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Bury a deck?

OK. I have traversed the internet trying to find a solution to this problem, but I can't find anything. Please help before I fall into the fetal position and wet myself.

The wife and I want to build a ground level deck behind our house. The house forms an 'L' shape, with doors on each wall. I nice rectangular deck would fit really nicely between the doors. Here is the hard part: one door is only 3 inches above grade, while the other one is 7 inches high due to the slope of the back yard. I had thought of just doing pavers, but can't due to the height of the taller door. I can't do a deck because of the height of the lower one.

There are a couple of little porches made of wood at each door. They were there when we bought the house, and have remained there since. I peeled off the top of them, and found the beams and joists buried in the ground. They have been there for a long time, but there is no rot that I can find. They have also not heaved at all from frost. (we are in MD)

Can I build a basic ground level deck out of pressure treated lumber, but bury almost all of the structure below grade? How else can I get the top of the decking below 3 inches high?


Re: Bury a deck?

With my limited knowledge of structures and building practices, I would think burying the structure in the ground is a bad idea. Even with pressure treated lumber, having the wood in constant contact with moisture would be bad.

I would suggest a concrete patio. Obviously, this is a completely different look than a deck and maybe not the look you want.

I could also suggest excavating away some of the soil to create the space for your deck structure, but this could lead to water problems around the foundation.

I have no magic answer. I hope other posters have some better answers/solutions.

Re: Bury a deck?

I pretty much agree with eric, but I would suggest thinking about a brick or paver patio set on gravel & sand.
I'm sure The TOH site has some installation instructions. I saw Roger Cook do it on an Ask This Old House program a few weeks ago.
It won't be as cheap as a wood deck though.

Re: Bury a deck?

I would do pavers then make a small "landing" for the taller door out of wood. The landing wouldn't be as big as a full deck, but it wouldn't be as small as a set of stars either. Maybe 4'X4', or so, to leave enough room to open the door on the landing (if the door swings out).

If you bury a deck then I think you are just looking for drainage and rot problems inthe future.

Re: Bury a deck?

You might be able to get a better answer to your problem if you were to upload a photo of the problem.:)

Re: Bury a deck?

You may be able to do what you suggested but by using some of the synthetic deck materials rather than PT wood, plastic doesn't rot. You would have to check the specs on the material.

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