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How To Build A Deck or Patio

Updated on November 14, 2014

How To Build An Amazing Deck

Welcome to Deck Building. As more and more people discover that they can enjoy the outdoors we see more and more deck building taking place.

Gardens across the world are now being turned into extensions of the home. Many homeowners have decided to get deck building and have added what has become effectively another room to their homes.

Have you considered building a deck? Our aim is to provide you with information to help you with your deck building and adding new features to your deck. You will learn how to build a deck with us!

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Basic Construction Tips For Deck Building

A deck building project is a fairly simple undertaking for a do-it-yourselfer who knows his or her way around tools. The finished product, however, is one that will be highly visible and should get a lot of use, so doing it right will be important.

Typical construction techniques are generally what's necessary for making a good deck, but for those who are new to handling tools, here are some generalized tips to ensure the deck you build comes out looking like a pro did this work:

* Make sure nails are driven at slight angles toward each other for maximum holding.

* Nail thinner boards to thicker boards.

* If toe-nailing, stagger nails so they pass each other.

* Buy galvanized metals to ensure they can withstand extreme weather conditions. This will be very important if you want your deck to stand up to more than a season or two.

* Use ring or spiral shank nails to help avoid warping of lumber.

* Drill pilot holes to reduce splitting of wood.

* Don't place nails no closer to the edge of a board than about half the board's thickness. If you must nail close to the edges, absolutely pre-drill holes.

* Resquare and trim ends of boards as necessary. Milled ends are not always square. This will be important to ensure the deck lines up correctly and looks good.

* If following a pre-written plan from a designer or do-it-yourself manual, follow it carefully. Stick to the plan.

Inspect boards carefully for any damage before putting them in place.

* Follow proper safety measures and take your time in building. The goal is to create a great deck, not win a race. Good building takes patience and precision.

No matter the size of the deck you're building, the end product will be one you and your family or friends will enjoy. Good craftsmanship can result in a deck that will last for many years to come and stand up well to the test of time.

Poor choices in materials or a rushed job, however, can result in a deck that won't make it through a single season - depending on use and the weather. If good choices are made from the start, a simple project will remain that way and even a new do-it-yourselfer can create a finished deck that looks just like a pro created it.

Cepco Tool BW-2 BoWrench Decking Tool - Great Deck Tool

The Uses Of A Deck

A backyard can be plain or boring or it can be an oasis at the end of a long, hard day. Taking basic yard and turning it into a focal point for family living or outdoor fun, however, can be a pretty long process, but with a solid plan, the effort will be well worth it.

Many people use a deck project to kick-start their deck building project to turn a plain yard into a spectacular one. A well-designed deck can serve as a focal point for a backyard and there are a number of other advantages that go along with them as well.

If the goal is to create a backyard paradise, a deck should likely be only one piece of the puzzle. But make no mistake, it’s an important one. Decks provide a number of different uses for their owners, which should be considered in the design phase. A deck built for backyard parties, for example, might need to be bigger than one for simply small family picnics. On the other hand, a deck that’s part of a garden scheme will look better with some special features, such as trellises and perhaps even a slat roof.

Decks are reasonably simple projects that can be built by almost anyone who knows their way around tools, or they can be very elaborate undertakings that involve a designer and contractor. While most people use their decks simply to house a grill, table and some chairs for backyard barbecues, they present many other opportunities if imagination is present.

For those who want a backyard paradise, a well-designed deck with trellises and a slat roof can blend easily to become part of a larger garden scheme for the yard while still providing an ideal place for picnics and more. All that’s required to make a deck a part of a larger landscaping effort is a plan, imagination and patience. With time, the trellises can be filled with flowering vines and the deck can offer a point in a yard where the indoors and the outdoors meet in harmony.

For those who want large, elaborate decks that are meant to serve as platforms for parties and more, a different design might better suit. A multi-tiered deck with stairs, lighting and partial roofing, for example, is ideal for this use.

Very basic decks can also serve as a great private retreat for sunbathing, creating an enclosure around a pool or even for working out.

A plain backyard is fine for storing a lawn chair or two, but a deck creates a beautiful backdrop for making a yard a personal retreat for playing, relaxing, bird watching and more.

How To Build a Patio

Planning Your New Patio

If you don't think that a deck would be appropriate for your home how about considering building a patio?

It's great to have somewhere to relax outside after a long day at work or at the weekend and to be able to enjoy time together as a family, sit reading your book or kindle or entertain friends.

There is some hard work involved however you can create somewhere that your whole family will enjoy.

You want to start by working out the location for your patio. Think about what other buildings or landscaping features you have that will need to work with your new patio.

Do you want to have more than one level of the patio? Perhaps you want to include a built-in barbecue pit? Or some other feature such as steps at one end? Then draw or sketch out what exactly you want your patio to look like so that you can determine what materials you are going to need.

Next you will need to decide what materials are going to use to create your patio. You have quite a few options including brick, flagstone, wood or even perhaps concrete.

At this point in your planning rather than simply looking at pictures in a book or magazine, see if you can find a real-life display from which you will be able to work out what exactly it is going to look like and what colors the pavers are going to be.

Have you thought about what colors you are going to use? Do you want to match the color of your home or are you thinking of using contrasting or complimentary colors? One thing that people don't always consider is that when it comes to choosing colors, darker ones tend to be less reflective which can mean that your patio might be a little more user-friendly.

Are you going to experiment and have different types of material in your patio? Maybe a contrasting edge or a pathway perhaps made out of gravel? There's a lot to think about isn't there!

When you have got some ideas that you are interested in, or happy with, then draw out a pattern to get some idea of what your finished project is going to look like.

Building a Patio

What's Involved in Building A Patio?

You will now want to set about purchasing your tiles or pavers. You need to buy more than you have worked out you need when you start the job. This will ensure that when you break one or decide that you need some more you will have the materials from the same lot so there will not be a significant difference in color.

Getting the foundation for your patio right is really important. If the ground where you are putting your patio is well-compacted soil, you may well not need a hardcore sub-base. However if you do need it then you should prepare the ground by laying down a compacted base of hardcore rubble and then on top of that gravel or a sub-base material which is compacted.

I would suggest that when you are building your first patio, you start with one that is relatively small. If the weather is fine then with two or three days work you should be able to build an average size brick patio and then you can develop it further from there.

Aim to create a patio design which is nice and simple. So for instance a rectangular patio is easier to build than one with curves. When you are first building a patio a design which doesn’t need you to cut bricks is going to be much easier and completed much quicker.

Once you have completed your first patio then you can start to experiment with new ideas! Remember you are building a patio for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors!

Another way to build a patio is to find a book at the library that gives step-by-step directions, if necessary. You want the patio to look good so you’ll want to learn all you can about the type of patio you want to build. Take your time and you’ll have a patio you can be proud of when it is finished.

© 2007 pkmcr

Have You Done any Deck Buildng at Home?

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    • mogsta22 lm profile image

      mogsta22 lm 5 years ago

      I'm planning a deck right now. Thanks for the tips.

    • LewesDE profile image

      LewesDE 5 years ago

      This is a great lens!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      My husband recently built a beautiful decking area at the back of our house. I was surprised how easily and quickly it all came together, and the finished look is beautiful.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Decks are very nice. Especially the private ones such as those off the bedroom.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 6 years ago from Canada

      I love my deck. It's very private. My husband and friends built it; I just supervised, as you might surmise.

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 6 years ago

      I have favorited this to come back, because I am thinking about putting in a deck this summer, kind of scared I don't know what I am doing.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Great resources here. As soon as the ground softens up, I plan to build a deck facing my lovely mountains. Once it's built, I doubt I'll ever go inside! Thanks for the ideas.

    • MarianaFargasch profile image

      MarianaFargasch 6 years ago

      Wish I first had my own home again! But definitely when I do sometime in this lifetime I will want to build a nice deck! Always loved one and never had one. Even when i did have a house with Ex... he never wanted to build me one.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love everything you sharing here. You've a great deck building collection includes useful guide of it. It's so adorable ;)

    • GardenArbor profile image

      GardenArbor 7 years ago

      Great ideas here - thanks for the lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This page is just as excellent as all your others Paul! I DO have plans for a deck in my backyard, butting up against my 'green room', right after I replace the 2 windows with a sliding glass door, so thank you very much for the information and resources, because it will more than likely entail my son building the harder / main part of the structure, and me finishing it :)

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I am thinking about building a small viewing platform for two chairs on a slope in the backyard. This will be handy. Have been thinking about pro-squids but so much to do.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Well done! This is helpful information. Folks can save considerable money by building their own deck. I have a decks and patios lens with a lot of photos. Thanks, 5*'s

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @anonymous: Thank you I really appreciate you taking the time to comment

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      @norma-holt: Thank you Norma that is really kind of you and very much appreciated

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Great lens and nicely presented. Top marks and lensrolled to the Great Outdoors. Thanks for comment on other lens, it has made my day

      Norma

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to aj2008] Do let me know how you go on and thanks for dropping by :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      When I finally manage to persuade hubby that we should move the sheds from the sunniest spot in the garden and build a deck, I know where to come for info on how to do it!

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      [in reply to AppalachianCountry] Glad you found it helpful and thank you for your kind comments.

      Good luck with your own Deck!

      Take care

      Paul

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      Great lens. We are getting ready to build, so all your tips are appreciated. Thank-you. 5 stars*****

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Several years ago, I designed a platform deck for the backyard of my townehouse -- it was 10 x 10 -- it actually turned out quite nice! BTW, a hearty congratulations on your Giant Squid Awards nomination.

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 8 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Thanks for the kind comments and I hope that readers are finding the information useful

      Take care

      Paul

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Congratulations on your Giant Squid Awards nomination!

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Great lens

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 9 years ago

      Congrats on 2008 Giant Squid Awards nomination...woot! (http://www.squidoo.com/2008-giant-squid-awards)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Congratulations on your 2008 Giant Squid Awards nomination and good luck! - Kathy aka "Pretty Bullet"

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Nice lens with good information about deck building and there by provided various tips on money saving.Thanks a lot.

      Checkout my thedeckbuilderdirectory blog

    • koolmom lm profile image

      koolmom lm 9 years ago

      Very nice lens. Great information. Good work.

    • profile image

      dwwebmaster 9 years ago

      This is a very nice article put in to layman's terms for the do it yourselfer. We've been a prominent deck builder in the Kansas City Metro area for over ten years. We've built literally thousands of decks and this is good info for someone with no experience. Especially the part about how the finished products are highly visible and to make sure they're done right! For more deck building topics or pose a question and get expert advice, visit our blog.

      http://www.dwdecks.com/blog

    • pkmcruk profile image
      Author

      pkmcr 9 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Thanks Robin that's very kind of you

      Take care

      Paul

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 9 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on becoming a Giant!

    • massrealty profile image

      massrealty 9 years ago

      Nice info on building decks!

      Bill Gassett

      RE/MAX Executive Realty

      Hopkinton

      MA Homes

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Yes! your lens is really great nostalgic information about deck building. The deck building tips are really fantastic for the people. Check out my lens that focuses on bathroom remodeling, I hope this will be useful to you.

    • profile image

      pergolaplans 9 years ago

      Great lens - thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Liners 9 years ago

      Great read. To add to this, here's another thing I found on eHow.

      How to Build a Deck Attached to a House:

      http://www.ehow.com/how_9040_build-deck.html

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 10 years ago

      Great ideas. We're hoping to get two decks built before the end of the summer. The guide looks like a winner.

    • profile image

      KevinRiley 10 years ago

      Hi Paul, didn't know about this lens until you commented at my lens. I used to be a deck builder back in the early 1980s in Vernon, BC. Even though it was my occupation, I still loved building decks. Being outdoors on a sunny day ... creating a thing of beauty ... nothing like it.

    • Karendelac profile image

      Karendelac 10 years ago

      Your ideas on decks are so creative, just like your lens. 5 Stars Best wishes,

      Karen at Karens

      Kinkade Art Store

    • profile image

      financegirls 10 years ago

      hello Paul interesting read...would love to share with you my lens on The Benefits of Secured Credit Cards

      ...thanks=)