Is there anything out there like a small pre-made deck I can buy?
November 29, 2013 6:51 AM   Subscribe

Basically I have a very tiny tiny yard behind my place. It gets no sun and there's green carpet there now. One of my thoughts was to make a little 3x3 or so deck to put a couple of chairs on it. But rather than have someone build it, I was wondering if there's anything like a little pre-made, pre-treated deck - like shipping pallets or something only not awful - that anyone sells. It'll save me sawing off a finger or hiring a handyman or filling out permits. And I'd rather not do way too much for something so little.
posted by rileyray3000 to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Home Depot has premade/treated square-foot deck squares that click together, 9 of those would give you a 3x3 deck. You'd just have to prepare the base for it to sit on.
posted by headnsouth at 7:06 AM on November 29, 2013

You might want to get a yard stick and look to see what 3'x3' actually looks like. Think "one chair" probably, not "a couple of chairs". I mean you could probably fit 2 small chairs in a 3x3 square but it would be pretty... intimate.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:29 AM on November 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you're talking about a pre-existing structure that you can just slap down. . . I don't think so. Those things get really heavy, really fast. Treated lumber, which you'd need to use if this thing is outside, runs about 2 pounds per linear foot in the 2x4 factor. A 3x3 deck would be 27 linear feet (or thereabouts) plus another 15 or so for a border, so you're looking at a minimum of 85 pounds for just a 3x3 deck.

Here's the thing though: 3x3 isn't big enough for a couple of chairs. One, maybe. Even a standard plastic lawn chair is going to take up the better part of 3x3 once you stick an actual person in it. For a pair of chairs, you're really looking at something more like 4x6 or even 4x8 for real comfort. Now we're talking something that could easily weigh a couple hundred pounds, and given its size would be an enormous PITA to transport and install.

But if you're talking about something you can slap together with a minimum of fuss and no tools beyond a shovel and a hammer, then definitely. Your local big-box hardware store will have several options, likely including brick, stone, wood, plastic, and concrete. You could probably run out to the store, get your supplies, and install the thing in a single day, if you put your back into it.
posted by valkyryn at 7:34 AM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

You won't need a permit for this. The problem with a very small deck is it needs a place to sit that is level and then it's a small step up which means you'll be falling off your deck a lot if it's too small.

If you want to make a deck with wood and nails, make it using standard lengths, say 8' long 2x4. Look up simple deck building and plan to screw it all together with deck screws.

On the other hand, what might serve you better is paving stones set into the grass. Get a bag of gravel, a bag of sand. Set your stone on the ground and make an outline with a trowel or garden knife. Cut away the sod, put down a layer of gravel, then sand, then your stone. Rent a tamper to use to pack it down, then move on to the next. Or, just jump up and down on it. It'll settle eventually.
posted by amanda at 7:39 AM on November 29, 2013 [3 favorites]

Are you comfortable with concrete? I'd take the pouring route. Nothing is going to grow there, anyway.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:27 AM on November 29, 2013

If your back yard is that tiny you may not legally be able to build a deck. Depending on the code where you live structures need to be set back x-feet from the property line. I would suggest first getting familiar with the code by contacting your city or county government's building permit office.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:29 AM on November 29, 2013

The Ikea deck tiles are pretty nice, and could be put over gravel, which is less work than pouring concrete, it it's not already there. If you are handy, you could search for pallets of a useful size in good shape, leave some intact, and scavenge wood from others to fill in the decking.

If it's bare ground, make it level-ish 1st, get some landscape fabric or tyvek (ask nicely for what you need on freecycle or look on craigslist, even roofing tar paper would would work) to put down, then gravel. As soon as you want to use a piece of wasteland where nothing grows, weeds will discover how much they like it there.
posted by theora55 at 12:01 PM on November 29, 2013

Here's an entire house (including deck) made out of pallets. You can buy the plans here.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 10:04 AM on November 30, 2013

Yes, pallets might do the trick.
posted by halogen at 11:08 AM on November 30, 2013

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