Building a timber patio is one of the most popular DIY projects around. These are cheap, easy and you can use them for anything from a bonfire to seating for friends. Timber decks are popular in the northern hemisphere and have grown in popularity in recent years. Timber decks help create a sense of intimacy with the outdoors by adding space, warmth and comfort to a home. A timber deck can vary depending on its intended use and style but generally a timber deck is made up of solid timbers placed horizontally on top of a supporting structure known as sleepers or joists.
Creating a raised patio is no small project. It requires careful planning and expert execution to create the perfect outdoor entertainment space for your family. Follow these simple instructions, and you’ll be enjoying summer evenings in your new backyard oasis before you know it.
First step: Get a moat of clay, which is a thick layer of soil dug up from the ground around your property.
The first step to building a timber patio is to dig up a moat of clay from around your house. The clay needs to be at least 1m deep, 2m wide and 1m wide. This will act as the foundation for your patio, stopping rainwater and ground moisture from getting in and causing rot.
It’s important that you dig this moat before laying any timbers as if it’s done afterwards it can be difficult and expensive.
Fill a moat with water and have people on the other side who are willing to be splashed.
The next step will be to fill the moat with water. If you’re using a garden hose, make sure that you have someone on the other side of it who’s willing to get splashed. Use a bucket to scoop up water from the moat and throw it at your friend(s).
Place bricks around the edges of the moat to create an embankment.
Bricks are a good choice for the edge of your moat because they’re durable, easy to cut and shape, easy to clean and don’t rot or rust. Plus, bricks can be found at almost any home improvement store, so you won’t have to go on a wild goose chase trying to find them. They’re also cheap.
You’ll need about 40 bricks cut into thirds for every 2 feet (60 cm) of moat length. To do this yourself, use a hacksaw or circular saw fitted with a masonry blade you can also rent these tools from most rental stores if necessary.
Next, position timber posts inside the moat.
Once you have the posts in place, take a step back and look at them. Are they level? Are they straight? Are they in line with one another? If not, slide them until they are. Don’t worry if you can’t get them exact—as long as they aren’t crooked or wonky looking, it should be fine.
Next, measure the distance between each post. The best results will come from installing your timber posts so that there is an equal amount of space between each one (a good rule of thumb is about 1 foot). It’s important to keep this consistent throughout construction so that everything looks neat and tidy when you add things like walls or fences later on.
Make sure the tops of each post align above the top edge of each surrounding brick, so that the timber can expand and contract relative to itself.
It is important that the timber posts are at least as high as the top of your bricks. This way, when the timber expands and contracts with changes in temperature, it can move relative to itself without causing damage to your installation.
To make sure that this happens correctly, you need to make sure that each post is level and plumb (straight up-and-down) before you mark out where they need to go.
Once all of your posts have been laid out and levelled, check again for levelness and plumbness. If any posts aren’t exactly straight up-and-down or level or plumb enough then they will need adjusting until they are perfect.
Secure all posts in place with a thick plank screwed into the ground, called “shearing.”
The shearing plank is what holds the posts in place. It’s a thick board that gets screwed into the ground and should be level and parallel to one another. The posts are secured by this piece, so it’s important that you get it right.
Also called “shear” boards or “deadmen,” this plank needs to be at least 2 x 8 inches long (or larger) and can be made from treated lumber or pressure-treated wood.
Create a scaffold staircase made of railway sleepers, then another one on top.
Once you’ve built the base of your stairs, it’s time to start constructing the scaffold staircase. This is made using railway sleepers (recycled wooden railway track). These are much easier to work with than other types of wood, and are also readily available in most DIY stores.
Railway sleepers can be bought online or from a store, but for DIY projects like this it’s best to buy them in person where you can see what they look like before buying. If you do choose to buy online then make sure the sleepers come with a warranty as well as being compatible with each other so they fit together neatly.
If possible look at both sides of each sleeper before buying them – some will have been treated while others won’t have been treated at all which means that they’ll need different treatments when being laid down in your home.
You’ve got a patio.
Your timber patio is now fully finished and ready for use. From here you can use it for entertaining guests, relaxing with a book or playing games with family. Alternatively, you could use it to sunbathe or even have a barbecue.
Timber is a great material for patios because it’s durable and has a natural look. But if you want to get the most out of your timber patio, make sure you use quality materials. That means buying hardwood or pine instead of softwood, which won’t hold up against water damage and termites as well. You also need to take care with installation processes such as shearing so that your new patio will last for years to come.