Redo Your Deck for Summer

With Spring in full bloom, homeowners are taking advantage of the weather and prepping their outdoor living spaces for the summer season.

One main hangout for many is the deck. "There are a handful of different low-cost deck trends for 2012, and homeowners can freshen up their existing space without breaking the bank by highlighting a few key elements," explains Lawrence Finn, CEO Owner/Broker of Coach Real Estate Associates.

According to a survey by Trex Company, a composite deck company, 83 percent of Americans favor low-maintenance home improvement projects--and who can blame them? The following updates are as easy as they are wallet-friendly.

Rock the railing:

"The railing is often the first thing guests see when they take a look at your deck from the yard or street view, so it's important to realize that this is more than just a safety feature--although functionality is important, too," remarks Finn. Make a statement and allow your railing to stand-out by switching up building materials. If you have a wood deck, it doesn't mean you need to have wood railings. "Glass railings are hot right now," says Finn. Want to pass on glass? Look into composite or aluminum.

Pump up the posts:

Your deck posts can get a quick revamp with post caps. "Planter pots are becoming increasingly popular," says Finn. "Plant an herb garden or your favorite perennial right on your deck post." You can also look into posts with built-in lighting--some are even solar.

Add spark to your spindles:

The spindles between your rail posts, also known as balusters, can also be updated. Get a unique look by mixing and matching materials.

Love the lights:

If you're already proud of your outdoor space, spruce up your lighting to show it off at night. Look into recessed lights for the stairs, ornamental post lights, soft illuminating floor lights or eco friendly solar options.

If you want to take on a bigger project and give your deck a major facelift, consider redoing the base. Natural wood continues to be popular, but if you don't have the time or money for wood, you can consider composite decking. "Lots of consumers favor composite because it's durable and low maintenance," explains Finn. "And, many designs closely mimic real wood so you still have the aesthetic appeal."

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