A Guide to Building a Raised Deck

Building a raised deck is a rewarding and practical way to enhance your outdoor living space. Whether you’re envisioning a cozy retreat for relaxation or a versatile entertainment area, a well-constructed raised deck can transform your backyard. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps, offering valuable insights and tips for a successful raised deck project.

Define Your Purpose

Before diving into construction, determine the primary purpose of your raised deck. Will it be a space for dining, lounging, or hosting gatherings? Clarifying your intentions helps guide the design and layout decisions.

Check Local Building Codes

Consult local building codes and obtain any necessary permits before starting your project. Building codes may dictate size, height, and other specifications, ensuring safety and compliance with regulations.

Assess Sun and Shade

Consider the sun and shade patterns in your backyard. Optimal placement accounts for the sun’s movement throughout the day and ensures your deck is comfortable during different times.

Survey the Landscape

Evaluate the slope and contour of your yard. A raised deck is a great solution for uneven terrain, but it’s crucial to plan for proper support and consider any necessary adjustments to the landscape.

Decking Boards

Choose durable and weather-resistant decking materials. Common options include pressure-treated wood, composite decking, and tropical hardwoods. Consider factors like maintenance requirements, cost, and aesthetic preferences.

Framing and Supports

Select pressure-treated lumber for framing and support structures. The framing is the foundation of your deck, so choose materials that resist decay and insects.

Ledger Board Attachment

If attaching the deck to the house, install a ledger board securely to the exterior wall. This ledger board serves as the primary support for one side of the deck.

Footings and Posts

Dig and pour concrete footings to support the deck’s posts. Ensure proper spacing and alignment for stability. Use rot-resistant posts that extend above the surface to support the beams.

Install Beams and Joists

Connect beams to the posts, creating the outer frame of the deck. Then, install joists within the frame, ensuring they are evenly spaced to support the decking boards.

Deck Angles and Shapes

Consider incorporating angles or shapes into the deck design for added visual interest. Angled corners or curves can enhance the aesthetics and flow of the space.

Proper Spacing

Leave adequate spacing between decking boards for drainage and ventilation. Use spacers to ensure consistent gaps, especially if you’re using wood that expands and contracts with weather changes.

Decking Pattern

Experiment with different decking patterns for a customized look. Common patterns include parallel, herringbone, or diagonal layouts. The pattern choice can influence the deck’s visual appeal.

Safety Regulations

Install railing around the perimeter of the deck, following safety regulations. Railings add both safety and aesthetics to the structure. Balusters, or spindles, should be spaced according to local building codes.

Design Elements

Explore various railing designs and materials to complement your deck’s style. From classic wood balusters to modern metal railings, the choice can enhance the overall look of your raised deck.

Staining or Sealing

Protect your deck from the elements by applying a stain or sealant. This step not only enhances the deck’s appearance but also extends its lifespan. Choose a product that suits your material and climate.

Outdoor Furniture and Decor

Personalize your raised deck with outdoor furniture and decor. Consider weather-resistant furniture and accessories that withstand exposure to the elements.


Building a raised deck is a rewarding DIY project that adds value and functionality to your home. By carefully planning, selecting the right materials, and adhering to local regulations, you can create a beautiful and durable outdoor space. Whether you’re enjoying a quiet morning coffee or hosting a lively gathering, your well-constructed raised deck will become a cherished extension of your home.


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