A ground level deck is great for spending time outdoors with family and friends. Building a deck on the ground is relatively easy, especially if you like doing things yourself. All you need is the right tools and perhaps some help from a friend or family member. Before you begin, you might want to decide on the shape and size of your ground level deck depending on your needs. You might also decide if you'd want a free-standing deck or one attached to the house.
Usually, a deck on ground is low in height, and so does not involve putting up a stairway or railings. Also, since you are at ground level, there's no need for working at a height or climbing ladders. Although it is simple to build a deck on the ground, there are some issues you need to keep in mind before starting your deck building project.
Clearing the ground:
For a deck on ground, you would first need to clear the land and level it if required. If your house door is almost at ground level, there may not be enough space to install the deck frame, which may call for a little excavation of the land. This might be necessary only if you attach the ground level deck to the house. A deck on ground must have a low frame, set at joist level.
Selecting the right materials:
When you build a deck at ground level, you must use the right type of materials. Depending on the type of look you want to achieve and your requirements, you may choose the material that will go into building a deck on the ground. Various options are available, ranging from pressure treated timber, white oak, redwood and composites, although the decking materials you use will depend on your individual preference.
In ground level decks, the bottom portion of the deck frame is usually close to the ground or may be partially buried in the ground making it prone to rotting. It is best to use pressure treated timber for the frames when you build a deck on the ground so that it is protected from decay. Composites are pre-colored and low in maintenance making it a preferred material if you don't want the hassles. Natural wood requires constant maintenance and is prone to decay. However, for most people the natural beauty that comes through is worth the extra effort spent in maintaining timber decks.
Ventilation and Drainage:
Being close to the ground, ground level decks are prone to mold and fungus. So when you build a deck on the ground, ensure that you leave a few inches of space between the deck frame and the ground so that the area underneath remains ventilated. Vents along the joists will also improve the ventilation under your deck preventing mold formation and decay.
Proper drainage is important when you build a deck at ground level. You might want to consider laying gravel below the deck so that water drains away quickly. Also, keep in mind that tongue and groove decking materials don't work well for a deck on ground.