If you’re looking for easy deck ideas, you’re likely interested in decks that are simple in design, straightforward to build, and provide high value for the cost. The result is a chic, functional, long-lasting outdoor living space that you may be able to DIY — with the right resources and tools, that is.
Before you dive into easy deck ideas, explore tips for a successful — and straightforward — project.
Tips for a Cost-Effective, Stress-Free Project
If you’re planning on DIY-ing your deck, you’ll want to ensure your project stays as cost-effective and stress-free as possible. To do so, the key is to keep things simple.
- The cost to build your deck
- The labor involved and degree of installation complexity.
- Do I know the best practices for decking installation?
- Am I familiar with the tools I’ll need to use?
- Do I know what my local building codes are and how to get a permit?
CHOOSE A SIMPLE SHAPE
The size and shape of your deck are two major factors that influence your project and will affect:
To keep costs low and labor light, choose a simple shape such as a square or rectangle. Also, if possible, choose a length that aligns with a deck board length, which is typically 12’, 16’, or 20’, to avoid having to cut every board.
STICK TO WHAT YOU KNOW
Reassess your skillset and make sure you’re comfortable with the deck design you opt for. Ask yourself:
CHOOSE LOW-MAINTENANCE DECKING
While you may be most familiar with traditional wood decking, it’s far from stress-free. Installation ease varies by wood species and all wood requires rigorous, costly maintenance to keep up its appearance and integrity. For a low-maintenance decking solution that still gives you the real wood look you love — and is simple to install — choose TimberTech® capped polymer and capped composite decking.
DIY Deck Ideas: Explore Simple, High-Style Designs
With tips on how to keep your deck build simple, you’re ready to explore easy DIY deck ideas that range slightly in complexity. Keep your skillset and budget in mind as you explore these options.
For one of the simplest easy deck ideas, choose a platform deck. A platform deck, sometimes called an island deck, is typically a standalone structure that isn’t attached to your home, giving you the freedom to place it nearly anywhere in your yard. This type of deck fits right into easy DIY deck ideas because you can skip the ledger board, which typically secures the deck to your home. But keep in mind that this type of deck will still require proper footings which may need to be installed below the frostline if you live in a cold or four-seasons climate.
To give this deck design a touch of sophistication, consider adding a picture frame border of one, two, or three boards. Installation will require some extra joists and blocking but is still relatively straightforward.
Why Choose This Build
✓ Straightforward DIY build with no ledger board required.
✓ Gives you a simple, chic deck design.
✓ Can be placed almost anywhere in your yard to make the most of your space, depending on utility lines and yard features like trees. The check for power lines and utilities before you dig, US residents can call 811, while Canadian residents can visit Click Before Your Dig.
Rectangle With Stairs
A small rectangular deck with a set of stairs is a bit more of a complicated build than a deck with no stairs, but still falls in line with easy deck ideas. Plus, the benefits of curated steps are worth the extra work. A set of stairs gives you a seamless transition from your deck to your patio or lawn, and it adds a touch of dimension to your deck design.
Be aware that DIY deck ideas featuring a deck surface that’s above 30” off the ground will require a railing, so you may need to plan for a railing installation as part of your deck build. Always check your local residential build code requirements to ensure your design is code-compliant.
Why Choose This Build
✓ Can keep your deck level with your home’s entryway for a smooth transition from indoors to outdoors.
✓ Gives you a sophisticated deck design with dimension.
✓ Gives you a place to take in your backyard views with its elevated design.
Looking for DIY deck ideas with a little bit more of a challenge? Consider a multi-level deck design with platforms at different levels. To keep the design from becoming too complex, keep each level only one step up or down from the others. Also be sure to keep all levels lower than 30” off the ground to avoid having to add a railing to your deck project.
Why Choose This Build
✓ Naturally creates separate areas you can use for different functions.
✓ Gives you a multi-dimensional deck design for a curated look.
✓ Works well in larger backyards where the levels can spread out.
Simple Rectangle With Multi-Width Decking
A picture frame composite deck is built with at least one deck board — for easy deck ideas that look impressive, opt for Multi-Width Decking. TimberTech® Multi-Width Decking comes in standard-, narrow-, and wide-widths, but deck board installation best practices remain the same for all three. Multi-Width Decking is available in our TimberTech Advanced PVC Vintage Collection®, and both standard- and wide-width boards are available in the TimberTech Advanced PVC Harvest Collection®.
Go for a striking look by arranging two or three different widths in an alternating pattern across your deck surface. If you’re feeling up for an added challenging, combine your alternating deck board widths with a single-board picture frame border.
Why Choose This Build
✓ Highly curated design that gives your deck depth and dimension.
✓ Standard installation best practices when multi-width deck boards are laid straight across the joists.
✓ Bragging rights for what looks like a complex deck build (but actually isn’t too difficult).
Explore the Next Steps in Planning for Your Build
With easy deck ideas to consider, you’re read to explore the next steps for your project and bring your vision to life.
Step 1: Get Familiar With Deck Substructure Best Practices
Implementing any DIY deck ideas requires you to know the basics of proper substructure construction. Or, if you’re using an existing substructure, learn how to inspect it to ensure it’s structurally sound.
Regardless of whether you’re building a new substructure or using an existing one, keep these best practices in mind.
Common Substructure Best Practices
✓ Ensure proper footing installation, which will require installation below the frostline in your area if you live in a cold or four-seasons climate
✓ Make sure the ledger board (if applicable) is securely fastened to your home with the proper screws and fasteners.
✓ Use string line to ensure all joists are level and in plane across the tops
✓ Check that you have proper blocking installed 4’ to 6’ apart in between joists.
Step 2: Choose Cost-Effective, Stress-Free TimberTech Decking
When thinking about cost-effective and stress-free decking for easy deck ideas, upfront costs of your deck boards and installation ease aren’t the only things to think about. You’ll also need to consider maintenance needs of your chose decking material and the associated long-term costs.
Why Wood Is No Good
While traditional wood has historically been a common deck material choice, it is far from the best. As an organic material, wood is highly vulnerable to moisture and UV rays, and requires rigorous, costly maintenance to retain its appearance and structural integrity. This means your easy deck ideas can become complicated — and expensive — quickly with traditional wood.
Straightforward Installation With TimberTech
Concerned installing composite decking is more challenging than wood? Don’t be. Depending on the deck board profile and fastener pairing you choose, TimberTech decking is very similar to installing traditional pressure-treated lumber. No new tools or new skillsets required.
See for yourself what it’s like to install TimberTech decking by exploring our install videos.
Step 3: Opt for Easy Deck Railing
Considering a railing for your deck? While decks that are less than 30” off the ground often don’t require a railing (depending on local code requirements), adding one will give you an attractive, safe perimeter.
Easy Deck Railing Installation
For a railing suited to easy deck ideas, choose Impression Rail Express® aluminum railing which features a panelized railing system where the balusters come attached together as a panel. This means you can install an entire panel of balusters in the pre-frilled holes in the top and bottom rails at once, rather than fastening each baluster individually.
Get Up Close With Your TimberTech Decking Options
With the insight and easy deck ideas you need for your project, you’re ready to dive into your decking options from TimberTech. Order free samples of your favorite deck board colors to get a better sense of what hue will look best in your space and match your deck design. Be sure to place the samples outside and observe them throughout the day as they experience different lighting to help you determine which you like best.