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DIY - Floating Deck

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot
how to build a floating deck

From neglected patch to Summer oasis: This is our floating deck transformation.

Building a floating deck wasn't just a project; it was the catalyst that completely revitalized our backyard. 

Confession time: the state of our backyard over the past few years has been... well, embarrassing. It's hard to believe this disheveled corner was once a place of enjoyment. But overgrown with weeds and forgotten about, it became an eyesore we avoided.

Ha, not anymore; building a floating deck transformed our neglected backyard into a summer sanctuary we can't wait to relish every year. 
a neglected yard
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There was trouble from the very beginning. Nothing sat level in our slanted yard, so we leveled off a square section for our kids' playground. Fast-forward 12 years, and the once beautiful playground turned into the junkyard you saw in the picture above.


Our simple plan to transform this space was to build a floating deck on the square-level area, adding a privacy screen on one side and railings on the most elevated parts.

At first, we wanted to cover the entire leveled area, wood, and everything, but after taking measurements and trying to keep the cost down, we decided to go with a 16' x 16' floating deck.

The Home Depot was definitely our best friend for this project. I'm beyond thankful for their invitation to the Style Challenge Series, which set me in high gear to tackle this big project.

I went to our local Home Depot store with my plan in hand, and Cesar, one friendly and knowledgeable associate, gave me the list and ordered all the materials I needed for this project. Two days later, the materials arrived home.

Initially, I thought about building this floating deck all by myself, but after looking at all the lumber in our front yard, I knew that handling those 2 x 10 x 16's and 4 x 4 x 8's was way more than what my petite 5'3' frame could handle! My brother-in-law was the person who helped me the most all throughout this project, I couldn't have done it without him.

Next, I'll give you the details of how this project went for me in hopes that it will help you if you ever decide to build your own floating deck. 

Main Materials Used:

Our first step was to clean the area and level it some more.

leveling and cleaning the area

Then, following the plan, we set the concrete deck blocks—12 of them — in their designated spaces.

The entire area was then covered with landscape fabric because the last thing I wanted to deal with was those pesky weeds.


landscape fabric

A two-inch layer of gravel was the next step to ensure nothing would grow there. 

On the second day of work and after inspection, we were told that the back, main wooden retaining wall needed to be stronger.

two inch layer of gravel

It was not safe for us to use deck blocks on that back line. Instead, we had to set concrete buried post footings. 

We didn't escape from digging; it had to be done down into the ground below the retaining wall.

concrete buried posts

The exterior frame was made with 2 x 8 x 16 pressure-treated lumber attached to the 4 x 4s in each concrete deck block.

exterior frame

Using galvanized ½" x 8" carriage bolts.


galvanized bolts for deck joist installation

We used longer 4 x 4s on the exterior back parts of the deck since they would become the railing posts.  

We created a strong center support perpendicular to the joists, with 2 x 10s mounted onto the buried concrete blocks to maintain the level line.

installing a floating deck center support

Once the exterior frame was done, we squared it off by measuring it from corner to corner and pushing or pulling the frame until both measurements were the same.

The next step was to measure and install the joists. We did it every 16 inches on center.

installing exterior frame.

Driving two- 2½" Deckmate screws from the outside of the exterior frame and into each end of the joists.

installing deck joists

We installed the joist hangers to keep the joists solid and secure. It was one of my favorite jobs because I used a palm nailer. There's nothing like using the proper tools to speed up a job!

installing joist hangers using palm nailer

Installing the decking material was next. I went for a carefree material: Trex.

installing the decking material

It was costly, but I will see its value throughout the years with the minimum or no maintenance required.  

I settled for the Beach Dune color, one of the colors my local Home Depot had in stock.

Trex high performance composite deck slabs

I love the Trex Hideaway hidden fasteners for attaching the boards to the joists. No visible screws and perfectly spaced boards.

installing hidden fasteners -trex planks

My initial plan to install a privacy screen or wall on the back left side of the deck was canceled after one of my neighbors filed a complaint about the height of our structure.

weather troubles while deck construction

Construction was put on hold until this issue, and some unwelcome snow was out of the way.

snowed in

Two weeks later, I got news from the homeowners association denying me the building of a structure that could pass the top line of the fence, which meant no wall. 

After all the wooden posts were cut off, we went to plan B: Installing a simple railing around the highest parts of the deck.

how to install a floating deck's railing

Pressure-treated 2 x 4s and balusters were the main components of these railings. 

I used my Ryobi Air Strike nailer and spacers for an easy install.

But then, I reinforced the connections with screws.

How to install pressure treated balusters on deck railing

The final details were to add post caps and complete the railing around each post.

Post caps on deck posts

Trex fascia boards were added around the deck's perimeter, and a flower box was installed on the side of the deck to cover up the gap the elevation created.

Patio Style challenge - slanted yard deck

That little area on the right-hand side is still a bit too high for a comfortable step, so I placed those planters right there.

The old wooden retaining wall was stained, trying to match the color of the decking.

Wooden area floating deck on a slanted yard

All in all, we spent three full weekends working on this project.

It was time and money well spent because this space has become the favorite spot in the house to hang out now that the weather is so lovely!

How to build a floating deck in a slanted yard

how to build a floating deck on a slanted yard

This floating deck has really transformed our backyard!

tour this beautiful Patio style challange makeover

The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in this Patio Style Challenge (the "Program"). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines. 

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  1. It looks great! That is a big undertaking so I am glad you had some help. Can't wait to see it all dolled up and ready for summer use. xo Diana

    1. Thanks Diana! I'm used to handling long pieces of molding but that's nothing compared to all that heavy pressure treated material. I can't thank my BIL enough!

  2. Oh my! What a big project! Bless that sweet BIL. You two make a great team. The deck is divine!! Susie from The Chelsea Project

    1. Thanks Susie, You're so right! And hey I also got a few tips from him. Nothing like working and learning at the same time. ;)

  3. Oh my!! That looks like something I would definitely hire out for! Good for you for tackling it Cristina! It looks great!

    1. I'm now planning another deck, an elevated one. That's gonna be for sure a hire out job! ;)

  4. Looks beautiful and so neatly done! I especially like your railings.

    1. Aww thank Julie! That's one of the building parts I enjoyed the most, so glad you like them!

  5. I'm sorry your shitty neighbours banned the taller screen but the shorter handrail looks so lovely with the post caps. Plus I'm sure it's nice for you to see the woods behind the fence. I also really love the string lights but I can't see what they're attached to - are they long metal stakes? xx

    1. Haha Thanks Kate! It was upsetting at the beginning, but I'm a believer that things happen for a reason, and well, I'm somewhat glad the initial plan had to be changed.
      It was important for me to have those lights, they create such a wonderful atmosphere! As a last minute resource I got three 3/4in. EMT Conduit -(Electric Metallic Tube), sprayed painted them black and secured them to the corner posts so I could hang the lights from them. I might do a post about it. ;)
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind comment!

  6. This is a great idea and you make this look so easy. I am going to be pinning. Thank you for sharing Cristina.

  7. It looks just wonderful. I wish I had been there for the neighbor complaint. I bet after my years working for a HOA / Construction company I could have helped you win that battle. Neighbors can be such blessings, and like yours and mine....sometimes they can be whiny pains too. But I am glad it all worked out, and I hope you get years of enjoyment out of it. You guys did a beautiful job!

    1. Aww, thanks so much Christine! I sure know who to contact when a similar problem arises. Again, thanks!

  8. OH I almost forgot too.....I am guessing if you double check your HOA could probably put up a row of arborvitae against your fence. That is probably not against he rules and will give you that screen you need. Then if you can do that, I'd make a sign to hang on one of them that says "Good neighbors make Good Fences AND SCREENS".

    1. LOL. I thought about that possibility, other neighbors have done it, but at this point, I'm just leaving it like that. The potting benches and the open umbrella are good screens for now. ;) Thanks Christine!

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