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How to build a deck

The process for realising the deck of your dreams can seem daunting, but we can take you through each step with a deck building guide from Nikki Kettle.

Wooden decking outside

Nikki Kettle's step by step guide to build a deck.


Have you always wanted a deck? They can add so much to your home by providing a place to entertain and relax, and they can also elevate your property from average to amazing.

The D.I.Y. process for building a deck can seem daunting, but builder Nikki Kettle is sharing step-by-step advice in this helpful guide.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

deck in a backyard

1. Make a plan

Before you do anything, check with your local council or regulatory authority to make sure you understand rules around heights, handrails, fixing grades, etc. You will also need to check what services are underground in the area you want to build – gas, electric or water, for example.

You should also think about where you want to place your deck in your yard, taking into consideration things like where the sun hits and accessibility.

hole dug in a backyard

2. Set out your deck and pile holes

Once you've made a plan, it’s time to set out your deck and dig the pile holes. These should be spaced no farther than 1.5m apart and dug at least twice as deep as the height of the pile sticking out of the ground.

pile holes

3. Secure the piles in place

Next, brace and concrete the piles in place. “Fastcrete is a good option that doesn’t require mixing and can be poured straight into the hole with water,” says Nikki.

bearers in piles

4. Fix the bearers in place

Nikki advises that the direction of your bearers will be determined by both the maximum span of the timber and the direction you would like the final decking boards to run.

deck being layed

5. Fix the joists in place

Once the bearers are in place, cut, place and fix joists over the top of the bearers running in the opposite direction. The maximum distance apart for the joists will be determined by the width and thickness of the decking boards that are being placed on the top.

“Additional joists and fixing points will be required if you are planning on doing a picture frame or border on your finished decking timber,” says Nikki.

man holding a set of nails

6. Fit fixing and bracing straps

All fixings and bracing straps will need to be fitted at this point. “The type and grade will be determined largely by the area you live in,” says Nikki.

deck laid out

7. Fix your decking boards in place

Cut, place, and fix your decking boards over the top. “If you are going to do a border or picture frame, fix this in place first and then continue with the rest of your boards,” says Nikki. “Remember: if you are using a hardwood, you will need to predrill all your fixings.”

Tip: You can either use decking nails or screws; if you live close to the ocean you will require stainless steel fixings.

Looking for more inspiration?

We’re sharing seven different deck design ideas.

close up of a deck

Transform your

deck in a backyard
deck being layed