20 Creative Outdoor Deck Design Ideas

Build your dream deck with one of these free plans

dream deck

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto 

If you're looking to build a deck or upgrade your existing deck, current deck designs can inspire you to build the deck of your dreams. Online are many free deck plans with lists of materials and tools and step-by-step instructions. Take a look at what it takes to build a deck, including plans, photos, videos, illustrations, as well as 3D deck plan development tools.

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Watch Now: How to Build a Floating Deck

  • 01 of 20

    Wood or Composite (Lowe's)

    A deck built off a back door.

    Lowe's

    Lowe's has a great free deck plan that includes a tools and materials list, tips on designing and laying out the deck, as well as step-by-step instructions that will take you through every step to build the deck, stairs, and railing. If you feel like getting more creative, Lowe's Deck Designer is a great way to create plans for your own custom deck. This deck can work for any outdoor space, including plans for attached and freestanding decks.

  • 02 of 20

    Floating Deck (Rogue Engineer)

    A floating deck built off a backdoor.

    Rogue Engineer

    Here's a free plan for a floating deck from Rogue Engineer. Since it doesn't need to be attached to a house, you can build it literally anywhere you want. There's a required tool list, materials list, color photos, and written instructions.

  • 03 of 20

    Floating Deck (Family Handyman)

    Floating deck

    The Spruce

    The Family Handyman has a free deck plan that will get you a floating oasis in just one weekend. A materials list, cutting list, construction drawings, step-by-step directions, color photos, and a video can help you complete this project. 

  • 04 of 20

    Freestanding and Attached Deck (Humboldt Redwood)

    A free blueprint for a freestanding deck.

    Humboldt Redwood

    Humboldt Redwood includes plans for a freestanding deck and an attached deck that measures 8 x 10. This free plan comes in a PDF file format with building instructions, diagrams, and blueprints. A freestanding deck can be placed in any part of the yard. This is especially helpful if your state or locality has regulations or taxation implications with attached decks.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20

    Octagonal Floating Deck (How to Specialist)

    A drawing of a floating deck with a table and plants

    How To Specialist

    How To Specialist has a free deck plan for a floating deck in the shape of an octagon as well as a wooden path leading to it from your house. Building a low-lying deck requires a level area. If the area isn't level, you can excavate the area until it is. Excavation is the hardest part of the project. Included in this plan are a materials list, tools list, written directions, diagrams, and tips.

  • 06 of 20

    Floating Deck (DIY Network)

    Home renovation
    lionvision / Getty Images

    DIY Network offers a completely free plan that will help you complete a DIY deck in just a few days. It's a low-standing, floating deck just a few inches off the ground, which can be built in all types of yards. With this free plan, you'll find a tools list, materials list, color photos, step-by-step directions, and a video.

  • 07 of 20

    Pool Deck (Popular Mechanics)

    French country house in Provence
    Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images

    This free deck plan from Popular Mechanics will help you create a spacious 10 x 18 backyard pool deck that your family can enjoy for years. The 10 easy-to-follow steps within this free deck plan will help you gather your tools and materials, frame the floor, set the posts, lay the decking, and build the guardrails.

  • 08 of 20

    Several Types of Decks (Do It Yourself)

    Jetty wood planks
    Tobias Titz / Getty Images

    DoItYourself offers several decks, such as decks that are perfect for entertaining, relaxing on the patio furniture, and grilling out. Check out these plans from DoItYourself includes advice on choosing materials, instructions for preparing, laying out, and building the deck, as well as information on how to build the deck railings. These instructions include tips on how to build on a slope, too.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    Single Level Deck Plan (Handyman Wire)

    Freestanding deck

    David Papazian / Getty Images

    Part one of this free deck plan from Handyman Wire includes a tool and supply list, planning and construction tips, as well as advice on designing and estimating your deck needs. In the second part of this free deck plan, you'll find detailed illustrations and blueprints along with step-by-step instructions to build your new deck. You'll also have the option of asking questions from the experts on the deck plan in the Handyman Wire's forums. These decks can be used on all types of terrains.

  • 10 of 20

    Ground Level Deck Plan (Home Depot)

    How to build a ground level deck

    Home Depot

    Learn how to build a ground-level deck from Home Depot. This tutorial includes a video, materials and tools list, and step-by-step instructions, including building considerations. Home Depot also has a decking tool to help you calculate how much decking material you need for your space.

  • 11 of 20

    Several Types of Decks (Fiberon)

    Fiberon's design-your-own-deck tool

    Fiberon

    Fiberon offers several pre-made deck plans integrated with its free deck designing tool. You can create as many deck designs as you can dream up. You can experiment, modify, and review your custom designs at any time.

  • 12 of 20

    Several Types of Deck Plans (SmartDraw)

    Smart Draw's deck design tool

    Smart Draw

    SmartDraw helps you get started with built-in deck plan templates and examples. You can use them as your starting point for designing a deck around a hot tub or single-level deck or browse through different types of decks for inspiration.

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  • 13 of 20

    Deck With Built-in Benches (Home Stratosphere)

    Deck with benches

    Home Stratosphere

    This deck plan features a wooden deck design with built-in benches for seating and storage. The only downside of this deck plan is that you need a fairly large space so that you have plenty of room for the rest of the deck.

  • 14 of 20

    Platform Deck (Forbes)

    Platform deck

    Forbes

    Within a few days with the help of a few friends, you can turn your bare ground into a beautiful area large enough for entertaining. Whether you have a blank slate or if your current deck or patio has seen better days, building this simple platform deck is easier than you think and can be done in a short amount of time, whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor to build it for you.

  • 15 of 20

    8 x 10 Deck, Pool Deck, and Two-level Deck (Craig Heffernan)

    8 x 10 deck

    Craig Heffernan

    For homeowners and do-it-yourselfers, general contractor Craig Heffernan includes video tutorials, joist and post layouts, and material lists on how to build three kinds of decks: a rectangular deck, pool deck, and two-level deck.

  • 16 of 20

    Freestanding Deck (Dengarden)

    A freestanding deck can be built as a permanent installation or as a temporary deck. A permanent deck requires a foundation and footings. A temporary deck could be disassembled for storage, moving to a new location, or, ideal if you are renting a home. This tutorial includes considerations, materials list, instructions, and sketches.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    12 x 16 Deck (The Barn ToolBox)

    This 12 x 16 new deck construction plan features a deck 8 feet off the ground. It comes from The Barn ToolBox, a non-commercial, educational website that helps people with barn construction and other building projects.

  • 18 of 20

    101 Deck Plans (Decks.com)

    • Decks.com offers free 101 deck plans for low, medium, and high elevation decks, pool decks, and porch decks. Each plan includes framing, front and side elevations, foot layout, material list, 3D rendering, building details, and estimated costs. The plans are free but require an email address.
  • 19 of 20

    Floating Deck (Ugly Duckling House)

    This freestanding deck design by a DIYer at Ugly Duckling House was the culmination of wanting to build a deck with a natural flow from the patio door to the deck, from the deck to the fire pit, and so on. The intent: an open, entertaining feel, while giving each area a separate zones.

  • 20 of 20

    Project Checklist (TimberTech)

    A rendering of a deck.
    Timber Tech

    TimberTech is a decking materials company that offers several templates and a deck designing tool for developing your deck design plan in three dimensions. TimberTech also offers a helpful project checklist, including considerations to keep in mind when planning out your project, such as developing a timeline, types of materials to use, the number of levels for your deck, stairs, and much more.

If you're ready to tackle another project, take a look at more free, woodworking plans on how to build raised planters, sheds, pergolas, porch swings, gazebos, chicken coops, and even cabins.