Duo Ventures

Monday, August 7, 2017

DIY Floating Ground-Level Deck

Over the last year or so we have started making some major improvements in our backyard space.  For years, we had always thought about adding a fence, but with no pets or kids to wrangle we would ultimately decide to bypass the added expense.  However, when Sami was about 1 1/2 years old, it became very clear that we absolutely needed a fence to keep him contained.

The fence was definitely worth the splurge, but we quickly realized that we also needed to address our patio situation.  The small 10x10 concrete patio didn't offer a lot of livable usable space, so we made the decision to build a floating deck (not attached to the house).

We had some factors to consider when planning the size of the deck.  Namely, we had a long low spot that ran across our backyard which would become water logged & muddy anytime it rained.  That was our deciding factor in determining the depth of the deck, as we wanted to make sure to cover this low area.  It's hard to see it from this photo, but here is where the problem area was:
A large deck would not only give us more seating space, but also allow us to cover the low spot and solve our backyard flooding & drainage issue (well technically, we still have a soggy strip of grass when it rains, but at least we don't notice it anymore since we are on the deck & not in the muddy grass!).

Seeing as building codes most likely differ from state to state (and even city to city), this won't be a detailed tutorial.  Instead, I'll just give you an idea of the general process if you are interested in building your own deck.

To start, we had to submit our building plans & permit to our local city inspector.  After a day or two, we got our permit and met with the inspector who explained any changes or additions we would need to make.  Throughout the process, the inspector stopped by to check on our progress & make sure everything was to code.

We started with the framing - going right across our existing concrete patio:

For support, we had to dig holes and pour concrete to create footings:

You can see we also used concrete pads to add more stability:

Once we passed inspection in regards to the framing & footings, we began laying the deck boards using treated 2x6's.  We were initially going to use "deck boards" (also called 5/4 boards), but we found that the 2x6's were cheaper at the time AND actually stronger than the deck boards.  Our inspector also recommended going with 2x6s instead:

When laying the 2x6's, we made sure to stagger the deck boards as we laid them, so we wouldn't have long seams across the deck:

Look at this guy - what a cute helper!

Once the deck was complete, we added 2x8's along the sides to give it a more polished & finished look:

Here is the final product!

Our deck ended up being roughly 650 square feet (34' wide x 19' deep) & costing about $2,000.  This cost includes the permit fee and all materials (lumber, decking screws, brackets, quickcrete, & concrete pads).

Of course, we probably saved at least $2k-3k in labor costs by doing it ourselves.  It took myself, Nader, & my dad about a week to finish - but we did have to take a few days off due to weather.  My younger brother also helped out a few days & of course, my mom helped watch Sami since EVERYTHING is more difficult & takes twice as long with a toddler!

Here's a little Before & After:

Once the deck was finished, it became very apparent that we needed more patio furniture.  Since we were on a budget, we decided to build 3 outdoor sofas & a dining table.  More on that in a future post!

Thanks for reading & please let me know if you have any questions!



  1. Hi! Excellent work on this deck. I love it! How did you attach the beams to the posts? I can't tell from the pictures - it certainly doesn't look like the beams sit on top of the posts, but I don't see any bolts either. I'm stumped!

  2. This is amazing! Great work and I love the furniture you've made as well! Do you have any instructions for the dining table? I'm looking to make exactly that myself for outside!