Spacious Fiberon Ipe deck Kensington CT

Spacious Fiberon Ipe deck Kensington, CT, built by Archadeck of Central CT.

In much the same way our interior spaces are the heart of our home, the backyard deck is an outdoor living staple and remains the heart of the backyard. Today’s decks are not the one-dimensional “plain Jane” decks of the past. 21st century decks have become the centerpiece of the backyard the “glue”  that holds our outdoor area together. The history of the deck itself is quite fascinating, and spans farther than your probably imagine. Its history and subsequent evolution have much to do with the industrialization and the post-war economy of America… and this is where our story begins…

  • Humble Beginnings

It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday, charcoal burning everywhere…”

outhouseWhen listening to the lyrics of this popular Monkees song from the 1960’s, your mind may conjure visions of backyards and barbeques.  Interestingly, it wasn’t until the 1950’s and 1960’s that the backyard became the focal point of recreation and relaxation as it known for today.  The backyards of yesteryear served a more practical purpose. The backyard was used to sustain and support the family. For example, families kept livestock such as cows, chickens and pigs in their backyard. This utilitarian purposed often resulted in a backyard filled with malodorous odors, from the livestock to the outhouse, which made it less than attractive for relaxing outdoors. Our outdoor environments have evolved into what had once been a place to sustain families to becoming a place of leisure and relaxation instead.

Rocking chair front porches of yesteryear

Americana itself changed.  The evolution of the backyard happened because households shifted from being self-contained to supporting the local economy by becoming consumers of shops and stores.  Once indoor plumbing and sanitation became more commonplace, gone were the animals and smells of the outhouse as well as the labor of toiling for that night’s dinner.  Leisure suddenly became a popular concept as there was now actually time for relaxation.

civil war era photo

Civil War era photo of a rural residential landscape.

During the Civil War era, the family could relax after a meal on porches.  With the invention of the radio in the 1920’s, families would gather in the living room to listen to the evening’s entertainment.  Automobiles were prone to blowing up, so garages were placed to the rear of the lot taking up part of the backyard. The garage eventually became attached to the house in the 1950’s, freeing up space in the backyard.  The backyard evolved from a practical space to becoming our refuge and haven from life. The new vision became the idea of having your own little piece of greenspace behind the house in order to relax and to play.

While no one knows who invented the concept of the deck, evidence unearthed suggests that patios were used in ancient Israel, either in the courtyard or on the rooftop, as a place of leisure and entertainment.  Necessity is the mother of invention, and entertaining in all kinds of weather, especially since the earth can become muddy and messy when it rained, became the impetus and the American deck was born.  Just as the porch did in the front of the house earlier, decks became the answer to the problem and became a key element to our homes, defining the backyard.

cookout

Decks really started to come into their own in the early 1980’s when homeowners began to think about decks as an extension of their interior living space.  Earlier decks were usually a simple 8 x 10 foot platform.  The inside was brought outside once Americans began having a more active, outdoor lifestyle.  The popular trend of outdoor cooking made the deck an extension of the kitchen.  Instead of a simple grill, the deck is now a fully outdoor kitchen equipped with cooktops, refrigerators and warming drawers, not to mention the kitchen sink.

Cheshire CT deck and pergola outdoor living space with Feeney cable rail

This deck in Cheshire, CT, includes a pergola as part of the design.

Today, backyards can become customized to form an individual’s artistic expression and style, just like any other space in one’s home.  Decks can be blended naturally with the house and surrounding property to include natural elements of rocks, trees and running water into the design. Decks are so versatile in their design and entertainment value, that they have become the outdoor great room where one can curl up with a good book, swing in a hammock or soak in the hot tub.  Today’s multifunctional deck does it all, from being a stand alone structure, to becoming an element in an entire outdoor living environment.

As much as homeowners love their decks, the one thing they do not want to do is maintain them.  Traditionally, decks were made out of wood which requires annual maintenance. In the last decade there has been an upswing in wood alternatives such as all-plastic lumber and composites, which mix plastic with wood fibers. Synthetic materials are so popular now that they currently account for about 15% of all decking material sold in this country.

Madison CT beautiful low maintenance decks

This Madison, CT, low maintenance deck is ready for the arrival of the outdoor living season!

Let us build the deck of your dreams and let your imagination run wild.  With so many options and amenities available to the homeowner, you can create your own style and have a truly unique outdoor living space customized specifically for you.

Archadeck of Central Connecticut Outdoor LivingContact Archadeck of Central CT today to learn more about getting the most out of your outdoor living environment with a deck upgrade, redecking or new deck addition today — let us help you begin a new chapter in outdoor living history in your backyard!

Call us today at (203) 793-7142 or send us an email at centralct@archadeck.net.