When at the cottage, we spend loads of time on the dock during the day and evening. There is truly no better place to watch a sunset and breathe in the fresh air than on the edge of the water. If you’re building or upgrading your cottage dock this summer, you’ll probably want to start thinking about the amenities that you’ll want to include. A lakeside dock can be kept as a simple structure or can be kitted out like any other deck.
• Although a dock seems like nothing more than a floating deck, building one that can withstand the demands of the lakeside climate, that will not warp or heave can be tricky. Not all deck builders are experienced in building docks so make sure you find a contractor who knows how to properly anchor the structure and allow movement for the freeze-thaw cycles.
• If your dock will be used for more than just docking boats, you will want to decide how many people will use it at a time, how much furniture will be on it or how many towels will be spread out. That will help you calculate the size that you need. If there are restrictions as to the size that you are allowed to build on the water, you may also want to consider building a deck along the shore to meet your needs.
Aside from the general structure, proper docking areas for your watercraft and easy access to get in and out of the water, you will also need to decide what types of dock amenities you want. The proximity of the dock to the cottage will probably influence what you need to include down by the water.
o Shade. If you spend the better part of the day by the water, a shade source such as a gazebo or a parasol can save your tender skin from sunburn. A gazebo with screened walls is excellent for evenings when the mosquitoes are out in full force. Just make sure that the structure is well fastened to the dock so that it doesn’t fly away in the next windstorm.
o Furniture. Do you need lounge chairs, a picnic table or just simple folding chairs? The outdoor furniture you choose must be able to withstand humid conditions and also be heavy enough that it won’t blow away.
o Storage. You need a dry spot to store life jackets, seat cushions and extra towels when they aren’t in use. There are marine quality benches and storage cupboards available for just this job.
o Power and lighting. If you want to have power or lighting for your lakeside deck, talk to your deck builder or home improvement expert about wiring or about using solar powered marine lights.
What types of amenities do you dream of for your waterside dock? Tell us about it in the comments section below.