – $800.00 

I hope that helps!