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How To Build a Floating Wood Deck and Pergola

A floating deck and wood pergola add both function and architectural detail to an outdoor space.

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  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $2,500 - $5,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Prepare the Area

Start by measuring out the design and marking that onto the ground with marking paint. Using your marked out design, then prep the area, digging down 3 feet for the footings. Put the sonatube in the ground and pour concrete into the sonatubes. Let them dry overnight and set the deck support posts on top of them.

Step 2: Install the Frame and Joists

Build the frame, and then hang your joists with the crowns up, nail them into the frame, and then install joist hangers for extra strength. As you work, keep checking to make sure everything is level. Joists are usually sold with a slight curve along one of the thinner edges. This "crown" gives the joist extra strength for the decking and weight to come.

Step 3: Add the Deck Boards

Once the supporting frame is in place, begin adding the deck boards. For this demonstration, 5-1/4" x 6" pressure-treated decking boards were set flush against each other. The boards will shrink, leaving a small space for water drainage.

Step 4: Add the Pergola Beams

With the decking in place, the pergola beams go up. The ends of the beams are notched for a clean look and tight fit. With the pergola done, put a grill on the deck, fire it up, and invite guests.