Today’s deck is not your father’s deck. Not the plain Jane deck by any means. Decks have become the centerpiece of the backyard. Looking into the history of our favorite backyard destination, believe it or not, have much to do with the industrialization and the post-war economy of America.
THE HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF THE DECK
“It’s another Pleasant Valley Sunday, charcoal burning everywhere…”
The popular Monkee’s song from the 1960’s conjures visions of backyards and barbeques. Interestingly, until the 1950’s and 1960’s, the backyard was not the focal point of fun and relaxation as it is today. It served a more practical purpose of being sustainable to support the family. Families kept cows for milk, chickens for eggs and meat, and pigs as garbage disposals. A garbage pile was located near the far end of the property many times along with an outhouse, so the backyard was usually filled with malodorous odors that made it less than conducive for relaxing outdoors. Quite a different picture than what the backyard is today — What had once been a place to grow food and sustain families has become a place of leisure and relaxation.
As we evolved so did our backyards. The American culture itself changed. The evolution of the backyard began when households shifted from being self-contained and supportive to supporting the local economy of shops and stores. Gone were the animals and odors once indoor plumbing and sanitation became standard practice. Gone too, was the labor of toiling for that night’s dinner. Now there was actually time for leisure and relaxation.
After the Civil War, porches served as a place to relax and converse after a meal. In the 1920’s, with the invention of the radio, families started to gathering in the living room to listen to the evening’s entertainment. Because of the fear of automobiles blowing up, garages were placed to the rear of the property, taking up part of the backyard. Starting in the 1950s, the garage was then attached to the house, freeing up space. The backyard was no longer thought of as a practicality. The idea of having your own little piece of green space behind the house in order to relax and to play was the new vision. The backyard became our haven from life, our refuge.
Ruins of the Fortress Masada in Israel.
While no one knows exactly who invented the concept of the deck, there is evidence to suggest that patios were used in ancient Israel, either on the rooftop or the courtyard as a place of leisure and entertainment. Decks in America were born out of the desire to entertain outside, becoming a key element to our homes, defining the backyard, part of our lifestyles, just as the porch did in the front of the house earlier.
It was not until the early 1980’s, however, that decks really started come into their own as homeowners began to think about decks as an extension of their interior living space. Previously, most decks were a simple 8 x 10 foot platform. As Americans began having a more active, outdoor lifestyle the inside was brought outside. Outdoor cooking, “grilling out” became the trend that made the deck an extension of the kitchen. From the simple grill, the deck is now a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, with cooktops, refrigerators and warming drawers—even the kitchen sink.
Backyards are now customized to form an individual’s artistic expression and style, just like any other space in one’s home. Today, decks can be integrated naturally with the house and surrounding property including natural elements of rocks, trees and running water into the design. Other amenities that can be incorporated into the design are even more elaborate structures such as multiple levels and innovative shapes as well as pergolas, gazebos and roofs. Because the decks are versatile in their design and entertainment value, they have become the outdoor great room where you can swing in a hammock, curl up with a good book or soak in the hot tub. As a stand alone structure, or as an element in an entire outdoor living environment, today’s multifunctional deck does it all.
The custom fabricated pergola adds valuable shade to this deck in Spring Valley, OH.
The one aspect that homeowners often dislike about their deck is the chore of maintenance. During the 1970s decks were solely built from of wood which requires annual maintenance. The last decade has seen an upsurge in wood alternatives such as all-plastic lumber and composites, which mix plastic with wood fibers. Synthetic materials currently account for about 15 percent all decking material sold in this country.
Here at Archadeck of West Central and Southwest Ohio we are continuing the legacy of the backyard deck in the Dayton and Cincinnati region. We specialize in custom deck designs designed from wood, hardwoods and the highest quality synthetics on the market. 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.
Tim Stephens owner of Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio
Contact us today to learn more about getting the most out of your outdoor living environment with a deck upgrade, redecking or new deck addition today. You can reach us at (937) 848-7040 or (513) 897-2040. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Let this be the year that Archadeck makes your outdoor living dreams come true.”