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The Best Budget Friendly Backyard Deck Ideas

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa December 22, 2022

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a DIY floating deck with a pergola and a vertical garden climing up the privacy fence
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A deck is a great addition to a backyard. Not only will it increase your home value, but it can encourage outdoor living and increase your living space exponentially.

Traditional decks are generally made from wood or composite decking, which is a manufactured combination of natural wood and plastic. There are pros and cons to both materials and your preferences will probably come down to personal preferences, budget and desired level of maintenance.

In this article we will discuss some ideas on a budget to update your deck, the most common types of decks as well as some alternative decking options.

First, let's delve in deeper to some easy backyard deck ideas on a budget - many can be great DIY projects you could tackle on a weekend.

backyard deck ideas on a budget a simple deck with a dining table and chairs
Arkansas Tilly plan

Upkeep Ideas on a Budget

If you have an existing deck, there are some things you can do to help save money in the long run and things you can do to give your deck a refresh!

Replace Certain Deck Boards

Wooden decks can last a long time, especially if you keep an eye on them. There are some things you can watch for to know if it's time to repair a portion of your deck and then you can replace just that one section if you catch rot or damage early enough.

Things to check for include soft spots in your deck. This may mean that the wood is rotten.

Watch for loose floorboards. This fix could be as simple as tightening nails.

Keep a close eye on your railing and posts. Railings are an important feature in keeping your backyard deck safe.

Watch for insect damage as well and take care of any preventable issues before they get out of hand.

a simple backyard deck on concrete blocks with a vegetable garden next to the stairs and a pergola overhead
Deck with built in planters

Power Wash Your Deck

Power washing is a very satisfying way to give backyard decks a quick clean up! Check the optimal pressure for the type of deck you have. For example, soft woods like cedar or pine, are generally recommended to power wash at about 500 to 600 psi. For harder woods, it can go up to 1200 to 1500 psi.

You can generally rent a power washer at a local hardware store or big box store.

backyard deck ideas, add a reclaimed wood side yard deck with adirondeck chairs and landscaping
Simple side yard deck

Surround Your Deck with a Garden

Give your whole outdoor area a new look by updating the landscape design around a deck. The right landscaping can transform an outdoor space. Not only will good landscaping look beautiful, but it can improve your property value and encourage you to use your outdoor space more frequently.

a 150 square foot elevated simple backyard deck
Raised deck in a small backyard

Paint Your Deck

Fresh paint can make a huge difference on a deck. Whether you update chipping paint or sand and start fresh, paint and color can truly transform the look and feel of a simple backyard deck.

a hot tub with concrete pavers, a white privacy fence along evergreens and small garden
Maine Tilly plan

Decor Ideas

Interior Design Your Deck space

Think of your deck as an outdoor living space and decorate it accordingly. Add some throw pillows and hanging planters for a pop of color. Use string lights overhead to keep the gathering going past when the sun sets.

traditional decks with outdoor furniture and throw pillows on a built in banquet bench
California Tilly plan

Provide Shade

Shade is important for any space you are using frequently. This can be as basic as setting up a great umbrella or you can come up with more creative ideas like adding a shade sail over a small deck or grill area. Set up a pergola with overhead beams that provide screening or side curtains you can draw to keep the setting sun out of your eyes.

A shade sail above an above ground pool
Nebraska Tilly plan with a shade sail over an above ground pool

Add an Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs can make a statement and/or make a small backyard deck seem super cozy. An outdoor rug can also delineate how you want a space to be used by showing lounge areas, pathways and setting boundaries. They are great on a small deck where there's limited room.

a pergola is the best idea to block the sun on this patio
Minnesota Tilly plan

Backyard Fire Pit

backyard fire pit is a fun feature the whole family could use. This can be as simple as a DIY portable pit from the local hardware store to a more elaborate option like a propane fire pit table.

a backyard patio idea
Wood deck with a stone patio

Update your Lighting

Landscape lighting plays a big role in the feel of your outdoor space. The right lighting will highlight features (hardscapeand softscape) and well as set the mood. It's also a critical part of making your yard safe. Lighting should be placed on stairways, pathways, or by entrances and exits.

backyard patio ideas, wood pallets with a pergola for this covered deck
California Tilly plan

Refresh your Surrounding Fence

Sometimes a privacy fence is a forgettable feature and blends in with the surroundings. Other times it can add to the look and feel of your design. A fantastic horizontal slat fence can be the perfect touch of modern. Or a decorative lattice fence may be the perfect compliment to an English garden.

backyard deck ideas on a budget, a small covered deck in a small backyard
Washington Tilly plan

Things to Consider Before Your Update Your Deck

Before you start working on your deck there are a few things to consider.

Size & Scale

First, if you are building a new deck you will want to carefully think about what size fits into your space. Size and scale are as critical to your outdoors as they are to your indoors.

Layout of Features

You will also want to think about the layout of the features of your backyard, including where the deck should be. Think about who is using the deck and what the optimal placement is. Should it be right off the kitchen for easy use? Or do you have a nice patio there and a floating deck in a back corner is the perfect spot for a new living space.

Materials & Budget

Consider the specific materials you will use carefully. The materials that work best for you will depend on your climate, budget and your considerations around upkeep. When it comes to budget we love DIY projects, which is a great way to cut back on costs - and feel the reward of building something yourself.

Building Permit

Lastly, you'll want to do some research and find out if you need a permit to build or update your deck before you get started.

Types of Decks

There are a few different types options you can consider. All have pros and cons and will depend on your property, needs and budget.

Tiered

Multi level decks are a great idea if you have a sloped yard or if you live in a bilevel home with the kitchen and/or living room on the second floor. This is often not the most budget friendly option because it will involve a staircase, but it is a great way to add entertaining areas.

elevated deck
Virginia Tilly plan

Detached or Floating Decks

A floating deck is a free standing deck, almost like an island, placed somewhere on your property, but not connected to your house. A floating deck can be used to create a designated additional living space - whether it's a fire table nook, a separate dining area, or a lounge area to truly create a backyard oasis.

With this option you'll want to make sure you add landscaping so it has a purpose and seamlessly fits into your yard.

small deck inspiration, a DIY floating deck with a pergola and a vertical garden climing up the privacy fence
Floating deck with paver walkway

Wraparound

A wraparound deck will fold around at least two sides of your house. This can be an extremely functional type of deck depending on your property. Often times a deck entry may be on the side of the house and then it can wraparound to the backyard.

The key to this type of deck is to maximize its layout with a good design.

deck
California Tilly plan

Rooftop

An all time favorite - a rooftop deck can be on top of a house, garage or another structure and will often offer a nice view. With this option you'll need to invest in safety features as they are not ground level. All railings, stairs and access points will need to be checked frequently.

tiered deck with a privacy wall
Custom deck around a plunge pool

Alternatives to a Backyard Deck

If you're not ready to spring for a backyard deck, you've got some other options. Some of our favorites include:

Brick Patio

A simple brick patio is something you can DIY yourself. It's easy, doesn't have to be expensive and is great for a small backyard.

Concrete Patio

Poured concrete is one of the most inexpensive patio options. A simple concrete patio is a good option and you can spruce it up with the right outdoor furniture, planters and decor.

Gravel Patio

Gravel is inexpensive and low maintenance, beyond having to sweep debris and occasionally rake gravel back into place. A gravel patio is very common in Southwestern and modern landscaping and has a beautiful polished feel. You can add concrete pavers for some uniqueness and personality.

Wood Chips

Wood chips can be another budget friendly idea, however they can be messy so may not be ideal for a frequently used area. However, if you have a quiet lounge area off the side of the home or corner garden nook, they can be a nice soft option for destination outdoor space.

deck ideas for backyards .cheapest deck ideas, basic with one step down to the lawn and a privacy fence to the side
Washington Tilly plan

More about Tilly

Tilly’s easy online landscape design process has been embraced by homeowners across the country and in Canada. Tilly designs front yards, backyard or your entire property. We match you with a professional landscape designer who is familiar with your region.

To start our process you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your property that helps our design team understand your goals, needs and existing landscape. You can add 3d renders, lighting plans or side yards to your design package. You’ll then connect with your designer on a video call to meet them, show them your space and talk about your priorities.

Tilly's design plans include hardscape layout for decks, patios, driveways, pools, and more as well as softscape features such as trees, shrubs and flowers.

When you receive your design you will be able to purchase your plants at a discounted rate through our team of plant experts and have them delivered directly to your curb. Tilly can also provide recommendations of local installers who can help you complete your landscape project.

We can’t wait to help you tackle your next yard project!

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