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Before You Meet with Premier


There are some deck design process items you can investigate before our designer comes out to see your backyard. Knowing these answers in advance will save time us some time, but also help make your outdoor living space project more successful.



Start by looking on the Internet, magazines, etc. to get outdoor living space inspiration for the needs or purpose of your space.


Talk to friends or neighbours who have landscapes or properties that you really like.



At the same time, keep an eye out for outdoor structure style ideas or any specific features you might want, such as outdoor lighting or deck shade sails.


Now start to list items into ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ features.


Set a Budget

Take some time to investigate what certain outdoor living projects might cost, but really look at what you can afford. It’s very easy to have costs run away out of control as you start adding features, so having a hard budget will help us keep your project scope within your limits.


Design Questionnaire

Make sure you read
through the entire Premier Process for planning ideas and to ensure you have a complete overview of the custom deck design and build process before your project starts.

Initial On-site Consultation

We need to come on-site and look at your yard and where you want us to build your outdoor living space.


An onsite visit with one of our landscape designers is a critical part of the custom deck design process. Any competent designer will need to stand in the space and see it.


We also take measurements and survey the space to assess the location of public utilities, boundary lines and easement locations.
The site is also extensively photographed.

We need to assess everything from soil analysis to waterflow and sun exposure when designing your structure:


  • Soil analysis

  • Shade/sun exposure

  • Wind exposure

  • Drainage

  • Flooding

  • Physical layout and dimensions

  • Obstructions/Access for vehicles and materials

The Premier Design Process


Assessing the Client's Needs


Next, we work with you to list out everything you need or would like to have in your finished outdoor living area.


Once we have your wish list, we can see what can be achieved in your physical location and within your budget.

yellow hardhat with a deck builder and a happy customer shaking hands in the background over custom deck plans


Here are some examples to help get you started:


  • Entertaining groups or large groups

  • Cooking meals outdoor (pizza oven, griddle, smoker, etc.)

  • Dining outdoor (pull up bar, café or breakfast nook, dining table, etc.)

  • Watching sports or movies outside

  • Swimming (leisurely, diving, laps etc.)

  • Playing outdoor games (horseshoes, ladder ball, volleyball court, etc.)

  • Gardening (growing food, herb gardens, flowers, hanging baskets, etc.)

  • Kid friendly, Pet friendly (sandbox, swings, dog run, dog house, etc.)


A lot of time is spent working on making sure we understand the difference between what your family wants and what elements your family needs.


When working on creating a beautiful outdoor space, there are always compromises. But, it's always better to sacrifice some wishes to make sure you get your needs met.


If you live a very busy lifestyle and don’t have time to maintain a high maintenance space, speak to our designers about low maintenance options for materials and plants in your oasis.




Landscape Design Process

There are five key elements in landscape design:
line, form, texture, colour, and scale


Our designers will work with you to create a space that not only meets your needs and budget, but also looks spectacular. Here is a breakdown of each of the five key elements and how they affect your design.


Landscape Design: Line


Lines are used to control movement and the direction of traffic. 


But lines can also be used to highlight design features like a pool or firepit. When you picture lines, you might be immediately thinking of straight lines, but they come in various shapes – straight, curved, horizontal, diagonal etc.


We look at your existing architecture and backyard elements and then design a deck or structure that blends in naturally and enhances the existing feel.

Aerial view of composite deck in backyard, outdoor living space with a pergola, pavilion, and fire pit


Landscape Design: Form


Form refers to the shape of the hardscape features


Hardscape forms can come in various heights and shapes: e.g., from a stone path leading to a 2-storey deck over a curved retaining wall.


Form is important to maintaining the integrity of the design – a formal backyard would have more structured and clean forms and a wildflower-based yard might have softer shapes with different height elements.

Composite deck project with a pergola, pavilion, and custom deck accessories


Landscape Design: Texture


Texture applies to both hardscape and softscape elements in your yard. 


Having different textures in your plants is just as important as having different textures in the wood and stone structures. Hard, soft, course, heavy, light, rough, smooth, and other textures all add depth and dimension to the design of your custom deck or outdoor structures.

Backyard custom deck with a pavilion, outdoor furniture, and glass railing.


Landscape Design: Colour


Colour captures the eye. Colour is a key element in landscape design.


Colour can be used subtly or intensely to great effect. Not only can we select colours in the materials we use to build your structure or deck, but we also want to consider how those colors will affect the final look. A black railing might make your flower beds pop or form the background for a flowering bush. Our designers take the time to plan how your custom deck will affect the rest of your landscape design.


For some additional ideas on how to take your outdoor space to the next level, take a look at our deck accessories!

Black aluminum, glass deck railing, and beautiful landscape with hanging pot of flowers in the backyard.


Landscape Design: Scale


Like form, scale involves using elements of varying heights and widths to enhance the overall look and feel of your yard.


Varying form can be as simple as using thin aluminum railings between thicker posts, or as subtle as varying deck board widths to create interesting patterns. Each element you place in your yard needs to be planned carefully. If you have a large pergola, with a large sofa and large TV and you want to add a firepit, you will want that firepit to be low to the ground, so the eye is drawn to the pergola.

Gorgeous outdoor living space with a custom deck with outdoor furniture, firepit, and pavilion surrounded by a black aluminum glass railing.


Drawing Up a Functional Diagram


Our designers now take all the information we’ve gathered about your site and then apply your needs and wish list to your space.


We take all the variables into account when coming up with a functional design.

Custom outdoor living space 3D rendering with a pavilion and hot tub feature.


Functional design takes into consideration even more factors such as convenience, location of utilities, etc. – e.g., if you want an outdoor kitchen, it makes sense to put the kitchen as close to your indoor kitchen as possible.


Or perhaps your BBQ or firepit needs to be placed as close as possible to the natural gas line hookup.




Here are some more examples:


  • Considering plant materials being used and the layout of the planting beds for drainage and sun exposure.
  • Overall layout of all hardscape surfaces (deck, patio, walkway, shed, cabana, gazebo etc.) to be compatible with natural and efficient traffic flow.
  • Planning retaining walls with gardens to create height, but also planning for access to maintain those gardens: e.g., planting, weeding, watering.

Coming Up with a Conceptual Design keeping Budget in Mind


Now our designers take all your requirements – site limitations, needs and wants, functional limitations and apply your budget requirements.


We work very hard to give you as much as possible within your custom deck budget, but sometimes the list of wants exceeds your budget.

Custom deck stair lighting accessories.


If that is the case, we will sit down with you and try to see which wants can be removed to stay within your budget.



Our goal is to design and build the best custom deck, outdoor kitchen, and/or outdoor structure we possibly can within your budget so that you can enjoy it with your family for years to come.


Finally, we come up with drawings for the project. It’s usually around this time that we also receive your deposit and start ordering materials for your build. Depending on the size and complexity of the project we might start with a design concept, computer-generated renderings, and/or 3D illustrations as well as technical construction and permit drawings.

The Next Step in the Premier Process is the Build Process

Learn more about what happens during the Build Process.