DIY: Free Standing Deck Plans (And How To Use Them)

Do you want a deck in your backyard?

Would you prefer not to build your deck onto your home, either because of the type of lot you have or because of the space you have to work with?

Have you ever considered trying a standalone deck instead?

In this article, we’ll help you learn everything you need to know about putting together a free-standing deck in your backyard. You’ll learn what materials you need and the steps you will have to take to complete this type of project efficiently.

What exactly is a free-standing deck, anyway? Simply put, this is the same thing as a regular deck, except that one or more sides are not anchored to a house or another existing structure. This type of structure sits on its own in your backyard, but is still made of posts and wood slats just like a traditional deck. A free-standing deck is not the same thing as a patio, but it is similar.

So what are you waiting for? Check out these great free standing deck plans listed below!

JUMP TO A SECTION...

Materials

how to build a deck
  • 2x4 lumber
  • 2x6 lumber
  • Pressure-treated wood shims
  • Metal angle brackets
  • Galvanized screws
  • Joist hangers
  • Hammer
  • Post hole digger
  • Power drill
  • chevron-right
    Wheelbarrow
  • Circular saw
  • Quick-dry concrete
  • Tube forms
  • Post anchors
  • Leveler
  • Safety gear
  • Glasses
  • Closed shoes
  • Work gloves
  • angle-double-right
    GFCI power cords
  • angle-double-right
    Dust mask

Steps

  • 1
    Before you begin, you’ll need to measure the space you’re going to be working with for your deck. Lay this out using either stakes and ropes or spray paint.
  • 2
    Decide where you’re going to want your posts. This will differ depending on the size of your deck.
  • 3
    Use your post hole digger to dig at least six holes—more for larger decks—at 12 inches deep and 8 inches in diameter.
  • 4
    Use the tube forms to make sure your post holes are level and sit at about one inch above the ground. Use a leveler to double check this.
  • 5
    Mix up the quick-dry concrete in your wheelbarrow according to the packaging directions. This may differ depending on the type of concrete you’ve chosen.
  • 6
    Pour the concrete into each of the holes, going one at a time.
  • 7
    While the concrete is still wet, position the post anchors into each of the holes, one at a time, so that they are aligned with each other. Use a straight piece of lumber to check the alignment of each of the anchors you place.
  • 8
    Allow the concrete to set completely before you continue. This should usually be left alone for at least 24 hours, but you can check the information on your quick-dry concrete to find out for sure.
  • 9
    Position two pieces of 2x6 lumber in each of the post anchors to create the beams on either long side of your deck. Add a shim between the beams and on one side of each anchor. Hammer this all into place through the holes in the post hole anchor.
  • 10
    Repeat for all four sides.
  • 11
    Check with your level to ensure everything is even before continuing.
  • 12
    Attach joists and angle brackets to the corners where the lumber meets, using your power drill and screws. This will reinforce the corners for safety.
  • 13
    Attach inner joists with joist hangers using a hammer and nails.
  • 14
    Now it’s time to create the surface of your deck. Use fasteners attached with your power drill and screws to secure each board you’re going to lay across the length of your deck’s surface.
  • 15
    Continue until your deck surface is completed.
  • 16
    Use the circular saw to trim the edges of your deck to a straight line flush with the sides.
  • 17
    Stain, paint, or finish as desired. Be sure to use a weatherproof finish so your deck will last as long as possible without needing to be treated with any other surface protection.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve been able to see some plans for a free-standing deck, you may be ready to get started right away. But don’t run out and just start buying materials yet! Remember that you need to make sure you have everything in place before you begin something like this. You’re going to need to be sure you have enough space in your backyard to complete this project without running into anything important, and you should also ensure you have the time required to finish it once you get started.

How long will it take you to complete this project, anyway? Overall, for a beginner, this project should take around 20 to 24 hours of labor, so you will want to split it up over several days. And remember that you need to give your concrete plenty of time to set up after you pour it, so you’ll need to ensure you have enough time set aside for that step as well.

Is it very expensive to build a deck like this? How much should you plan to save for it? It does take some funds to build this type of deck, but since you aren’t paying for labor, it’s still cheaper than having it done by a professional. Keep in mind, however, that you will have to buy extra materials in case you make a mistake, so this may increase the overall cost of your materials.

Finally, when budgeting for time as well as money, make sure you remember that you will need to have all the correct permitting in place before you can build a structure like this in your backyard. You need to go through your county or city to ensure you aren’t digging in a place where a water line or gas line is located, and you may also need to get permission from your HOA. This takes time and may cost several hundred extra dollars—but this is a step you’d need to take whether you go with a professional service or build on your own. Just keep it in mind when making your plans.

When you remember all of this information and these tips, you’ll be well on your way to completing a DIY deck project that you’re sure to love for years to come. And even if you don’t want to attach your deck to you home, you’ll have tons of great options you can work with, too.

BONUS VIDEO