A Guide to Building a Ground Level Deck


Building a ground level deck is a great way to use yard space without the cost and installation time of an elevated deck. If the deck is freestanding, meaning it isn’t attached to a structure, it can be built without the need for concrete footers.

Instead, the best way to build a ground level deck is by using precast concrete deck piers or deck blocks or building it directly on grade.

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How to Build a Ground Level Deck

Building a ground level deck can be a large undertaking, but with the right plan, it can go smoothly. How much to build a ground level deck depends on the size, shape, and materials you choose.

Check the Building Code and Obtain Permits

The International Residential Code (IRC) Section R507 states that free-standing decks don’t need concrete footings if the joists are directly supported on grade over their entire length. This means that you can prepare the surface and rest the joists directly on the ground. Be sure to check your local building codes to make sure you’re adhering to all of the requirements because building codes vary depending on individual municipalities.

Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a building permit before you build a ground level deck. In some municipalities, decks smaller than 200 square feet and less than 30 inches from the ground don’t need a permit, but you should always check to be sure.

Plan the Layout

Once you’re up to date on local codes, it’s time to plan the layout of the deck. After sketching it out, you can use posts and string to see the layout in the yard and make any necessary adjustments.

Choose the Materials

The best way to build a ground level deck is with pressure treated wood that can handle extended contact with the ground. The decking material should be a durable high-quality material. Choices include wood, concrete, porcelain, or composite, though composite offers superior benefits such as no maintenance and easy installation.

Prepare the Ground

A properly prepared surface can help create a stable and long-lasting deck and is one of the most important steps in building a ground level deck. After you’ve marked out the deck’s perimeter, remove the sod and topsoil from the area and compact the ground using a compactor. Next, lay landscape fabric over the area to discourage weeds from growing underneath the deck. If the beams or joists will be partially buried, dig the necessary trenches. If you’re using deck blocks as a foundation, place them where the corners will be. If you’re using gravel for better drainage, lay the gravel in the desired location.

Build the Deck

Once the planning is done and it’s time to build a ground level deck, construct the frame using beams that either rest on deck blocks, gravel, or the ground. Once the beams are set and secure, attach joists perpendicular to the beams to act as the support for the decking. At this point, you’ll install the decking material. If the deck is less than 30 inches high, railings aren’t required, but they can provide an additional safety measure in addition to aesthetic benefits.

Choose Amenities

Building a ground level deck means you’ll have a great place to entertain or relax, so the amenities you choose depend on how you will use the deck. Ground level decks can be built around a fire pit, they can include a range of entertainment options, like a foosball table, a fireplace, or an outdoor kitchen or bar — or all of the above.

Integrate It with the Landscaping

When you build a ground level deck, you can integrate it directly into the landscaping as well as add planters or places for vines to climb on the actual deck.

Choose Aspire Composite Pavers for Your Ground Level Deck Surface

Aspire Pavers are the ideal choice for a ground level deck and they provide many benefits over other materials:


Our pavers are one-third the weight of traditional pavers in order to create less of a load on the deck. It also means they’re easier to move into place for easier installation.

Easy to Install

When you’re building a ground level deck, you’ll likely want the construction to go as quickly as possible, so you can enjoy your deck faster. Aspire Pavers can be installed in less than 40% of the time it takes to install traditional concrete pavers. Our patented installation grids allow you to quickly create beautiful patterns, and our pavers can be cut using common household tools.

Allow for Proper Drainage

Standing water can degrade a deck’s surface and frame, but Aspire permeable pavers help to facilitate proper drainage and keep the surface as dry as possible.


Highly durable, our products won’t stain, fade, crack, or chip like other materials.


Made from up to 95% post-consumer recycled plastics and tire rubber, our pavers help divert materials from landfills and are recyclable.

Contact the experts at Aspire today to see how our products can help you build a ground level deck and enhance your outdoor experience.