An expanding accessories market is giving deck builders more design options. In addition to the many choices builders have for the decking itself -- from treated pine and other species of wood to composites and all plastics -- builders should not overlook new railing, lighting and landscaping products, says MoistureShield senior vice president Brent Gwatney.

Railing matched to the deck helps to create a uniform look, but aluminum, cable and glass infill panels can add a more contemporary flavor, Gwatney says. Lighting accessories, available from a number of manufacturers, can be installed beneath railings, in stairways, and as post caps. Don't underestimate the attractive effects of subtle lighting, Gwatney says.

Expanding a traditional one-level deck into the backyard is another approach. In larger spaces, decks can be built around water features, gardens, or trees. Wood-plastic composites can be bent into curves, and some types of plastic decking are rated for ground contact, expanding design possibilities.

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