Low level pine deck requires no lawn mowing

Country and Coast were contracted to build a low level deck for a client who had purchased a house and land package with no landscaping.

Setting out

Day one involved setting out the piles which will ultimately take the weight of the deck and it’s occupants. It was essential to ensure the height of the finished deck matched the bottom of the ranch sliders creating a seamless flow from inside. The decking timber will have gaps between the boards allowing water to drain away. Therefore we are allowed to build it up to the same height as the inside floor level.

Taking the time at the start of a job to set out correctly helps ensure the work is done right. As this was a smaller job the apprentice had the honour of digging the holes for the piles. The holes for ordinary piles have to be be at least 200mm deep (good practice is to go 300mm or more) allowing for 100mm of concrete underneath the pile which helps support the finished weight.

Country and Coast Construction Wellington
Setting the piles


After set-out was complete it was time to frame up the deck and planter box. The piles are braced level and in position ready to be concreted in place.

With the deck being so close to the ground it had to be framed slightly differently by attaching the joists to the bearers using joist hangers. As the framing timber was within 150mm of the ground H4 framing timber has to be used. All joists are set to create uniform screw lines on the finished deck. Again, correct setting out and planning of the deck framing ensures that the nails and screws on the finished product all line up.

Dwangs (or nogs) are short timbers installed between the joists to help brace the deck and keep the joist solid and straight.

Country and Coast Construction Wellington
All framed up

Installing the decking

On goes the 140mm wide smooth pine decking. Pine decking is a cost effective and popular alternative to hardwood decking. The decking is laid perpendicular to the joists. Over-hanging the decking boards allows for quicker installation and you can cut a nice straight line once everything is in place.

The decking is then screwed off with stainless steel decking screws (or nails). To ensure nice straight screw lines it is important to mark your lines across the deck as best as possible using a long straight edge or light chalk line. Screws are installed into the joists, 2 per board per joist and about 20mm in from the edge. Best practice is to pre-drill your screw holes to avoid splitting the timber (although with pine decking this isn’t a requirement).

CMCC Builders Wellington
Decking nearly finished

Finished result

A private area where the family can relax outside without the maintenance a lawn or garden requires. Using a ‘picture frame’ board around a deck provides a nice finish to the edge. The planter box allows the owners to plant small shrubs or trees to soften the look of the timber fence.

Country and Coast Construction Wellington
The finished low level deck

A low level deck adds to your property’s landscaping and usually doesn’t require a building consent. For more detailed information on designing a deck check out:

If you would like to find out more information on how to build a deck or other outdoor projects we have done then head over to the contact us page and flick us a message