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Throwing the Traditional Deck a Curve

(ARA) - When custom homebuilder Scott Gregory decided it was time to put a wood deck on his lake cottage, he did what many builders do when they have the chance to work on their own property: He tried some new things.

The result is an amazing outdoor living space with multiple levels, designated purpose areas, built-in seating, curves and innovative use of color.

His goal with his deck? To create a space his family and their guests could enjoy, while also perfecting innovative building techniques that he can incorporate into the outdoor spaces he builds for his clients.

The National Association of Homebuilders says trends in outdoor living continue to grow. It's a niche that doesn't look to be going away any time soon, with outdoor living areas remaining a major draw for home buyers and existing home owners.

The bar area, made of composite decking, is just one of the unique features on this one-of-a-kind deck.Gregory's summer home, located on White Lake in Whitehall, Mich., gets a lot of action during the summer. His family includes young children, and he and his wife often entertain at the cottage. Many of their most frequent visitors just happen to have large families, so having 12 to 15 people around over a weekend is common.

Because he wanted an expansive space for outdoor living, Gregory took the time to really think about how the space would be used and to plan for enough space for everyone.

He wanted separate areas for cooking, eating, sunning and partying. He also wanted to make sure the materials he used would be low maintenance, slip resistant and splinter free, since tiny feet often ran across the deck on their way in and out of the water.

In addition, harsh winters in Michigan can wreak havoc on anything outdoors. Through the years, Gregory learned that cedar and treated lumber often require yearly maintenance after being exposed to severe cold and moisture. Although he has built many cedar decks, he recently switched allegiances to man-made materials that offer lower maintenance and more variety in appearance.

For his own deck, Gregory wanted to visually separate the spaces. And with over 1,600 square feet of decking spread out over five different levels, composite materials allowed him the variety to do that. Gregory chose to use Latitudes Composite Decking from Universal Forest Products, a composite decking product made from a combination of recycled plastics and wood.

What Latitudes allowed him to do was to mix and match different colors, hide the fasteners on the underside of the deck and create interesting curves for seating, built-in planter boxes and other custom details.

"I've always wanted to experiment with curves on a deck, but oftentimes the homes I build for my clients have to conform to neighborhood conventions or a homeowner's relatively conservative vision," says Gregory. "With my own deck I had the opportunity to test the materials and see just how versatile they could be."

Complete with curved benches, planter boxes and a multi-colored compass rose inlay, custom homebuilder Scott Gregory designed his outdoor living area with innovation and functionality in mind.Not only was Gregory able to incorporate twists and curves, but he also infused his deck with a nautical star inlay -- a compass rose that accents the main deck area and creates a focal point attracting his guests' attention.

"We've created a deck that accommodates a lot of people and several different purposes. We have a hot tub and sunning area, a grilling area that is near the kitchen, a bar area perched high up so that adults can keep an eye on kids and water activities, an eating area and a cozy fire pit for enjoying the chill of a Michigan evening," he says.

Through his business, Scott Gregory Custom Homes, Gregory finds his outdoor living projects to be among the most enjoyable. It's a growing part of his business, particularly as homeowners take advantage of low interest rates and a huge variety of innovative products for use in creating comfortable outdoor living areas.

"Outdoor stuff is fun to build. Not only does it offer an opportunity for creativity, but it adds true value to an existing home and my clients just love it," he says. "More and more of the custom homes I build take into account large outdoor living areas. When we first started 20 years ago, we would build relatively small decks on the back side of homes. Today we are adding expansive decks and patio spaces that literally wrap a home with added living space. New building materials make it possible to be creative, and products like Latitudes are incredibly versatile for work of this type."

For more information on Latitudes Decking and Railing and a wide variety of other products designed for outdoor living, visit www.latitudesdeck.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

For more information on designing and building a deck, please read these articles:

Great deck design ideas

Deck design software



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