Alternatives to Using Traditional Lattice Under a Deck
Raised decks and porches present an opportunity and a challenge: what to do with the under-deck space. In the past, the answer was often wood lattice or plastic lattice, a crisscross diamond pattern that put unsightly storage and bare dirt out of view but which allowed for ventilation. The answer was to leave the space beneath empty, grow grass, create a graveled area, or put down pavers for other deck designs.
However, today, building practices and porch lattice and porch skirting have evolved, and traditional lattice can date a home. Most homeowners don’t want an unsightly space beneath their lovely outdoor living area. To add to the beauty and practicality of your under-deck space, consider one of these eight alternatives to using deck lattice.
1. Create a Room for Storage, Entertainment, or Relaxation. If you have a two-story level deck, meaning your backyard deck is elevated enough to create a room beneath, add a drainage system to create dry, usable space under the deck.
Trex RainEscape provides an exceptional complete under-deck drainage system. Using a network of troughs and gutters, Trex RainEscape keeps rain, spills, and snowmelt from dripping through elevated deck boards. Next, you can install a ceiling to create a more finished living space with lights and fans. With a protected space, you can be as creative as you like!
Adding a drainage system works best before installing the deck boards, so be sure to talk to your deck builder before construction begins. Look at online deck pictures, deck ideas, and porch ideas to help you plan. A new deck is a wonderful home Improvement with terrific ROI.
2. Skirt with modern wood slats. One of the best deck skirting ideas trending today is to use horizontal lines to create a modern design. You might paint the slats the same color as your home or a contrasting, often darker color. You can choose wood panels or metal slats. The horizontal lines will elongate the appearance of your home and add a structural element to your landscaping. Horizontal deck skirting ideas are especially good for mid-century modern home exteriors.
3. Install shiplap. While horizontal slats give a home a more modern feel, the shiplap’s simple wooden planks add a touch of farmhouse style. Shiplap is installed horizontally and can be stained, painted, or left bare (though you’ll need to seal any exposed wood). Because the gaps between the boards may be narrow or nonexistent, be sure to allow for airflow. Install vents if needed. If you have a wood deck, you can stain the shiplap the same color to give it a seamless look with the deck stairs, boards, and railings. If you have composite decking, be sure to use either the same boards or an intentional contrast. You don’t want the skirting color to be just a little off from the deck, which looks like a porch skirting mistake.
4. Create a patterned look. Composite deck skirting comes in a variety of designs. Check out the wide variety of options available through Trex LatticeWorks. Choose from Moroccan, Tuscan, Imperial, Pueblo, or others. The various lattice design options are available in black or white or painted to your liking. These lattice panels are fully customizable and offer a privacy screen, along with durability. Trex LatticeWorks panels are lightweight PVC so that they can clean easily. The low maintenance material does not absorb water, is UV stabilized, and weather-resistant. The pattern you choose can become a focal point for your backyard designs. Be creative! Some homeowners have used the lattice panels for doors, screened porches, and pergolas, too. We’re a significant fan of the versatility of this product.
5. Go for vertical lines. Vertical lines draw the eye up and look especially lovely on traditional Victorian homes with wood siding. Paint the skirting white or coordinate it with shutter or door colors. You can also make the skirting “disappear” by painting it a dark tint and planting shrubbery around it.
6. Complement a Craftsman. Accent a beautiful Craftsman-style homes with natural elements such as stone and a neutral color palette. Most Craftsman homes include a large, covered front porch, so skirting is common. If you want to go for something less common, invest in richly stained tropical or native hardwoods to create a contrast. The right skirting adds immensely to any home’s curb appeal, but especially a Craftsman-style front porch design.
7. Go for durability. Choose stone or brick skirting material to give your home a solid, well-grounded appearance. Make sure the colors and textures coordinate with your home. If you cannot afford stone or brick, faux stone deck skirting provides a good alternative that generally doesn’t chip, crack, or crumble. Unlike actual brick or stone, a DIY homeowner can install faux panels. Remember to include an access door and ventilation.
8. Plant shrubs or plants. An easy DIY remodel is to change the landscaping around the base of your deck or back porch. This addition can tie into your overall landscape design, so it doesn’t appear unnatural. If you’re not happy with your backyard landscape, now may be a good time for a total makeover. One drawback: keep in mind that plants are not going to stop raccoons, opossums, and other critters from getting underneath your deck and making themselves comfortable.
Tips for Under the Deck
Whatever design ideas you use, be sure to prepare the ground before you enclose it. This step is essential to prevent pests and ensure proper drainage.
Depending on the location of your deck, it’s a good idea to cover the ground with a piece of weed-blocking landscape fabric. Be sure to overlap at the seams. Cover the fabric with a 3-inch layer of gravel or landscape stone. Never use mulch or pine straw beneath the deck, as these organic materials may attract termites, carpenter ants, and other pests. Stone will also deter moles, groundhogs, and other burrowing animals.
Finally, whatever option you choose for skirting your deck, be sure to create access. Whether you need to access plumbing on electrical elements under your home or you need to remove a critter that got under your deck and died, you’ll need an access point. Most homeowners include a gate or door in their deck skirting. If you have some headroom and want to use this space for deck storage, be sure the door is large enough for your needs.