7 Deck Plans to Transform Your Backyard

7 Deck Plans to Transform Your Backyard

A deck is a great way to extend your living space into the great outdoors. When you have a deck, you can eat outside, entertain guests and enjoy the yard you work so hard to maintain.

Whether you’re building your own or hiring a professional, adding a deck to your home is a relatively simple project that can offer long-lasting benefits. We especially love to see do-it-yourselfers throw their hats in the ring, because building your own deck is a great way to save money and get exactly what you want.

So where do you start? And how do you move from selecting a deck design plan to putting that plan into action? Here’s how.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Building a Deck

Before you purchase even one piece of wood, you need to think about what kind of backyard decking you want. The way you plan to use your outdoor living space and the budget you have will determine a lot about which deck plan you select.

1. How Will You Use Your Deck?

Do you eat outside a lot in the summer? Are you looking for space to sun yourself when you get tired of swimming in the pool? Seeking a space to curl up with coffee and a good book on a Saturday morning? The way you intend to use your new deck will determine what kind of deck designs you should consider.

2. How Will Traffic Flow From the Home to the Deck?

Think about your home’s current design. Then, think about the placement of the deck. Is there already an entry door level with space where the deck will be installed? Or will you have to raise the deck to accommodate an entryway? Will you access the deck on the first level of your home or on an upper level?

How you use your deck may also be relevant to this question. Why? If you plan to use your deck for outdoor dining, you’ll want to install it somewhere in close proximity to the kitchen to make it easier to carry food in and out.

3. What Material Should Your Deck Be Made Of?

Deck Material

When it comes to building your deck, you’ll choose between pressure-treated wood and composite materials. There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to which is better. The beauty of natural wood is an attractive option for a lot of people, but composite materials are known for being low-maintenance and lasting longer, so other people prefer to stick with those. Ultimately, what you choose will depend on how you want your deck to look, how much work you’re willing to put into maintaining it and what type of budget you have.

4. What Style Should Your Deck Be?

The style — or design — of your deck will depend on your home’s architecture. If you live in a more modern-looking home, you may opt for a contemporary deck with sharp angles and a sleek design. If your home is more traditional in style, you may prefer a more traditional deck design or an option with curved accents. Homeowners with children or pets should also look for deck designs that include railings. After all, protecting your loved ones is an important part of selecting the right deck design.

5. What Is Your Budget?

Although you’ll save money building a deck yourself, the cost is still an important factor to consider. Decide upfront what you can spend, then select a plan that fits within the parameters of your budget. Remember to factor in any fees for building permits — if your local government requires them — as well as materials and extras, such as outdoor furniture. If the deck of your dreams is out of your price range, consider choosing a simple design that can easily be expanded later.

Steps to Building a Backyard Deck

Building a deck isn’t difficult, but it does take more than a few boards and nails. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure great results that your family and friends can enjoy for years to come.

1. Check With Local Authorities

Before you get to work, check with your local authorities, as well as your homeowner’s association if you have one. Specifically inquire about local building codes and permits, as well as fees that may accompany your request to build. If you have a homeowner’s association, also inquire about rules and restrictions that might dictate the size or appearance of your deck.

Why is this step important? Failure to comply with local regulations could result in fines or more work for you if you have to remove or modify parts of the deck after it’s been completed.

2. Select a Deck Plan

Building a deck requires a plan. Take a few minutes to think about the kind of deck you want to build. What size should it be? What features do you want? How do you intend to use it? The answers to these questions will help you select the right size and design for your needs. For example, if you’re building a deck to use with your pool, you’ll be able to narrow your search and specifically look for pool deck plans.

3. Gather Materials, Supplies and Tools

Once you choose a plan, it’s time to purchase the supplies you’ll need for construction. The plan you choose should include instructions on what kinds of materials you’ll need — size and type of wood or composite materials, nails, cement and related selections. Make sure you have everything ahead of time so that you don’t have to stop mid-construction to head back to the hardware store.

4. Build a Basic Deck

Build a Basic Deck

It might be tempting to build a large, elaborate deck, but think carefully. Larger decks are more expensive to build, and they require more maintenance over time. If this is your first time building a deck, it’s a good idea to start small with on-grade patio deck plans — a deck that doesn’t need railings, stairs or posts. You can always add features such as railings, planters or additional space to the deck later as time and money permit.

Keeping the design simple can also decrease the prep work you’ll need to do. Depending on the features in your yard, you may have to cut down bushes or trees or even do some grading to accommodate a deck in a sloped yard. Sticking with a simple plan will minimize the scope of work you’ll have to do in your yard prior to beginning construction.

5. Install a Ledger Board

A ledger board will securely connect the deck to your home. For the most secure connection, the ledger board should be bolted directly into the house’s rim joist. Prior to installing the ledger board, install flashing both under the board as well as along the area where the side of your house will meet the ledger board. Flashing prevents water from seeping in between your home and the ledger board, which prevents damage to the deck and, even more importantly, your home’s foundation.

6. Dig Footings, Then Install Posts or Piers

Once the ledger board is in place, it’s time to dig footings and install piers or posts. Footings are the holes you’ll dig to hold the piers or posts in place. They’ll be located at each corner of the deck. Depending on the size of your deck, you may also have footers in between the four corners. Footings should be placed every eight feet to ensure a secure deck.

Once you’ve dug the footings, place pier forms into each footing hole, then fill them with concrete. They’ll need to dry — or cure — for one week. Depending on the plan you select, you may need to install the post hardware into the concrete before it cures. Other plans may call for you to attach post bases once the piers cure.

7. Install Beams, Rim Joists and Interior Joists

Once your pier forms cure, it’s time to frame out the deck. This is the point where you’ll install rim joists, beams and interior joists — the skeleton of the deck. This stage is incredibly important because you’re building the frame that will support the decking and hold everything in place. Your local building codes, as well as the plan you choose, should provide guidance on the proper spacing between the joists.

8. Install Decking

Once you’ve got the bones of the deck in place, the fun part begins. It’s time for the deck itself to take shape. Install the main floor of the deck, as well as any posts or railings included in the design.

9. Maintain Your Deck

Once you’ve finished building your deck, it’s time to sit back and enjoy it. But don’t forget to maintain what you’ve built! If your deck was built with natural wood, it will require regular cleaning as well as periodic sanding and refinishing to keep it in good shape. If you opted for vinyl or composite materials, you won’t need to re-stain them, but they’ll still require regular cleaning to prevent damage.

If you notice a board becoming warped or damaged, replace it immediately. Doing so will prevent a small problem from becoming a big problem later on.

7 Deck Plans to Transform Your Backyard

Building a deck takes a little bit of elbow grease, but it can be fun too — especially when it comes to choosing the deck design that’s right for your home. There are a lot of options out there, but these simple deck plans are some of our favorites.

Note: Designs are available in multiple size options , including 12×24 deck plans, 12×12 deck plans and 8×10 deck plans, designed to complement backyard spaces of all sizes.

1. Easy Patio Deck

This Easy Patio Deck plan is a great place to start if this is your first attempt at a do-it-yourself outdoor space. Combining the open space of a traditional patio with the casual appearance of a wooden deck, this simple design creates space for outdoor dining or hanging out. And since it doesn’t have railings or stairs, it opens up the option to expand the deck over time.

2. Easy Raised Deck

The Easy Raised Deck plan provides the casual elegance and simplicity of the Easy Patio Deck but is raised slightly off the ground. Designed to be all one level, this wood deck plan also includes instructions for stairs and a wrap-around railing that will keep your family safe on the deck and provide easy backyard access.

3. Large Easy Raised Deck With Trellis

For areas that get a lot of direct sunlight, the Large Easy Raised Deck With Trellis is a great option. Plans for this spacious deck include an optional trellis that provides shade and makes outdoor living a lot more comfortable during the hot summer months. Stair and railing plans are also included.

4. Luxury Split-Level Pool Deck With Trellis

Split Level Deck

Designed with two levels and a trellis to provide shade from the sun, the Luxury Split-Level Pool Deck With Trellis is a beautiful way to showcase any backyard pool. This split-level deck plan can be adapted to provide easy access to your pool, and it offers plenty of space for lounge chairs. If sunbathing isn’t your thing, curl up under the trellis with a book or a tall glass of lemonade. This plan also comes with stair and railing plans for your comfort and security.

5. Split Level Patio Deck With Planter

The Split Level Patio Deck With Planter is a great way to maximize your outdoor living space. Use the upper level for relaxing with a good book, then make your way to the lower level for outdoor dining at its finest. The built-in planter provides plenty of space for growing herbs or your favorite flowers. The lower level can be designed in three different sizes to hold families and groups of various sizes.

6. Fancy Raised Deck

If you’re looking for a deck with a little bit of elegance, the Fancy Raised Deck is a great option. Made with decorative front corners, this design rounds out the deck, giving it a softer, less angled look. This option also includes extra-wide railing and stair plans for additional visual interest.

7. The Maintenance Free Easy Raised Deck

The Maintenance Free Easy Raised Deck is designed to look beautiful but doesn’t require the maintenance and upkeep of a traditional wood deck. Designed using composite/PVC materials, this deck and its railings don’t require you to stain them every couple of years to keep them looking beautiful. They’re easy to clean, and they maintain their like-new look over time.

Check out All the Deck Plans at Family Home Plans

Family Home Plans

Building a deck for your home is a great way to extend your living space. There’s nothing like hosting a dinner party outdoors or relaxing by the pool after a long day.

If you’re considering building a deck, you need a plan that works for your home, your family and your budget. The Family Home Plans selection of deck blueprints features a variety of options designed with your family in mind. Plans are available for a range of sizes, materials and budgets. The one thing they all have in common is the beauty and quality you expect.

Browse our online selection, and start planning your addition today.

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