Design & Decor - Design Ideas

3 helpful tips for building a deck during the fall

Paul Lafrance
Photography by
Donna Griffith

Expert designer Paul LaFrance offers up tips on building a deck during the fall.

The weather may be cooling down, but that’s no reason to give your outdoor space the cold shoulder. After all, staying toasty around a crackling fire with friends is a backyard must, no matter the season. Fall is also the ideal time to think about. Consider this: You won’t have to endure scorching temperatures while building, and your garden will be ready to be enjoyed come spring. Here are three important design tips to keep in mind before you get started.


Take the time to carefully design your deck. The more hours you devote to the before phase, the happier you’ll be with the outcome. You can draw the layout to scale yourself or look to a designer for assistance. Keep in mind that hiring an expert should cost about 10 percent of your overall project budget. While expensive, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.

Have you ever spent a day digging holes with an auger for concrete deck footings? If so, you’ll understand why helical piles have so much appeal. The steel pipes can drill into almost any terrain (think frozen or wet soil) and will save you a considerable amount of time. I’ve been using helical piles from Techno Metal Post for years to install elevated structures outdoors.

Low-maintenance materials like composite wood are becoming increasingly popular, especially with homeowners who don’t want to commit to sanding and re-staining their decks every year after winter takes its toll. The wood alternative (composed of recycled wood fibres and recycled plastic) is offered in a variety of colours and textures to suit most outdoor spaces. It’s a product that promises to prevent many headaches down the road – not to mention slivers!

Paul Lafrance is the host of HGTV Canada’s Custom Built. Catch new episodes Saturdays at 10 p.m. EST/PST on HGTV Canada and

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