Imagine transforming your backyard into an inviting outdoor living space where you can entertain, relax and soak up the sun – all with a DIY project that’s both practical and impressive.
Enter the ground level deck—an elevated platform that adds value to any home while making it easy for homeowners to enjoy more time outdoors. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of building a stunning ground level deck from start to finish using simple techniques and readily available materials.
Steps To Build A Ground Level Deck
To build a ground level deck, start by determining the location and size of your desired outdoor living space. Next, prepare the site by removing any vegetation or debris and installing piers for foundation support.
Once the site is ready, frame your deck using pressure-treated lumber and proper hardware for connections.
Determine Location And Size
One of the first and most crucial steps in building a ground level deck is determining its location and size. Start by considering how you plan to use your outdoor space, such as entertaining guests or simply relaxing in the sun.
This will help you establish what dimensions are needed for your new addition.
To begin this process, I recommend placing markers at each corner of the proposed deck area within your yard using wooden stakes or flags. These visual cues not only make it easier to visualize where the final structure will sit but also assist in measuring out accurate dimensions while providing clear boundaries when preparing the site for construction.
Prepare Site And Install Piers
Before beginning the construction of your ground level deck, it is essential to prepare the site and install the piers. This involves clearing any vegetation, rocks or debris from the area where your deck will sit.
Next, dig holes for the foundation piers that will support your deck’s structure. Use a post-hole digger or an auger to make holes that are at least 12 inches deep and twice as wide as each poured concrete pier footing.
Insert precast concrete posts into these holes so they rest firmly on compacted gravel beneath them.
Finally, add landscaping fabric or mesh over the exposed soil around footings to prevent weed growth from beneath while maintaining proper drainage conditions.
Frame The Deck
One of the most crucial steps in building a ground level deck is framing. This establishes the structure and supports all other elements such as decking, railings, and stairs.
To begin, measure out and mark where your joists will run. Make sure to space them no more than 16 inches apart for maximum stability.
When it comes to framing materials, pressure-treated lumber is recommended for its durability against rotting and insects. No matter what type of wood you choose, ensure that it is properly fastened with galvanized hardware for optimal stability.
Now it’s time for the fun part – installing decking! Start by laying down your first board, making sure to leave ¼ inch between each board for drainage. Using deck screws, attach the board to the joists below.
Continue this process, working your way across the deck until all boards are installed.
If you’re using pressure-treated lumber, it’s important to note that it may still be wet from treatment and will shrink as it dries. To minimize warping or cupping of your boards down the line, consider spacing them out slightly more generously than ¼ inch at installation time.
Tips For Building A Successful Ground Level Deck
To ensure your ground-level deck is a success, use pressure-treated lumber, make sure the structure is level and use proper hardware for connections.
Use Pressure-treated Lumber
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Ensure Level Structure
One of the most important factors in building a ground level deck is ensuring that it’s level. This means that the top of each pier should be at the same height and that each beam should be level both vertically and horizontally.
To ensure a level structure, I recommend using a spirit or laser level to make sure everything is lined up perfectly. Also, double-check all connections between beams and posts using metal hardware like post caps, bolts or screws designed for decks construction.
Use Proper Hardware For Connections
As you’re building your ground level deck, it’s crucial to use the right hardware for connecting all the components of your structure. Don’t skimp on quality here – using subpar or incorrect hardware can lead to structural issues down the line.
Some examples of proper hardware include joist hangers, post bases, and lag screws. Joist hangers are particularly important for attaching the decking frame to the foundation piers – they provide a secure connection between wood framing and concrete footings.
Post bases also ensure that your posts are firmly anchored into place with no wiggling or shifting allowed.
Make sure that you carefully read all instructions before purchasing and installing any hardware components in order to prevent any mistakes from occurring during construction.
Allow For Proper Ventilation
When building a ground level deck, it’s important to allow for proper ventilation. This means providing adequate space between the decking boards to allow air circulation underneath the structure.
To ensure proper ventilation, spacing between deck boards should be at least 1/8 inch. For composite decking materials, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific requirements.
By allowing for proper ventilation during construction, you’ll protect your investment and ensure your outdoor living space remains safe and enjoyable for years to come.
Now that your deck is constructed, it’s time to add the finishing touches by sanding down any rough edges, staining or sealing the wood to protect against weather damage, and adding furniture and accessories to make it a comfortable outdoor living space.
Sand, Stain Or Seal The Deck
Once the framing and decking are in place, it’s time to give your new ground-level deck a finished look. Sanding is an essential step in preparing the deck for staining or sealing, as it smooths out any rough spots or splinters that could cause injury.
Staining or sealing your deck not only adds color and visual interest but also protects the wood from moisture damage and UV rays. Choose a high-quality product designed specifically for outdoor decks and apply according to manufacturer instructions.
Add Furniture And Accessories
Once the framework of your ground level deck is complete, it’s time to add some finishing touches. One of the best aspects of building a low-level deck is that you can get creative with how you furnish and decorate it.
When I built my own ground level deck, I added comfortable chairs, a table for dining al fresco, potted plants, string lights, and an outdoor rug to create an inviting atmosphere.
You may also want to consider installing built-in benches or planters for extra seating or greenery.
Enjoy Your New Outdoor Space!
Now that your ground level deck is complete, it’s time to enjoy your new outdoor space! Invite friends and family over for a BBQ or simply relax with a good book outside.
Add some comfortable furniture and maybe even an umbrella for shade on sunny days.
One of my favorite things about having an outdoor space is being able to connect with nature. Whether you’re surrounded by trees, flowers or just looking up at the sky, nothing beats fresh air and sunshine.
Don’t forget to add some finishing touches like plants or decorative lighting to make it truly special.
Building a ground level deck for your outdoor space can be a rewarding and fulfilling DIY project. With the right materials, tools, and plan in place, anyone can tackle this task.
Remember to determine the location and size of your deck, prepare the site with foundation piers and gravel installation, frame the structure using pressure-treated wood, install decking material properly ensuring enough ventilation while considering finishings like staining or sealing.
Follow these tips outlined above for success! Once completed , you can add furniture and accessories before enjoying your new outdoor living space with family & friends.