Ground level

Last Updated on November 4, 2022 by

Have you ever imagined hosting guests outside? Or while having coffee in solitude on your deck. Then it may be time to consider installing a ground-level deck.

Ground level decks (sometimes known as floating decks or platform decks) are close to the ground. Decks that are less than 30″ above ground are typically easier to construct for three reasons. They often do not require stairs or guard rails for safety (reduced danger of accident); however, you may want to add one or both for convenience and/or aesthetic purposes.

They might not need a permit. Unattached decks less than 200 square feet and/or less than 30 inches in height typically do not require a permit. (However, to be safe, verify with your local builder’s office to ensure you are not in violation of any local building codes).

An easier-to-build deck may also be less expensive than an elevated deck. Depending on its size and construction materials, a ground-level deck can cost more than $4,000. Railings and stairs are two of the most costly components of a deck. Since a ground level deck does not require safety railings or steps for access, the materials and labor required to construct it are less expensive than an elevated deck. 

Decks at ground level distinguish outdoor living areas and provide a nice location for seating, potted plants, and even a barbecue for entertainment. It affords you space to enjoy your property and time spent outdoors.

However, there are a few things to remember before constructing your own ground-level deck. As with any DIY project, planning is essential for success. There are numerous sorts of ground-level decks, such as those requiring footings and those that are attached to the home. In case this is your first DIY home project, we will keep the instructions easy.

We will provide step-by-step instructions for constructing an unattached, simple-foundation platform deck. You will soon be enjoying your own ground-level deck if you follow this guide.

Building A Ground Level Step-By-Step

A ground-level deck’s elegance resides in its simplicity. You might select an attractive place in your yard to construct your deck and take in the view. Alternatively, you can embellish it with pavers if you prefer a more refined, elegant appearance. The decision is up to you and your backyard’s aesthetic preferences.

Step 1: Planning and Design

Consider where you’d like to place your platform deck by visualizing how it will be utilized and analyzing the landscape. Since you are not attaching the deck to your home, door clearance is not an issue. However, drainage beneath your deck must be considered. Does the terrain slope allow for water runoff? Creating a well-ventilated deck will help it live longer.

Step 2: What Type of Material Will You Use?

Because a ground level deck is meant to be low, you should think about the type of wood or composite you’ll use to frame it. If the bottom of your deck frame is less than 6″ above the ground or is partially buried, you should use pressure-treated wood that is rated for ground contact. This kind of wood has a higher level of a chemical that keeps it from rotting.

Do you want one or two steps leading up to your platform deck? If so, you should think about how you will attach the steps. If you use stringers, you don’t want to bury metal in the ground because it will rust.

Step 3: Consider Ground Level Deck Ventilation

Wet ground will be under a platform deck. A ground-level deck’s worst enemy is constant dampness, which can cause mould, rot, and decay. Make sure your deck is high enough to let air flow under it and let the ground dry out. This will help your deck last longer. Most of the time, if a deck is less than 12 inches off the ground, the sides must be open so that air can flow freely under the deck.

Step 4: Plan the Foundation and Levelling

Place concrete blocks at the corners of the deck to make a simple foundation. You can also put your building on gravel to help water drain away. Next, put stakes in the ground and use them to string the perimeter and hang a level line. Once you know that the outline of your deck is even, you can move on to the next step.

Step 5: Lay the Beams

As mentioned before, put the deck beams on top of the concrete blocks. Make sure they are high enough to let air flow through. These beams will make up the frame of your ground-level deck. Next, use a diagonal measurement and tap the beams to get them in line. To keep the beams in place, it’s a good idea to use temporary stretchers, which are temporary wooden frames that hold the beams up. If you need to, you can use shims that have been treated under the beams to keep them level. You might need to add more gravel to make the ground level.

Step 6: Attach Anchors / Joists

Once your beams are level, put angle brackets where the joists and beams meet at the corners of the deck. These will give your ground-level deck more support at the four corners. Again, use your string level to judge how even your deck and terrain are.

Step 7: Attach Inner Joists

Attach the joists to the beam faces at regular intervals using joist hangers. Make sure to use the spacing that the decking manufacturer tells you to use. This gives you stability and a good idea of how the decking will look when it’s done. If you want to add steps, think about where you want to put them.

Step 8: Lay the Decking

At last, your deck is starting to take shape and look like what you had in mind. Line up the first piece of decking with the outside edge so it’s straight. Then, put your decking boards in place parallel to the joists and make sure they are well-secured. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for how far apart the boards should be to make sure there is enough airflow.

Step 9: Trim the Edges

Once your decking is in place, you can trim any overhangs with a circular saw to make your deck look neat and even. Clean up the wood scraps that were thrown away. Now you can look at your new deck at ground level.

Step 10: Add Steps or Stairs

If you want steps on your ground-level deck, you’ll need to decide how many you want and how you’ll build them. Some deck builders put extra footings in the ground, or stringers can be hung from the deck. You can use metal angle brackets or 2 x 4s to connect the stringers to the platform deck joists.

Step 11: Enjoy Your Deck

After all of your hard work is done, you can sit back and enjoy your new deck. For a well-deserved break, add chairs, friends, a grill, and drinks.

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