Learn How To Design and Build a Deck That Completes Your Backyard

Smaller deck with chairs

Improve your outdoor entertainment space with a new custom deck!

Backyard spaces are great for socializing, entertaining, and relaxing on beautiful sunny days. Decks are perfect for outdoor living spaces, hosting friends, or enjoying pleasant weather. They also help create a more versatile yard.

While building a deck may seem like a daunting task, learning how to build a deck will help you create your dream backyard. It’s far more attainable than it seems. With this set of instructions, you’ll be able to build a freestanding, ground-level deck that doesn’t require stairs or a railing. This do-it-yourself deck will add the perfect touch to make your yard a versatile entertainment area for family and friends.

What You’ll Need: Building Materials and Tools

To build your outdoor deck, equip yourself with everything you need beforehand to avoid extra trips to the hardware store. Without these items, you’ll wonder how to build a deck rather than get down to work.

Necessary Materials

  • 8-inch diameter concrete tube forms
  • Ready-mix concrete
  • Post-anchor bolts
  • 2 x 6 wood planks
  • ½”-thick pressure-treated shins
  • Angled brackets
  • Joist hangers
  • Joist fasteners
  • Decking boards

Necessary Tools

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Circular saw
  • Handsaw
  • Level
  • Batter boards
  • Mason strings
  • Post hole digger
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hearing protection
  • Eye protection
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves

Building the Deck: Step-by-Step Instructions

How to build a deck that is gray like this one

Now that you’ve gathered all your supplies, it’s time to start designing and building your deck. 

Step One: Designing Your Deck

These instructions will teach you how to build a deck that is freestanding, simple, and doesn’t require railings or stairs. Excluding these features from your deck design makes construction more manageable. It also helps limit the amount of woodworking necessary to achieve an optimal outdoor entertainment space. Check local building codes to confirm height limitations for freestanding decks without rails. 

Your deck will likely require concrete footing for support. In this case, call 811 to ensure that you don’t dig into any of your home’s water, gas, or power lines. Mark these areas of your yard first to understand where you can and cannot build. 

After marking underground infrastructure, begin by outlining your footing locations with batter boards and mason string lines. You’ll know you’ve drawn the correct layout when the intersecting string lines create right angles throughout the outline. Depending on the size of your deck, you will need to change the number of footers. Finally, run your deck plans by an expert at Perfect My Home.

Step Two: Inserting Footings and Posts

Now that you’ve marked your layout and confirmed your design, it’s time to insert your deck footings. Use spray paint where your batter boards are so you know where to dig. 

Use a posthole digger to create 12-inch holes at your spray paint marks. Check that the holes are at the correct depth and insert the 8-inch concrete tube forms. Your tube forms should be 1 inch above the ground. 

Once your tube forms are firmly in their holes, mix and pour your concrete into the tube forms. Afterward, make sure to level the top of the concrete. Before letting the concrete dry, place stainless steel anchor bolts in the centers of the tube forms. Ensure that the bolts are out of the concrete just enough to hold the beams for your deck.

Step Three: Constructing the Beams

The most crucial step in creating successful deck framing is carefully constructing and installing the deck beams on your hardened footings. 

You make beams by attaching two 2 x 6 planks of wood to the post anchors in the concrete footings. Shorten the inside 2 x 6 by 1½ inches on either side. This leaves space to install the rim joists.

After making the proper cuts to your wood, screw your 2 x 6s into the post anchors. Once tight and secure, use a level and mason string line to check that your beams are level and aligned. Checking leveling throughout each step will ensure that your deck is structurally sound.

Step Four: Attaching the Rim and Inner Joists

Now that you’ve got your beams in place, it’s time to insert the joists to support your decking. To complete your deck framing, use a screwdriver to attach 2 x 6 rim joists to the ends of your beams. Because you cut 1½ inches off the inner beam, the rim joists should fit perfectly. Use angle brackets on the inner corners where your rim joists and beams connect to strengthen the frame’s support.

Once you’ve created a strong frame, use joist hangers to attach 2 x 6 joists to the face of the beam. Install the inner joists parallel to your rim joists. The number of joists for this step will depend on the size of your deck. Regardless, space them evenly inside your frame. 

Step Five: Installing and Trimming the Deck

Gray deck with white railing

It’s finally time to install your decking. Popular options for deck material include wood decking, composite material, and pressure-treated wood in different colors. Consider the environmental conditions your deck will have to withstand to decide which material is the most suitable.

After deciding on a material, align the edge of each board with the edge of one beam. Insert the appropriate fasteners for your boards into each inner joist of your frame. Make sure the fasteners are ¾ to 1 inch from the edge of each board. You can also use adhesives to secure the boards for a sturdier design.

Once you’ve installed your decking, trim the edges to eliminate overhangs. Use chalk to mark a straight line where the boards hang over the beam. Then, use your circular saw to cut off this excess wood. Sand the edges to make sure they’re flush with your frame. Your deck is now complete!

Deck Building With Perfect My Home

Not interested in learning how to build a deck yourself? Get a professional deck from Perfect My Home to upgrade your backyard space. Fill out our contact form today to learn how Perfect My Home can simplify your backyard beautification.