Project Overview

Building a deck is a great way to expand your outdoor living space. But before you start, there are a number of things to consider. We’ll cover everything from getting council approval, to checking for underground cables and pipes, to what style of deck you want.
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This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How to build a deck
Effort Required

Big Project

Big Project

This type of project will keep you busy over a few evenings and weekends

 
Tie tring
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How to tie a string line

String lines are a useful tool to help you lay straight, level brick walls. When you need to squeeze string line through a thin gap, tie a loop around the point of your trowel and use that to push the string through. Instead of tying your string line off with knots, a much quicker way is to wrap it around a line block and use that to hold the string in place.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Getting council approval
2 Choosing which way your deck will face
3 Think about the floor levels of your deck
4 Check what’s on and under the ground.
5 Choosing the style of your deck
6 Draw up a rough deck plan
  • Step 1. Getting council approval

    Before you build your deck, make sure that you have approval from your local council. All councils will have their own sets of regulations about decks and other house extensions. These regulations cover things like structural integrity, what materials you can use, site setbacks and minimum construction standards. When you’re talking to your local council ask them about any exemptions that exist for decks where approval isn’t required.
  • Step 2. Choosing which way your deck will face

    Do you want your deck facing east, so you can enjoy the sunrise in the morning. Or would you rather it facing west, so you can view the sunset. When choosing which way you deck will face, think about how much sun it will get and whether you might need a solid roof to create shade.

  • Step 3. Think about the floor levels of your deck

    An important thing to think about is how high you want your deck to be. There are two options. You can build it so that you have steps leading down onto your outside deck. Or there are low-level decks, which are the same level as your floor and can give you more space.

  • Step 4. Check what’s on and under the ground.

    Before you start digging, where you’re going to put your deck, make sure you know what’s below. Check there aren’t any underground power cables, or water and gas pipes. Hitting and cutting into any of these can not only be dangerous but also expensive. Most utilities have a number you can call to find out where cables and pipes are in your area.

    The other thing to consider is what’s on top of the ground. If you have a cement slab you’ll need to think about how to remove it before sinking your footings.

  • Step 5. Choosing the style of your deck

    Your deck will be an important addition to you backyard, so work out how you want it to look so it matches the rest of your home. There are lots of different designs and styles of deck, made from different materials. 

  • Step 6. Draw up a rough deck plan

    Measure up the area you want to build your deck. Write down the width, length and height you want your deck to be. These measurements are important to keep in mind before you start drawing up your plan. 
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