Building a Terrace in Backyard
Do you want to build a terrace in backyard yourself? To ensure that the result is optimally tailored to your needs, lasts a long time, and does not exceed the price range, it is advisable to consider a few things during the planning phase. Which location is the best, how much space do you need, and which patio surface is best suited? We’ll give you tips on terrace construction – from planning to implementation.
Where Should I Build a Terrace in Backyard?
If you want to build a terrace in backyard, orientation is particularly important, because it affects how much sun you get. But also consider your habits:
- South orientation: the strong midday sun shines directly on the terrace. Perfect for sun worshippers.
- West orientation: The warm evening sun invites you to linger. Optimal for evening barbecues.
- East orientation: The first rays of the day bathe the terrace in light. Ideal for extensive breakfasts at the weekend.
If the terrace is to be directly adjacent to the house, the scope for design is often limited if it is built at a later date. You have more flexibility if you build a free-standing terrace in the garden. Do you want to plant your terrace with greenery and do you have a preference for certain plants? Then the orientation is also important. Not all plants can tolerate the blazing midday sun on a south-facing terrace or thrive in shady north-facing locations.
How Big Should The Terrace Be?
There is no such thing as the optimal size for a patio. Ideally, it should be tailored to the type of use. If you use the terrace mainly alone or with only one other person, giant terraces quickly seem oversized. If you also want to give children enough room to play or if you like to have barbecues with friends, on the other hand, a larger area is needed. The following applies: Plan generously, but not for every eventuality. If you only have a party once a year, the terrace does not have to be large. Rather, design the connection to the lawn so that it can be used in such cases.
If you want to build a terrace in backyard and determine the perfect size, the following guidelines will help:
- Seat with 2 chairs: 6 m2
- Seating area with 4 chairs: 9 m2
- Seating area with 6 chairs: 14 m2
Also plan for patio furniture and plantings: a sun lounger takes up about three square meters (m²), and the base of a parasol about one square meter. If you want to create a bed as a lateral border of the terrace and plant it with perennials, you should subtract a 50-centimeter (cm) wide strip from the usable area.
Build Your Terrace: Which Surface Is Best?
The decking not only shapes the look, but also affects maintenance requirements, weather resistance, and cost. Especially if you want to build a paver patio design yourself for the first time, you should keep in mind that the degree of difficulty in laying varies. Get an overview of the different types of decking:
- Wood planks: Real wood has a warm, natural look and offers a comfortable walking experience. However, if the planks are damp, there is a risk of slipping. In addition, wood is less resistant than stone, for example, and requires regular maintenance. To prevent the decking from swelling or cracking, you should use resistant hardwood. Larch and Douglas’s fir are well suited. When laying the decking, it is important to note that you need a stable substructure. Craftsmanship is also advantageous. In our instructions, we show you how you can build a wooden terrace yourself. How to extend the life of your wooden terrace, you will learn in our guide to terrace care.
- Wood Plastic Composites (WPC): This composite material is made of 50 to 90 percent wood fiber or flour and 50 to 10 percent polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE). High-quality WPC is slip-resistant, splinter-free, and very durable. It is also easy to clean. It should be noted, however, that WPC heats up strongly in direct sunlight and, without care, will turn gray over time.
- Stone slabs: they are easy to maintain, robust, and extremely durable. The properties depend largely on whether they are natural stone or slabs made of concrete. Polished natural stone is not suitable for decking due to the risk of slipping when wet. For rough natural stone, stain-proof impregnation is recommended, as the dirt quickly penetrates the stone. Slabs made of concrete are available in many colors and shapes and are cheaper and easier to maintain. However, you need some experience to lay the slabs. How to build a stone terrace, can learn from our instructions.
- Paving stones: they are available in different colors and sizes, allow a wide range of designs, and have a long life. Depending on the material used and the size, prices vary greatly. The laying effort also varies depending on the material.
- Gravel: If you want to lay a patio with as little effort as possible, gravel is a good option. The bulk material is easy to spread, and a substructure is not required. The cost of a patio with a gravel surface is also relatively low. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that walking barefoot on gravel is uncomfortable and garden furniture will not stand up completely straight.
Polygonal slabs are rustic and elegant at the same time and enhance terraces. The special thing about polygonal stone slabs is that they are a natural product.
The Right Sun Protection For The Terrace
Especially for terraces with southern exposure, sun protection is important. It allows you to stay outside in the hot midday sun – but it also keeps out light rain. If you want to build a terrace in backyard, you should consider sun protection already during the planning.
The installation of a fixed terrace roof requires a little more effort and is also more expensive. To ensure a safe stand, you must first lay a foundation. On it, you erect the basic construction of wooden or aluminum profiles. The roof forms the final part. When choosing the material, the light permeability must be taken into account. If you choose wood, for example, you will have permanent shade on the terrace. In addition, the interior rooms adjacent to the terrace will be darkened. It is better to choose glass or transparent plastics as a roofing material if you want to avoid this shadowing. If you are building a terrace roof for the first time, it is recommended to use polycarbonate double-wall sheets or corrugated PVC sheets. They are cheaper and easier to work with than glass.
If you want it to be a little faster and cheaper, awnings or sunshades are a good alternative to a covered patio. They are used only when needed, but just because of that they allow more flexibility. Plan for sufficient space here as well.
What Is Important To Consider?
If you want to build a terrace in backyard yourself, you should find out whether you need a building permit. Whether such a permit is necessary depends on the regulations of the respective municipality and the type of construction of the terrace. For covered terraces, the regulations are stricter than for uncovered terraces. However, the Neighbors’ Rights Act must be observed in any case: If the distance of the terrace to the neighboring property is less than 2.5 meters, you need the consent of your neighbor.
The terrace is exposed to rain, hail, dew, and snow. In the long run, moisture damages and leaves its mark. This applies to both wooden and stone terraces. If you want to build a terrace, a slope is to be considered already with the substructure. This allows the water to drain away unhindered. A slope of between two and three percent is ideal. The following applies: The rougher the surface, the greater the slope should be. In the case of a wooden terrace, it should follow the direction in which the boards are laid and always lead away from the house wall.
Useful extras include an electricity and water connection on the terrace. For example, you can connect garden lights and electric grills to the power connection. And the water connection supplies water to an irrigation system. This ensures that the plants on or next to your terrace always receive the moisture they need.
How the articles how to build a terrace in backyard? You can also read how to clean pavers on your patio in 11 easy steps. Find more about stone patio design in the articles backyard stone patio design ideas. And here is the cost of terrace construction in detail.