Dos And Don'ts For Combining A Deck And Existing Trees

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Do you have a mature tree already occupying part of the space where you want to build a deck? While homeowners may worry that they can have either a deck or a beautiful tree, the truth is that you can combine the two. Here are a few vital dos and don'ts for success.

Do Build Above the Roots.

Raised decks can actually be helpful to trees, especially those with exposed roots. The deck serves to protect the roots from trampling, damage, and compaction. And because a raised deck still allows air circulation around the roots, it may be a better way to camouflage and hide roots than most other methods. However, make sure you build the deck high enough not to pressure roots. 

Don't Build too Close.

Most deck designs encircle a tree with decking, allowing it to continue growing straight up as though nothing had changed. However, keep in mind that the hole created for the tree must accommodate its nature. If the tree is still growing, it must be large enough for future trunk expansion. In addition, craft a space that leaves enough room for natural sway during weather events. 

Do Check on the Tree.

Before you decide how to handle a tree that conflicts with deck plans, have the tree examined and assessed. You don't want to go to the extra work and investment of designing around it if the tree isn't likely to keep thriving. While a healthy tree is a positive aspect of the deck, a diseased or damaged one could be a big mistake. Also, make sure the tree won't leave a mess on the deck. 

Don't Fear Odd Angles.

Depending on the tree's location, a circle may not be the right answer. While this is a common way of working around trees, it's not the only option. You can customize the shape, size, and height of your deck to accommodate trees at different locations or of different sizes. In fact, your deck will end up being unique and memorable. 

Do Enjoy the Shade.

One of the best reasons to keep a tree when adding a deck is to take advantage of the natural shade. Unlike most deck owners who have to add artificial elements to protect from sun, heat, and weather, yours is built in. Embrace it. Encourage good tree growth and have it regularly pruned and maintained. Make it a centerpiece of the deck. And plan deck activities to work with the shade provided. 

Where to Start

No matter where your tree is or what its condition is, the best place to begin is by consulting with a skilled deck contractor in your area. With their guidance and expertise, you'll make the best decision for the tree, your new deck, and your family's outdoor life. Call a deck contractor today to learn more.