How To Build A Deck On The Ground?

Are you looking to enhance your outdoor space by building a deck on the ground? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of constructing a beautiful and functional deck for your yard or patio.

Firstly, you’ll need to assess your available space and determine the size and shape of your deck. Once that’s done, gather all the necessary tools and materials for the project.

Clearing and leveling the area where your deck will be built is crucial for stability.

Next, install ground-level footings or piers to provide a sturdy foundation.

Then, lay out and install the ledger board which will support the weight of your deck.

Applying a protective finish to your decking will ensure its longevity.

Adding stairs or access points along with lighting or decorative features can also enhance both functionality and aesthetics.

And don’t forget regular maintenance and cleaning to keep it in top-notch condition!

So let’s get started on creating an amazing deck that you can enjoy year-round with family and friends!

Key Takeaways

  • Assess the available space and consider landscape factors such as terrain, sunlight, and nearby structures when determining the size and shape of the deck.
  • Gather essential tools like a power drill, level, and tape measure, as well as materials such as pressure-treated lumber or composite decking boards, screws or nails, concrete footings or piers, and post anchors or brackets.
  • Clear and level the construction area by removing rocks, debris, and obstacles, smoothing out the ground, and ensuring proper drainage away from the house.
  • Install ground-level footings or piers by determining the layout and spacing, marking locations with stakes and string lines, digging holes below the frost line, placing cardboard tube forms, pouring concrete, and leaving a sturdy foundation protruding.

Assess Your Space and Determine the Size and Shape of Your Deck

Now that you’ve assessed your space and figured out the size and shape of your deck, it’s time to get excited about transforming your outdoor area into a stunning oasis!

The first step in building a deck on the ground is to carefully measure and assess the available space. Consider any trees, plants, or obstacles that may be in the way and adjust accordingly.

Once you have determined the dimensions of your deck, decide on its shape. A rectangular or square design is common and easier to build, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box with a curved or multi-level design for added visual interest.

Next, mark out the boundaries of your deck using stakes or spray paint. This will give you a clear idea of how it will fit into your yard and allow you to make any necessary adjustments before construction begins. Remember to take into account factors such as sun exposure, privacy from neighbors, and views when deciding on placement.

After marking out the boundaries, it’s time to prepare the ground for construction. Start by removing any grass or vegetation within the perimeter of your deck. You can do this manually with a shovel or use herbicides if needed. Leveling the ground is crucial for ensuring a sturdy foundation. Use a rake or shovel to remove any bumps or dips in the soil and create an even surface.

Once you have prepared the ground, it’s time to start building! With careful planning and preparation, you’ll soon be enjoying your new outdoor space where you can relax, entertain guests, and create lasting memories!

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

First, make sure you have all the tools and materials necessary for this project. Here are the three essential items you’ll need:

  1. Power drill: This versatile tool will be your best friend throughout the deck-building process. It’ll help you secure the boards in place, attach the frame, and handle any other fastening needs. Make sure to have a variety of drill bits on hand for different tasks.
  2. Level: A level is crucial for ensuring that your deck is perfectly flat and even. It’ll help you avoid any potential tripping hazards or uneven surfaces that could compromise the safety of your deck.
  3. Tape measure: Precise measurements are key when building a deck, so having a reliable tape measure is essential. Use it to measure out the dimensions of your space accurately, ensuring that everything fits together properly.

In addition to these tools, gather the following materials:

  • Pressure-treated lumber or composite decking boards: These durable materials are designed to withstand outdoor conditions and provide a sturdy foundation for your deck.
  • Galvanized screws or nails: Opt for corrosion-resistant fasteners to ensure longevity and stability.
  • Concrete footings or piers: These will support the weight of your deck and prevent it from sinking into soft ground.
  • Post anchors or brackets: These metal devices connect your posts securely to concrete footings or piers.
  • Joist hangers: These metal brackets help attach joists securely to beams and provide additional support.

By having these tools and materials ready before starting your project, you’ll save time and ensure a smooth construction process.

Clear and Level the Area Where Your Deck Will be Built

Prepare the area where you plan to construct your deck by ensuring it is clear and perfectly level. Before you begin building, remove any obstacles such as rocks, tree roots, or debris that may interfere with the construction process. Take a walk around the designated area and carefully inspect for anything that could potentially cause problems later on.

Once you have cleared the area, it’s time to level the ground. Use a shovel or a rake to remove any high spots or bumps in the soil. Smooth out the surface as much as possible, making sure there are no uneven areas that could affect the stability of your deck.

Next, grab a long piece of lumber or a straight board and place it on top of the ground. Use a level to check if the board is perfectly horizontal. Adjust accordingly until you achieve an even surface. Repeat this step in different areas of your planned deck space to ensure overall uniformity.

If needed, consider renting or purchasing a compactor machine to further compact and level out the soil. This will provide additional stability for your deck foundation.

Remember that proper drainage is essential for preventing water damage and rotting wood. Ensure that your leveled area has adequate slope away from your house so water can easily run off without causing any harm.

By taking these steps to clear and level your chosen area thoroughly, you are setting yourself up for success when constructing your ground-level deck. It may require some effort upfront but will save you headaches down the line as you enjoy your beautiful new outdoor space.

Install Ground-Level Footings or Piers

Once the area is cleared and leveled, it’s time to start installing footings or piers for your ground-level structure. The purpose of these footings or piers is to provide a stable base for your deck and prevent it from sinking into the ground over time. Here’s how you can go about installing them.

First, determine the layout and spacing of your footings or piers based on the size and design of your deck. It’s important to consult local building codes to ensure compliance with any regulations regarding footing depth and spacing.

Next, mark the locations where each footing or pier will be installed using stakes and string lines. This will help you maintain accurate measurements during the installation process.

Dig holes for each footing or pier according to the predetermined dimensions. The depth of these holes should be below the frost line in your region to prevent shifting due to freezing temperatures.

Place a cardboard tube form into each hole. These forms will act as molds for pouring concrete around the footings or piers.

Mix concrete according to package instructions and pour it into each form until it reaches ground level. Use a level tool to ensure that each footing or pier is perfectly plumb before allowing the concrete to cure.

After curing, remove any excess dirt around each footing or pier, leaving only a sturdy foundation protruding from the ground at an even height.

With your footings or piers securely in place, you’re now ready to move on to building the framework of your ground-level deck. But remember, always prioritize safety by wearing protective gear when working with tools and materials!

Lay Out and Install the Ledger Board

Now you can begin by measuring and marking the location for the ledger board, which will serve as the main support for your beautiful new outdoor space. Start by determining the desired height of your deck and mark it on the house siding or foundation. Keep in mind that the ledger board should be at least 2 inches below any doors or windows.

Next, use a level to draw a straight line across the marked height. This line will act as a guide for installing the ledger board. Make sure it is level and secure.

Once you have your guide line, measure and cut your ledger board to fit accordingly. Use pressure-treated lumber that is appropriate for ground contact to ensure durability and resistance against moisture damage.

Position your ledger board along the guide line and attach it securely using lag screws or bolts. Make sure to pre-drill holes in both the ledger board and house siding or foundation to prevent splitting.

Ensure that your ledger board is properly aligned with the height marks and level. Double-check its stability by giving it a gentle shake.

Finally, reinforce the connection between your ledger board and house siding or foundation by adding metal flashing over it. This will help protect against water damage by directing water away from this vulnerable area.

Congratulations! You have successfully laid out and installed the ledger board, setting a solid foundation for building your deck on the ground. Now you can move on to framing out your deck structure with joists, beams, and other necessary components before moving on to decking materials of your choice. Happy building!

Frame the Deck Using Pressure-Treated Lumber

To create a sturdy foundation, you’ll need to frame the deck using pressure-treated lumber. This type of wood is resistant to rot and insect damage, making it perfect for outdoor projects like decks. Here’s how you can frame your deck using pressure-treated lumber:

  • Measure and mark the location: Begin by measuring and marking the outline of your deck on the ground. Use stakes and string to create straight lines and ensure accurate measurements.
  • Dig post holes: Next, dig post holes at each corner of the deck area. The depth of the holes will depend on your local building codes, but typically they should be around 24 inches deep. Make sure the holes are level with each other.
  • Install support beams: Place pressure-treated beams in each post hole, ensuring they are level and secure. You can use a spirit level to check for accuracy. Attach them to the posts using galvanized nails or screws.
  • Add joists: Now it’s time to add joists between the support beams. These will provide structural support for your deck’s surface boards. Measure and cut pressure-treated lumber to fit between each pair of support beams, then attach them using joist hangers.

By framing your deck with pressure-treated lumber, you’re ensuring its durability and longevity. This material is specifically designed for outdoor use, so it can withstand various weather conditions without deteriorating quickly.

Remember to follow safety guidelines when working with power tools and wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll be ready to move on to installing the decking boards and adding finishing touches to complete your ground-level deck project!

Install the Decking Boards

Get ready to transform your outdoor space with the next step: installing the decking boards! This is where you’ll start to see your deck take shape and become a usable area for relaxation and entertainment. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful installation.

First, gather all your materials. Make sure you have enough decking boards, as well as any necessary hardware such as screws or nails. Double-check that everything is in good condition before starting.

Begin by positioning your first board at one end of the deck frame. Leave a small gap between the board and any adjacent structures, such as your house or a railing post. This allows for expansion during hot weather.

Attach the first board using either screws or nails, whichever you prefer. Make sure it’s securely fastened to the frame, but be careful not to overtighten and risk damaging the wood.

Continue this process for each subsequent board, ensuring that there’s an equal gap between each one. Use a spacer tool to maintain consistent spacing throughout the installation.

As you work your way across the deck, periodically check that each board is level and straight using a spirit level or chalk line. This will help prevent any uneven areas which could cause tripping hazards later on.

Once all the decking boards are installed, give them a final inspection. Make any necessary adjustments or tighten any loose fasteners before moving on to the next stage of construction.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully installed the decking boards and taken another big step towards completing your ground-level deck project. Take some time to admire your hard work before moving on to finishing touches like staining or sealing if desired.

Add Railings and Balusters for Safety

Once you’ve completed the installation of your decking boards, it’s time to enhance the safety and aesthetics of your outdoor space by adding railings and balusters. Railings provide support and prevent falls, while balusters add a decorative touch. Here’s how you can add railings and balusters to your deck:

  1. Measure and Mark: Start by measuring the length of your deck where you want to install the railing. Mark the spots where you will attach the railing posts.
  2. Attach Railing Posts: Use a post hole digger to create holes for your railing posts at each marked spot. Make sure the holes are deep enough to provide stability. Place a post in each hole and secure them with concrete or gravel.
  3. Install Rails: Once the posts are securely in place, it’s time to install the rails. Measure and cut them according to your desired length using a saw. Attach each rail horizontally between two posts using screws or nails.
  4. Add Balusters: Now it’s time to add balusters between each rail for added safety and style. Use a 3 column by 4 row table like this:

In this example, “B” represents a baluster.

  1. Secure Balusters: Attach each baluster vertically between rails using screws or nails, ensuring they are evenly spaced for a uniform look.

By following these steps, you can easily add railings and balusters to your deck, providing both safety and visual appeal for an enjoyable outdoor experience

Apply a Protective Finish to the Decking

Applying a protective finish to your decking will not only enhance its durability but also add a beautiful and long-lasting touch to your outdoor space. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your deck remains in great condition for years to come.

Firstly, before applying any finish, make sure that the decking is clean and free from debris. Sweep or use a leaf blower to remove any dirt or leaves that may have accumulated on the surface. You can also use a pressure washer to thoroughly clean the deck if needed.

Once the deck is clean and dry, it’s time to choose the right protective finish for your needs. There are various types of finishes available, such as clear sealers, stains, or paints. Consider factors like the type of wood used for your decking and the desired look you want to achieve.

Before applying the finish, it’s essential to protect surrounding areas such as plants or furniture by covering them with plastic sheets or drop cloths. This will prevent any accidental spills from damaging these items.

When applying the finish, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Use a brush or roller to evenly apply an even coat onto the decking boards. Make sure not to apply too much product as this can lead to uneven drying and potential damage.

Allow sufficient drying time between coats as recommended by the manufacturer. Typically, a second coat may be necessary for better protection and longevity.

Once you’ve finished applying all coats of protective finish, allow ample drying time before walking on or placing furniture on your deck.

By following these guidelines and regularly maintaining your protective finish over time, you can keep your ground-level deck looking beautiful while ensuring its long-lasting durability in all weather conditions. Enjoy your newly finished outdoor space!

Add Stairs or Access Points to Your Deck

To make your outdoor space more accessible, consider adding stairs or access points to easily move between different levels of your inviting deck. Whether you have a multi-level deck or just want to add an access point from the ground, installing stairs can greatly enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your deck.

First, determine the location and size of the stairs based on your specific needs. Measure the height between each level and calculate how many steps you will need. Keep in mind that the ideal step rise is around 6-7 inches, while the depth should be about 10-11 inches for comfortable use.

Next, gather all necessary materials such as pressure-treated lumber for framing and treads, galvanized screws or nails, concrete mix for footings if needed, and handrails for safety. It’s important to choose materials that are durable and suitable for outdoor use to ensure longevity.

Begin by building a sturdy frame for your stairs using pressure-treated lumber. Make sure it is securely attached to both the deck structure and the ground. Then, attach treads to provide a stable surface for walking up and down.

If desired, add handrails on both sides of the stairs to improve safety. These can be made from wood or metal depending on your preference and style.

Finally, finish off your stair installation by applying a protective finish that matches the rest of your deck. This will not only enhance its appearance but also protect it from weathering and wear over time.

By adding stairs or access points to your deck, you’ll create a seamless transition between different levels while making it easier for everyone to enjoy your outdoor space. Plus, it adds an attractive feature that enhances the overall design of your deck area.

Consider Adding Lighting or Decorative Features

Brighten up your outdoor space and add a touch of charm by considering the addition of lighting or decorative features. Here are three ideas that will surely grab your attention:

  1. Outdoor string lights: Create a warm and inviting atmosphere by hanging outdoor string lights around your deck. These lights not only provide functional lighting but also add a cozy ambiance to your space. You can choose between traditional incandescent bulbs or energy-efficient LED options, depending on your preference. String them along the railing or drape them across the canopy for an enchanting effect.
  2. Solar-powered pathway lights: Illuminate your deck and surrounding areas while being environmentally friendly with solar-powered pathway lights. These small fixtures can be easily installed along the edges of your deck, guiding guests safely in low-light conditions. They come in various styles and designs, allowing you to match them with the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space.
  3. Decorative planters: Add a burst of color and life to your deck by incorporating decorative planters filled with vibrant flowers or lush greenery. Choose planters that complement the style of your deck, such as rustic wooden boxes or sleek metal containers. Place them strategically around the perimeter or hang them from hooks for vertical interest.

By adding lighting or decorative features to your ground-level deck, you can transform it into a welcoming oasis where you can relax and entertain family and friends alike. So go ahead, get creative, and make your outdoor space shine!

Regularly Maintain and Clean Your Deck for Longevity and Enjoyment

Regular maintenance and cleaning are essential for preserving the longevity and enjoyment of your outdoor space. By regularly taking care of your deck, you can ensure that it remains in good condition and provides a comfortable area for relaxation and entertainment.

One important aspect of maintaining your deck is keeping it clean. Dirt, leaves, and other debris can accumulate on the surface over time, making it look dirty and potentially causing damage. Start by sweeping the deck regularly to remove loose dirt and leaves. You can also use a leaf blower to make this task easier. For more stubborn stains or dirt buildup, consider using a mild detergent mixed with water and scrubbing the surface with a stiff brush.

In addition to regular cleaning, it’s important to inspect your deck for any signs of damage or wear. Check for loose boards, nails that have popped up, or any rotting wood. Addressing these issues promptly will prevent further damage and ensure the safety of those using the deck.

Another crucial step in maintaining your deck is protecting it from moisture damage. Apply a waterproof sealant every few years to prevent water from seeping into the wood and causing warping or rotting. This will extend the lifespan of your deck significantly.

Lastly, don’t forget about maintaining any decorative features or lighting you may have added to your deck. Inspect them regularly for any damage or malfunctioning parts, such as broken bulbs or loose fixtures.

By following these maintenance tips on a regular basis, you can enjoy your ground-level deck for many years to come while ensuring its durability and aesthetic appeal remain intact.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much weight can a ground-level deck support?

A ground-level deck can support a significant amount of weight, typically around 50 pounds per square foot. However, it’s always recommended to consult with a professional to ensure proper design and construction for your specific project.

What are the best types of decking materials for a deck on the ground?

The best types of decking materials for a deck on the ground include pressure-treated wood, composite decking, and PVC decking. These options offer durability, low maintenance, and resistance to rotting and insect damage.

Do I need a building permit to construct a ground-level deck?

You may need a building permit to construct a ground-level deck. Check with your local building department for specific regulations and requirements before starting your project.

How do I prevent weeds or grass from growing through the deck boards?

To prevent weeds or grass from growing through the deck boards, you can lay a weed barrier fabric beneath the deck. This will help block sunlight and prevent vegetation from sprouting up between the boards.

Can I build a ground-level deck on uneven or sloped ground?

Yes, you can build a ground-level deck on uneven or sloped ground. Use concrete deck blocks to support the deck posts and level them accordingly. Then, build the frame and attach the decking boards as usual.


In conclusion, building a deck on the ground is a rewarding project that can enhance your outdoor space.

To start, carefully assess your space and determine the size and location of your deck.

Next, gather the necessary tools and materials, including lumber, screws, and concrete.

Once you have everything you need, follow these steps to build your deck.

  1. Clear and level the area where your deck will be located. Remove any grass, rocks, or debris.
  2. Install footings or piers to provide a solid foundation for your deck. Follow local building codes and guidelines for spacing and depth.
  3. Lay out the ledger board, which will attach your deck to the side of your house. Use a level to ensure it is straight and secure it with lag screws.
  4. Install the support beams and joists, spacing them according to the size of your deck and local building codes.
  5. Attach the decking boards to the joists using screws or nails. Leave a small gap between each board to allow for expansion and drainage.
  6. Consider adding stairs or access points for convenience. Ensure they are sturdy and properly secured.
  7. If desired, add lighting or decorative features to enhance the aesthetics of your deck.
  8. Regularly maintain and clean your deck to ensure its longevity and your enjoyment.

By following these steps, you can create a sturdy and functional deck that will provide years of outdoor enjoyment. Happy deck-building!