Welcome aboard as I take you on a journey into the realm of DIY decking wonders. Join me as I unveil the art of crafting your very own decking haven right within your garden. In this guide, I’ll walk you through step-by-step of building a wooden decking area, sharing my step-by-step experiences with both raised floating platforms and sturdy grounded structures.
Within this post we’ll explore two fantastic decking ideas, each thoughtfully equipped with a canopy for year-round enjoyment. Whether your landscape is uneven, sloped or paved, with determination, these ideas can fit right in, giving you the deck of your dreams without breaking the bank.
If you’re keen on saving some hard-earned cash while creating a cosy outdoor retreat, stick around. This post is geared to provide you with practical answers and insights for your DIY decking venture.
Table of Contents
- Two decking ideas
- How much does it cost to build a decking area?
- DIY Decking on a Solid Surface
- How To Build A Raised Decking Area
- Tools required
- Do I need planning permission to build a decking area?
- Common questions regarding decking construction:
- Extra reading
Two decking ideas
This one is a raised platform with supports fixed into the ground. It demonstrates how to build a raised deck on an uneven surface.
This decking is sat on a solid floor with a basic timber frame. It’s a guide to build a deck on concrete.
How much does it cost to build a decking area?
Each decking area was achieved for under £500, were built to last and provide an aesthetic seating area all year round. You may also consider a composite decking board for this project but be prepared to spend extra for the longer-lasting materials. Composite decking is just as easy to work with as wood, comes in a vast variety of colours and will last a lifetime.
We managed to save a load of money on these two projects by doing it ourselves, using partially reclaimed materials, shopping around and using a cash back site like Topcashback.
As I’m going to be talking through two different builds here I will include a materials list at the end of each. You will however need to work out exactly what you require before you get started.
DIY Decking on a Solid Surface
Let’s jump into the action – this is where my DIY decking journey took off. I decided to build my decking area right over an existing patio. To get started, I carefully lifted the existing slabs, making use of the concrete foundation below as my starting point. While the concrete surface had a few bumps here and there, I easily smoothed things out using a trusty hammer and chisel. Keep in mind that this post will specifically walk you through the DIY decking portion of my project. Click here to see the veranda (canopy) step-by-step guide.
Step 1. Ground preparation
If, like me, you’re building over an existing patio, deciding on the slabs is crucial. You can either keep or remove them, considering factors like height limitations due to door frames and garden integration. For instance, I opted to remove the slabs beneath my decking to achieve a seamless connection with porcelain tiles, ensuring they’re flush and level.
Step 2. Decking layout
Begin by arranging your support beams (joists) to outline the decking’s overall space. Now, consider the orientation of your decking boards – they can either face away from the house or run parallel to it. Regardless of your choice, ensure proper spacing. Utilise the provided chart to maintain appropriate gaps between each joist.
|Decking board size (mm)||Joist centre point span (mm) for C16 grade timber|
|20.5 x 95||300|
|20 x 138||400|
|27 x 144||500|
|33 x 120||600|
I selected a thinner than normal joist due to the fact that the frame was being built on a solid surface. I used a 3×2 CLS timber joists which measure 47mm x 38mm and 2.4m long.
Step 3. Cutting the supporting frame
This is where the complexity increased a bit. Begin at one end, cutting and connecting each joist beam with an 80mm wood screw. Refer to the provided image for the proper alignment of each section. I employed a Kreg Jig to craft pocket holes for inaccessible joins due to obstructions. This ingenious technique enabled me to insert screws from the opposite side of the beam.
Step 4. Weed protection
As you can see above I’ve also added the weed protection now that all the pieces of the support frame have been joined. This probably wasn’t absolutely necessary due to there being a solid concrete base but for peace of mind I added it anyway. I also used some flashing tape along the front and side beams to protect the wood from sitting in water. This tape costs about £9.00 for 10m.
Step 5. Checking stability
With all beams joined, I tested the frame’s stability and levelness – crucial for avoiding a creaky, unstable deck. Detecting some movement while walking along the beams, I reinforced the frame’s solidity by employing right-angled brackets. Using a masonry bit, I drilled into the concrete, inserted plastic plugs, and secured with robust screws at around 8 spots. After this, I rechecked the frame’s stability by walking across all sections, ensuring any remaining movement was addressed before moving forward.
Step 6. Adding the decking boards
You’ll require decking screws and an impact driver (though a regular drill works too). Opting for an impact driver accelerates the process. I used 10 screws per board to ensure a secure attachment and minimize shifting. Placing screws along the sides and 5 down the length, ensuring each secures to the underlying frame. As I fixed each board, I inserted 3mm spacers between them.
This allows a nice even space between each board. When inserting each screw please ensure there are no splinters sticking out by removing them with your hand or sanding off. These can be really nasty if walking around in bare feet. It’s worth having a pair of knee pads when laying the boards as you’ll be moving around constantly on your knees. I found out the hard way!
Use a jigsaw to cut around any objects. (Like my veranda supports)
Step 7. Completing the decking surface
Repeat this process throughout the whole decking frame. You might find you have a little overhang at one end like me but this was fine. You can always shorten a board with a table saw or circular saw if required.
Step 8. A light sand
Give the decking a light sanding to remove any splinters or rough edges. Use a 80 grit followed by a 120 (or 200) grit on an orbital sander to give a nice finish.
Step 9. Treating your decking
It’s very important to treat your decking timber as soon as possible after completion. This will protect it from the weather and the likelihood of rotting. These spruce or pine decking boards can last up to 20 + years if treated correctly, treated regularly (once a year or every couple of years) and don’t have stagnant water on them.
We decided to paint our decking wood with a specific decking paint from Cuprinol. We used the Cuprinol Anti-slip decking paint – Urban Slate. Decking paint isn’t cheap but it’s well worth the investment to provide a long lasting coat for your decking.
So there we have it. A simple but effective and good looking decking area. My decking is just a straight forward rectangle shape but you may wish to go for something a little more complex with angles, railings and steps. It depends on how confident you feel.
- 22 x 4.8m lengths of decking boards (32mm x 120mm)
- 20 x 2.4m 3×2 CLS construction timber (38mm x 47mm)
- 400 x 70mm slim decking screws
- 100 x 80mm wood screws
- Weed control barrier
- 8 x right angled brackets
- 32 x 50mm screws
- 1 x Cuprinol Anti-slip decking paint – Urban slate (2.5L)
Now onto a raised deck.
How To Build A Raised Decking Area
This was the second decking area I built in my garden. A seating area to enjoy sunny evenings and a shaded area to enjoy during hot summer days. It’s ideal for those of you who are building on uneven or soil surfaces. Again, I’ll just talk about the decking here but feel free to look at my veranda post to see how this covered section was achieved.
This is a picture of the finished article. I decided to add a planter and roof to this one which really finishes it off.
Step 1. Levelling and ground prep
Like before you should work out where you want the decking and how big it will be. Stick to the planning permission restrictions and you’ll never have the council knocking on your door forcing you to take it down. (It does happen)
This is the spot we decided to build the outdoor decking area. It’s the spot in the garden that gets the last bit of sun for the day so you can enjoy a beverage and watch the sun go down.
Step 2. Building the DIY decking frame
Once you’ve measured up and your materials are ready it’s time to lay out your frame. This will allow you to visualise the deck and see what lengths of timber you’re going to need.
Step 3. Fixing decking boards
I measured and marked out the fence, aligning with the 1.8m-long decking boards. For a robust rear support, I affixed a beam to the sturdy back fence posts. Then, I designated three positions for the front supports, ensuring a 200mm setback to allow deck overhang.
Digging three holes at these points, each around 300mm x 300mm and 400mm deep, I placed 50mm of hardcore at their base. The posts were then inserted into the holes and secured with Postcrete. Using hardcore at the base aids drainage to prevent water accumulation and rot.
Position the post and pour in the Postcrete, keeping everything level with a spirit level. Postcrete, found in 12.5kg ready-to-mix bags, can be acquired from most DIY hardware stores. Mix it with water, use one bag for three posts, and prepare everything beforehand as it sets rapidly—sometimes in less than 5 minutes. While assistance is beneficial, I managed this step on my own.
As you can see here I had two long posts and one short post at the far left side. It doesn’t matter if each post is at different heights at this point as you can cut them to size afterwards.
Step 4. Weed suppression
Before I fixed the frame together I laid out the weed suppression material and built on top of this. For added protection from water I wrapped the weed material around the frame on the sides and painted the frame. Poking a couple small holes in the bottom of the material allowed some drainage. The frame is simply screwed to the posts at the front and back of the deck area. You can see in the image above I also used a couple of old paving slabs to add some support. This is only because I used smaller 3×2 support beams. You can use thicker beams or add more support posts if you wish.
Step 5. Complete decking boards
Once the frame is complete and secure you can now add the decking boards. Mine were all 1.8m long so I didn’t need to cut any down. A nice easy stick and screw. Again I used 3mm spacers and about 8 screws per board to ensure a good solid fit.
I actually miscalculated the number of boards required here and ended up 2 short of finishing. Rather than going back to the shop to buy more I decided to use some old oak boards to build a planter at the end.
Step 6. Decking fascia boards
On this decking I added some fascia boards round the sides to give a nice finish to the decking. This was simply screwing the boards to the frame.
Step 7. Sanding
Sanding all the edges and gave the deck and nice smooth finish and removed any splinters from the wood where screws had been inserted.
Step 8. Protecting your wooden decking
Painting the deck was the last step to ensure good protection from the elements. I added about 3 coats in most areas.
So thats the finished article pretty much. We’re just waiting on some furniture now and we’re ready for summer!
The final job was to secure the bitumen roofing sheets to some purlins.
Materials for this deck
- 26 x budget decking boards from B&Q – 1.8m
- 12 x 2.4m 3×2 CLS construction timber (38mm x 47mm)
- 3 x 1.8m boards (80mm x 20mm)
- 2 x 2.4m fence posts (75mm x 75mm)
- Some off cuts or scrap wood to make up the rest
- 200 x slim decking screws 70mm
- 80 x 80mm wood screws
- Postcrete (Blue Circle)
- 4 x Bitumen roofing sheets
- 1 x Cuprinol Anti-slip decking paint – Urban slate (2.5L)
- Water (free from tap)
To get the job done quickly you’ll need to consider purchasing the following tools if you don’t already have them. Whilst they aren’t all essential, they will make the whole process quicker and easier and will ensure a decent finish. I’ve included some links to some of my favourite brands should you want any recommendations. (Remember to use a cash back site before making any purchases, You’ll be amazed how quickly it all adds up. I’ve accumulated over £400 in under 2 years)
- Tape measure – 8m tape measure
- Large spirit level – The bigger the better
- Drill Driver – Dewalt drill
- Impact driver – Dewalt drill and impact driver set
- Mitre saw – anything that can chop more than 120mm
- Hand saw – Panel saw
- Shovel – Or spade
- Trowel – Normal garden trowel for digging
- Workbench – Workmate
Saving money on tools and materials. If like me you like to save as much money as possible on your DIY projects then it’s worth signing up for a cashback site like Top Cashback. My wife and I have saved over £2700 in a couple of years on all our day to day spending! That’s a nice little holiday abroad for simply clicking on a cashback link.
Here’s a screenshot of my earnings to date. My wife has another £1800.
Do I need planning permission to build a decking area?
Before you get started you’ll need to ensure your decking area fits within the permitted building regulations and doesn’t require planning permission. If you’re just going for a deck without the veranda, canopy or cover then it’s very straightforward:
- Raised platforms must not exceed 300mm (30cm)
- The total area of ground covered by the veranda must not exceed 50% of the land around the original house.
- If joining to an existing building it must not be wider than the building
If you are planning on adding the veranda, canopy or covered section then you must also stay within these guidelines:
- A maximum depth for a single storey building must not exceed 3000mm for an attached building and 4000mm for a detached building.
- The maximum height must not exceed 4000mm.
- The maximum height of the eaves within 2000mm of a boundary shall not be greater than 3000mm.
- No extension in front of the main elevation or side elevation fronting a public highway.
It’s always worth checking the UK Planning Portal for guidance and advise when considering outdoor structures of any kind.
Common questions regarding decking construction:
- Q. Can decking be laid on grass?
- A. You can’t lay decking directly onto grass. It will need to be raised slightly so that it is not in contact with the ground. Follow the second decking area instructions above to achieve this.
- Q. Can decking support a hot tub?
- A. Yes, decking can support a hot tub but it will require reinforcing. The weight of a hot tub is extremely heavy and will require a very rigid frame with lots of joists spaced close together. The exact quantity and thickness will depend on the size/weight of the hot tub.
- Q. Can decking be in contact with the house?
- A. Yes, many types of decking construction include a raised platform that is fixed to the side of the house. Support joists will run along the house to aid in the support of frame.
- Q. How far apart should decking joist be?
- A. Please refer to this grid which will show you distances depending on the thickness of the decking boards you have selected.
|Decking board size||Distance between joist centres|
|20.5 x 95mm||300mm|
|27 x 144mm||500mm|
|33 x 120mm||600mm|
- Q. How many support posts do I need for a raised decking area?
- A. This will depend on the size of your decking joists. Please take a look here for some usefully information.
Although there are many companies that offer decking installation in London and the rest of the UK, completing this job yourself will be far more enjoyable and rewarding. Read on to learn how to build the perfect outdoor living space. Here are the two decking options I built.
You can save a substantial amount of money by constructing your own veranda. Typically, hiring a professional to build a veranda of this size could cost around £2200, but I managed to build mine for just £431.96. So, if you’re…
I recently purchased my own BillyOh log cabin / garden office for our garden and I’d like to document the build process to share with you. I’m also going to review the log cabin to point out what I think…
Do you love the rustic elegance of a coffee table made from a tree slab? You might have thought it was a complex woodworking project reserved for seasoned artisans with fully-equipped workshops. The truth is, creating a DIY tree slab…
Are you dissatisfied with the appearance of your uPVC windows and door frames? Whether you have brown uPVC windows or another colour you dislike, there’s a cost-effective solution available – painting uPVC. You have the opportunity to change the colour…
Garages often become dumping grounds for tools, sports equipment and other household items. Keeping your garage organised and tidy can be a real challenge especially if you are a keen DIY-er and have a lot of tools. That’s where a…