Creative Concept Decks

Raised Decks: Step-by-Step Guide and Design Ideas for Building

Imagine transforming your backyard into a stunning outdoor living space where you can entertain, relax, and enjoy the beauty of nature. Raised decks can make that dream a reality, and with some careful planning and the right materials, you can build the perfect outdoor extension of your home. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the process of planning, choosing materials, building, and adding custom design features to your raised decks, ensuring you create a functional and visually appealing outdoor space.

Planning Your Dream Raised Deck

Building your own elevated deck starts with thorough planning. From selecting the ideal location to determining the size and style, every decision impacts the usability and aesthetics of your outdoor space. With countless deck ideas available online, you can find inspiration on websites and Pinterest boards, and even consult with specialists at a building supply store to refine your deck design.

Location and Size

The selection of an appropriate location and size is vital for your upper-level deck. Ideal locations include areas with varying ground elevations, close proximity to your home, or directly off the initial level of your home, maximizing outdoor living space and providing a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor areas.

Consider factors such as sunlight and shade when determining the placement and dimensions of your deck, as they can impact the overall experience and comfort of your outdoor space. Additionally, foundation plantings or skirting can be used to conceal the deck posts and enhance the visual appeal of your raised deck.

Style and Purpose

The style and purpose of your raised deck should complement your home’s architecture and cater to the intended use of the outdoor space. Consider the activities you plan to enjoy on your deck, such as dining, relaxing, or entertaining, and design your deck accordingly.

Popular raised deck styles include Traditional, Contemporary, Craftsman, Colonial, and Mediterranean, offering various design options to suit your preferences and home style.

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Raised Deck

Opting for suitable materials is fundamental in constructing a durable and visually pleasing raised deck. Pressure-treated lumber, composite decking, and natural wood options are among the most widely used materials for raised decks, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated lumber is a popular and affordable choice for raised decks, offering durability and resistance to rot and insects. The process involves treating the wood with chemicals, such as chromated copper arsenate (CCA), to protect it from rot, decay, and insect damage.

Despite its economical appeal, pressure-treated lumber requires regular upkeep and may not have the same longevity as other materials.

Composite Decking

Composite decking is a low-maintenance and eco-friendly decking material that mimics the appearance of natural wood. Made of a blend of wood fibers and recycled plastic, composite decking offers durability and resistance to moisture and decay.

While composite decking tends to be more costly than natural wood decking, it is a popular choice for homeowners seeking a long-lasting and low-maintenance outdoor space.

Natural Wood Options

Natural wood options, such as cedar and redwood, provide a classic and timeless look for raised decks but may require more maintenance. Cedar and redwood are naturally resistant to moisture, rot, and insects, making them durable choices for outdoor living spaces. However, keep in mind that natural wood options typically require more upkeep than other materials and may not be as durable in the long run.

Building Your Raised Deck: A Step-by-Step Guide

With a well-thought-out plan and the right materials, building your raised deck can be a rewarding DIY project. The process involves:

  1. Preparing the site
  2. Installing footings and ledger board
  3. Constructing the deck frame
  4. Laying deck flooring
  5. Adding railings and stairs

Following a step-by-step guide ensures that your raised deck is built to last and provides a beautiful and functional outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy.

Preparing the Site

Prior to initiating the construction of your raised deck, thoroughly preparing the site is of prime importance. Clear the area of grass and debris, measure and outline the deck’s footprint, and level the ground as needed.

Once the site is prepared, you can start installing footings and ledger board, setting the foundation for a stable and secure raised deck.

Installing Footings and Ledger Board

The installation of footings and ledger board paves the way for a stable foundation and adequate support for your raised deck. Footings should be installed to a depth of 12 inches below the finished grade, as per local building codes. A ledger board is a horizontal piece of lumber used to provide deck stability and support. It attaches to your existing home wall for greater security..

Make sure to follow local building codes and use the appropriate fasteners to ensure a safe and secure attachment.

Constructing the Deck Frame

Constructing the deck frame involves the following steps:

  1. Set posts: Dig post holes according to your deck design and local building codes. Position the posts level and plumb in the holes.
  2. Secure posts: Use concrete or postcrete to secure the posts in place.
  3. Install beams: Attach beams to the posts to provide support for the deck.
  4. Install joists: Place joists across the beams to create a sturdy and level structure.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your deck frame is strong and stable.

Once the posts are secure, install beams across the posts and secure them with nails or screws, and then attach joists and decking boards to complete the deck frame.

Laying Deck Flooring

Laying deck flooring requires careful planning and installation to ensure a visually appealing and long-lasting surface. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Affix post caps to the posts and prepare for the beam that will run across them.
  2. Construct the beam using doubled 2x boards.
  3. Lay the decking boards on top of the beam, starting from the outer edge and working towards the house.

Use deck screws to secure the decking boards vertically through their faces and maintain a spacing of 1/4 to 3/8 inches between them for proper drainage and wood expansion.

Adding Railings and Stairs

The incorporation of railings and stairs to your raised deck boosts safety, accessibility, and introduces design possibilities. Choose materials that complement your deck design, such as:

  • vinyl
  • aluminum
  • composite
  • PVC
  • wood
  • metal

Ensure that the railings and stair treads are securely installed to meet safety standards.

With the addition of railings and stairs, your raised deck will be both functional and visually appealing, providing an inviting outdoor space for you and your guests.

Custom Design Features for Your Raised Deck

The inclusion of bespoke design features can augment your outdoor space by crafting a distinctive and welcoming ambiance in your raised deck. Built-in seating, fire pits and water features, and outdoor lighting are just a few options that can enhance the ambiance of your outdoor living area and make your dream deck a reality.

Built-In Seating

Built-in seating offers a functional and stylish solution for maximizing space on your raised deck. Creative built-in seating designs, such as:

  • Deck benches with planters
  • Bench chests for storage
  • Backless benches
  • Folding benches

Various deck designs can be incorporated into your deck design to suit your needs and preferences.

Choose materials that complement your deck and ensure that the seating is comfortable and durable for years of enjoyment.

Fire Pits and Water Features

Fire pits and water features can serve as focal points and enhance the ambiance of your outdoor living area. Popular fire pit designs include wood-safe designs, rustic fire pits made of cast iron or metal, and chalet-style fire pits.

Water features, such as fountains, ponds, streams, and pools, can also be incorporated into your deck design to create a soothing and visually appealing environment.

When installing fire pits and water features, consider the size, weight, safety, and local building codes to ensure a successful and enjoyable addition to your raised deck, keeping in mind the weight bearing capacity of the structure.

Outdoor Lighting

The incorporation of outdoor lighting boosts the functionality of your raised deck during the evening and introduces visual appeal. To install outdoor lighting, draw up a lighting plan, connect the lights to a power source, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to secure them to the deck.

Choose fixtures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing to enhance the overall look and usability of your raised deck. Solar lights, for example, are an eco-friendly and cost-effective option that can improve visibility and security in your outdoor space.

Landscaping Ideas for Your Raised Deck

Implementing landscaping strategies around your raised deck can amplify the aesthetic appeal and unity of your outdoor setting. Foundation plantings, container gardens, and multilevel outdoor spaces offer various options for creating a visually appealing and harmonious outdoor space that complements your raised deck.

Foundation Plantings

Foundation plantings help soften the appearance of your raised deck and provide a natural transition between the deck and surrounding landscape. To ensure successful foundation plantings, prepare the soil, remove existing plants, and select a combination of larger shrubs or small trees and smaller perennials and ornamental grasses.

Maintaining a distance of at least 4 feet between the plantings and the raised deck ensures adequate space for passing and prevents overcrowding.

Container Gardens

Container gardens offer flexibility and versatility in adding greenery and color to your raised deck. Select containers of various sizes, shapes, and materials to create a visually interesting display of plants. Use a well-draining potting mix combined with compost for optimal plant growth and health.

Container gardens allow you to easily change your deck’s appearance with the seasons, creating a dynamic and ever-changing outdoor space.

Multilevel Outdoor Spaces

Creating multilevel outdoor spaces can add depth and interest to your backyard by incorporating different levels of decking, patios, and garden beds. This dynamic design not only offers an aesthetically pleasing outdoor space but also provides separate outdoor living areas for different activities, such as dining, relaxing, or entertaining.

Utilize materials that complement your raised deck and landscape to create a cohesive and inviting multilevel outdoor space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Raised decks tend to be more expensive than platform decks, as they require additional materials for foundations, braces, steps, and railings. The cost of building an elevated deck usually ranges from $15 to $50 per square foot.

A raised deck is one that is attached to the second story of a home, has posts anchored into the ground on piers and is higher than inches above the ground. Such a deck requires a railing and building permit, and typically uses a ledger board in its design.

Building a second-story deck typically costs between $30 and $60 per square foot. All elevated decks require railings according to building codes, plus extra supplies such as pillars, foundations and steps. DIYers may need to get permits from their local housing authority.

To build a raised deck, design your deck and determine your budget, apply for a building permit, buy materials, attach the ledger board, dig the footings, set the posts, and mix and pour the concrete.

When planning your raised deck, consider important factors such as location, size, style, and purpose to create the perfect outdoor living space.

Contact Us!

Ready to bring a touch of sophistication to your backyard? With Creative Concepts Decks, your vision for the perfect Raised Deck can become a reality. Our expertise ensures not only a stunning design but also a functional space tailored to your needs. Don’t let your dream outdoor space remain just a dream. Connect with Creative Concepts Decks today and elevate your outdoor living experience!