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How to Plan a Raised Deck

 Mar 2020

A raised deck is a beautiful enhancement to a garden. It’s a space which is ideal for outdoor entertainment all year round, suited for relaxing on, and a great solution for covering up any unsightly garden problems such as slopes and garden weed. You’ll be pleased to know that it also doesn’t require a carpenter to build!

Before kickstarting your raised decking project, whether it’s free-standing or attached to the house wall - like many great DIY projects - it’s important to start with a plan, if not on paper, then at least in your head (but ideally on paper, too!).


Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What is it for? Are you looking to create a space for barbecues and socialising? Is it an area for relaxing in the sun? Or a clean play area for the kids? Deciding what you want to primarily use your deck for will help determine everything from location to size, as well as what type of decking boards you could use – so start by answering this question.
  • Where do you plan to lay your raised deck? Will it be an extension of your house and therefore mounted to the wall? Perhaps it’s an island deck at the end of the garden? At this point you will want to think about the exact location in your garden where you want the deck to sit – consider things like the position of the sun in your garden for instance, as the south facing side of the house will offer the most sunshine, but you can also choose to avoid it by going for a shady spot in your garden.
  • Will you need planning permission? Generally, you would not need planning permission to build a normal, flat deck. However, the rules are slightly different when planning to build a raised deck; If your raised deck is due to be more than 30cm off the ground, keep in mind that in this instance, you will need planning permission (better to be safe than sorry).


Sketch out a Plan

Drawing a plan for building your deck can be monotonous but it’s recommended to make the project go as smooth as possible and it’s also a nice way to visualise your deck – this is the part we mentioned earlier about putting your plan on paper!


Drawing a Site Plan

Deck plans should almost always begin with measurements – so take a tape measure, a notepad and a pencil (or pen) and begin to measure and illustrate everything from the length and width of your garden, as well as your house, the location of the windows and electrical outlets. It’s important to take note of all these things because you may need to know the distance between any elements that might affect the construction process.

Include a sketch of how the deck will look and where it will go – don’t worry about scaling, but make sure you illustrate all dimensions of the deck including length and width, joist and beam spacing etc.

Work out how much decking you will need

It’s useful to know how much decking you will need before you buy the decking boards. This will be dependant on a range of factors such as the size of the deck, the material used for the boards, and the design of the deck (ie. any extra features such as railing or stairs).

Ready to start building? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to build a raised deck here.

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