The best way to create plans for building a patio is to use one of the available deck design software programs or deck calculator. These programs not only allow homeowners to create a layout for the deck, but they also give you a list of the materials that are needed to complete the project.
There are several deck designers available to buy or provided free from places such as TimberTech. Most of the programs that are purchased come with a free trial. The free trial allows users to figure out if this is the best program for them before they buy. The free programs don't give quite as much information as the other programs, but can still get the job done.
The free program from TimberTech allows users to choose the size, shape and number of levels they are planning for their deck. Users can even pick out their colors and their material finishes with the program so that the final materials include the finishes and sealers. The program also includes tool lists, hardware guides and a 3-D diagram of the deck itself.
Smartdraw offers Deck Software that gives a lot of details, such as visuals for elevation posts, support and surface boards, planters, flowers, umbrellas, hot tubs and even benches. This allows users to get the design very detailed, which makes it easier for the homeowner to build or have built.