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How To Build A Wood Patio

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Creating a wood deck patio over concrete

Depending upon your area and local building codes, some decks may only require ground-level footings. In most instances, decks require support from concrete piers that are set into the ground. The terms piers and footings are often used interchangeably though they are technically not the same thing. Piers transfer the decks weight into the soil. Footings spread the weight out over a larger area. Depending upon building code requirements and soil conditions in your area, footings may also be required beneath the piers to spread the decks weight out. These specifications will be detailed in your deck drawings and guided by local building codes. Your deck drawings will indicate the size, number and location of deck piers or deck footings.

With the posts or beams in place, its time to build the deck frame. Because the deck is free-standing, it does not require a ledger board, which gets attached to the house. Instead, your deck will consist of rim joists that make up the decks perimeter, to be filled in with joists that will support the decking.

Tip: Most framing lumber has a slight bow in it along its edge. This is called a crown. Install the rim joists and all framing materials so that the crown is up.

With the decks rim joist complete, its time to install the joists.


Tip: For the best appearance, stagger the seams between adjacent rows of decking. Seams should look random so keep them two or more joists away from one another.

Stunning Diy Deck Built On A Budget

I think this is my most DIY favorite project I have ever done, and The Home Depot definitely made it all happen! From the friendly staff, to all of their tools, and the ideas on their , Home Depot really does have everything you need to make a big project, like a DIY deck!

First off, this is very possible to accomplish on your own! I am not a professional carpenter or contractor, but this project is easy enough to do. But if you are adventurous enough, and have a few extra hands, building your very own deck is very possible!

Why build your own deck? For me, it came down to learning some new skills and saving lots of money! It is so extremely rewarding to stand on a deck that you have created with your own two hands. The bragging rights are unparalleled! And more importantly, you can save so much money! To pay someone to build a deck my size with typical materials would cost between $6,000 and $8,000! My deck came in under $900, since all I paid for was lumber, cement, and screws. Wow, right?

Lets build a deck!


Plan The Foundation And Leveling

You can create a simple foundation by placing concrete blocks at the decks corners. You can also place your structure on top of gravel for better drainage. Next, youll put stakes in the ground and string the perimeter using the stakes and hang a line level. Once you know your deck outline is level, youre ready to move to the next step.

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Greenery As A Focal Point

You can do a lot with shrubs and flowers. This design is very simple but looks like it took a lot of planning with the plantings. Digging out a focal point in the centre of your patio can be great for many uses. It could serve as a water feature or a fire pit. You could plant your favourite flowers in the centre. Perhaps even a hot tub? Use your imagination.

The rectangular garden bed around the patio could be planted with shrubs. Keep in mind the height of the shrubs you don’t want them growing very high and obstructing your view, or you may want large shrubs as a privacy wall.

My Order Of Operations

How to Build a Deck Over a Concrete Patio

Everyone has their own way of doing things, but I am notoriously against a lot of standards.


Dont get me wrong! The deck is sturdy. Completely sound. There are cement footers and deep posts. Its not at all wobbly, which is something Im very proud of! I have some half-ass tendencies, so this is a huge deal for me.

I did it in a way that worked for me, and me alone. The ways I was advised to build it required an extra person. And that wasnt an option.

Some things I did differently are

  • building the frame before plotting the post locations
  • not securing the deck to the house
  • not cutting a damn thing!
  • built & bought materials in phases

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An Oasis At Nightfall

How lovely is this? Just imagine illuminating your backyard patio to extend the use of your outdoor space well into the night. This contruction is a pretty straightforward installation of patio stones with a pathway to a larger “room” that surrounded by loose river rocks as a decorative feature.


The outdoor gazebo is easily purchased at your local home improvement centre. Most gazebos are simple to assemble in either wood or metal. Of course, if you are handy you can design and build your own! Often the metal types of gazebos come with drapery features. The drapery is just an option as it will still look very elegant with onlyl the attached lighting.

In this example the lighting is strung through the upper “rafters” of the gazebo. A nice alternative, particularly if you do not use the drapes, is to wind the lighting around the posts.

Diy Patio Furniture Plans

Stacy is a writer and freebies expert with nearly two decades of experience. She has appeared as an expert on Dr. Oz Show and several radio shows, published hundreds of articles, and co-authored a book. Stacy’s written about how to celebrate the holidays for less, decorate your home with free printables, and has curated the best free resources for parents and teachers. Stacy also has an extensive background in academia.

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Make your dream patio a reality with these free DIY patio furniture plans that will help you build everything you need for a patio you won’t want to leave. Find ways to save money, create some quality furniture, and learn a lot about simple building techniques along the way.


Included are patio furniture plans to help you build seating like sofas and benches, tables from big to small, and fun additions like a bar and porch swing to make your patio or outdoor space one you’ll love for years.

Here are 10 projects to get you started on your summertime sanctuary.

Read Also: How To Use City Pickers Patio Garden Kit

How Long Does It Take To Build A Deck By Yourself

I dont want to mislead you, so heres my secret to speed. Building a deck in less than 48 hours takes patience

It wasnt done in a weekend. It was completed over weeks. Cramming those 48 hours into a weekend takes two things:


money & plans

But since Im super frugal and I started this project just to make our daily outside time more bearable, it started small and kept going from there.

So while I was alone with my baby and my husband was away at school, I started cranking out plans and hammering nails.

I started with a 10×10 mini-deck, but after I realized how EASY it was, I couldnt stop. There are jokes that my entire backyard will be a deck before the next birthday party.

****the plans I made for you can be done in a DAY. One reader said it took him alone only 8 hours& I am not surprised. They are that simple.

I spent maybe an hour every few days getting things going during our regular outside time.


Measuring dimensions, researching building codes, and finding my big deck energy. If you , then youve probably caught snippets of my deck building process! It was a sweaty, good time.

When I quit my job to work from home, my daughter and I created a new full-time mom & baby routine. We would play outside every day for at least an hour or two. The thing is our backyard is a dirt pit. Its partially thanks to our giant, fetch-happy dog and partially just because its a fixer-upper.

Will It Work On Your Patio

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Even if your patio is in terrible shape, you can deck over it. Cracks, craters and seasonal movement along cracks are no problem. But beware of these three situations:

  • If an area is badly cracked and sinks noticeably year after year, any decking you put over it will also sink and develop a low spot. In most cases, settling concrete stops sinking eventually, so delay this project until it does.
  • This project raises the level of your patio by 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 in. . So any door thresholds adjoining the patio must be at least that far above the concrete. If not, this project wont work for you. If you live in a climate where the ground freezes, allow an extra 1/2 in. so that seasonal frost heave can raise the slab without damaging the threshold.
  • Stairs connected to the patio can complicate this project. To keep step heights equal, youll have to raise the treads by the same distance you raise the patio . On concrete steps, thats a straightforward job: You can treat them just like the patio, screwing sleepers to the treads and risers and decking over them.
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Diy Deck And Patio Building

Some people who dont want to pay installation costs consider building it themselves. DIY building of patios or decks both have their pros and cons. A good thing about building your own deck is obviously saving money on installation costs. However, you need the right experience, tools, knowledge, and patience it takes to build a quality deck. Not to mention, it takes a good amount of your personal time.

If you decide to build your own patio, it might be a good idea if you use a simple material like gravel. However, all patio materials are quite heavy, take time and knowledge to build, and it would be hard to tell if you installed your patio properly. Nonetheless, if you do decide to build either yourself, its more reasonable to build a patio rather than a deck.

Set The Concrete Blocks

Arrange four concrete blocks in a rectangle so they are 12 feet apart along the long sides of the rectangle and 10 feet apart along the shorts sides, measuring from the centersof the blocks.

Position a block between each pair of corner blocks so they are evenly spaced. If desired, add one or more blocks in the center of the rectangle. This can make the deck feel a bit more solid but isn’t necessary for supporting the interior joists.

Use a 6-foot level or a standard level and a straight 12-foot-long board to make sure all of the blocks are level with one another. Add or remove gravel beneath blocks, as needed, to level the blocks.

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Other Items To Consider When Building A Deck Or Patio

When deciding between a deck or patio, its also important to keep in mind where you live. Your overall landscape and the climate of your region does have an impact on what option is best for you. A good aspect about decks is that they dont rely on a specific ground environment to support the structure.

However, materials may need more maintenance in exceptionally dry or humid climates. Moving on to patios, their materials can keep their appearance and condition, even in very hot or very cold places. Although, patios are harder to protect from ground moisture or flooding. Therefore, the most adaptable choice would be to build a deck when it comes to landscape and climate conditions.

Find The Exact Riser Height

How to build a wood patio deck
  • Measure the exact total rise.
  • Divide the height by your estimated number of risers to find the exact riser height.
  • The figure will usually fall between 6-1/2 and 8-in., the ideal range.
  • If the riser height isn’t in this zone, add or subtract a riser and divide again. This will change the number of treads and shift the landing point, so re-measure the exact height and divide again.
  • Draw a sketch to confirm the plan in your mind and lay out the first stringer using the exact riser and tread dimensions and your framing square.
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    How Much Does It Cost To Build A Deck

    The short answer is the cost of the materials. But if you ask a deck builder, itll be 3 times that amount. I guess that is the standard market rate.

    *UPDATE* Lumber prices have skyrocketed since mid 2020. The current price of wood is about 3 times that cost when I built my deck. You can check the lumber prices here. I do like every day just hoping

    I paid just under $500 for EVERYTHING.

    Before my daughters first birthday party, I called a specialized deck builder and asked for an estimate. He quoted me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Frugal me said thanks but fuck that. The materials for his estimate ran about $1,200 so ummmm what?

    If I learned anything from my finance degree, its the value of a dollar. I understand that he has a business to run and he needs to turn a profit and pay for his employees and other operating costs. Also, the time value of money says that Id be paying for a much sooner completion date.

    Not worth it. At least not for me. Like I said patience.

    I had predetermined that I would hire him if he came back at $3,500 or less. But I just couldnt justify paying over 200% of the materials cost for the labor.

    ***I recently heard dont pay anyone for something you can do with your own hands and it reallllly resonated with me. Thats one of my frugal principals and I feel it on a spiritual level!

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    Living Wall With Movable Planters

    If you have a ground-level deck or patio and would like a bit of privacy, consider building a living wall. It can shield you from the neighbors, surround you with flowers and provide fresh herbs just steps away from your kitchen or grill. The planter boxes are easy to build, and a drip irrigation system provides automatic watering all summer longno worries about missing a day of watering or losing all your plants when you go on vacation.

    Read Also: How To Build A Barbecue Grill Surround For Your Patio

    Build The Outer Frame

    Clear a flat area of lawn for building the deck frame. If necessary, you can also build the deck on top of the concrete blocks. Cut 10 pressure-treated 2×8 boards to length at 117 inches, using a circular saw or power miter saw these are the standard joists.

    Measure the two 12-foot 2x8s if they’re anything over 12 feet, trim them to exactly 144 inches . These long joists are the end joists. Place the two end joists over the ends of two of the standard joists to create a 120-inch-by-144-inch rectangle.

    Drill pilot holes, and fasten the pieces together with three 3 1/2-inch deck screws at each corner, using a drill. Measure from the inside of one corner of the frame and make a pair of marks every 16 inches along one of the 12-foot end joists. Do the same to mark the other end joist.

    Add two more standard joists inside the frame so each end is set between a pair of layout lines, making sure the tops of the joists are flush. Drill pilot holes, and fasten through the end joist and into the standard joist with three 3 1/2-inch screws at each end.

    How To Pour A Concrete Patio

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    Get your landscaping features with this DIY concrete patio that comes with a solid concrete texture. Our all concrete patio ideas are long-lasting and economical and will require low maintenance too. For this DIY concrete patio, you need a concrete mix, gravel, acrylic cure, and seal as the main ingredients to build this solid concrete patio. Details here bobvila

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    Cut And Lay Your Joists

    To do so, measure and cut each joist one at a time, in case there are any slight differences between the distances of your cement piers.

    If your deck is large like mine, you will likely need to meet two joints onto one deck pier to reach the entire length of your deck. I have to mention the Ryobi miter saw I used was amazing for these large joists. It cut everything so smoothly, and even has a laser line that appears to make it extra easy for you. I love that saw so much!

    Tips For Decorating Your New Patio

    Once youve finished building your DIY patio, youll want to start enjoying it right away! The right patio accessories will go a long way towards creating the ultimate outdoor experience.

    If youve opted not to cover your patio, youll need to create some shade. A simple cloth sunshade or decorative patio umbrella will offer some protection from the heat of the mid-day sun. Or for something more premanent, you may want to consider a gazebo or a pergola for your new patio space. Youll also want plenty of comfortable seating. Depending on how you plan to use your new patio, you may decide to add a table and chairs, outdoor loveseats, or individual lounge chairs.

    To give your new patio the finishing touch, consider adding a portable fire pit, an outdoor bar, and some fun décor. You may also want to add a stylish and practical deck box. This creative solution provides additional seating while also giving you a safe place to store items when theyre not in use.

    Remember that your patio area should be fun, so dont be afraid to get creative when it comes to choosing your patio accessories and décor.

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