Floating deck or stone pavers/rock?

by Jimmy


We have been trying to decide to put in a wood deck which is very expensive. Other options are stone pavers or rock.

The house has two sliding doors out to the back yard to two separate concrete pads. in between is a large area of dirt, which turns to mud when it rains. Needless to say it is a mess when you have dogs :)

Won't cut the trees down but would ike the whole area between the concrete pads and up to a few feet past the end of the pads covered with something.

Anybody have a similar situation that they fixed? What would you do?


Backyard needs a patio or something!?

  9 answers
  • Bijous Bijous on Sep 22, 2018

    Hi! Put down a border and then use decomposed granite in between the two patios. Make sure to get the decomposed granite that will pack down. This material is used all over for park walkways and even beautiful Rice University now uses it everywhere because it's so cost effective (one ton is around $100 USD). Happy DIY'ing!

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Sep 27, 2018

      That is a good option that I'm still thinking about doing. Problem is that I want the deck/covered area to extend out past the end of the patios to cover up more dirt and of course it would have to go around the oak tress. I'm a little concerned putting down a material that may cut off air/water to the trees.

  • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Sep 22, 2018

    Jimmy, decks are wonderful because you walk out level with the threshold of your house essentially making an outdoor room. To build them properly, however, they are expensive. I prefer one deck across the entire back of the house covering both concrete pads. If you build yourself and purchase culled lumber and shop at building supply salvage yards, you can build it for about a quarter of the cost that a contractor would charge. This is what we did.

    Some considerations: a properly constructed and maintained deck adds living space and value to your home.

    It adds curb appeal. It increases comfort for resident and guests. We use our outdoor living spaces SO MUCH that the cost is worth every penny. I also cook outside year round, even in a cold climate, and this keeps mess and smells out of the interior of my house.

    • See 1 previous
    • Laura Cooper Laura Cooper on Sep 27, 2018

      We used pier blocks dug down into the dirt and a small piece of 4x4 to attach the deck framing to. It is extremely stable

  • Kami Kami on Sep 22, 2018

    Hello! I live in MN with 5 fur kids we had the same issue. Our problem area was almost the entire length of the back of house. A deck was$$$ plus if the weather was bad a few of the dogs would do their business on it! So we went with pavers on part and really good quality fake grass on part. I can wash all of it off with an enzyme cleaner. I will say that I thought it would be way cheaper than a deck, it was but not as much as I hoped. We did the work ourselves that was hard! So we kinda wish we went with a deck for part and the fake grass for part. I am happy that the mud issue is no more! Cheers!!

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Sep 27, 2018

      Hi MN,

      Yes the mud is a big pain ... especially with my dogs. One Great Pyrenesse, Golden Retreiver and two schnauzers.. lol. I have to keep a hose on the patio to wash their feet and sometimes bodies off before they come in :) I'm leaning toward a deck too.. just have to figure out how to build for my situation. WIll be over the two concrete pads, and extend out past some of the oak trees.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Sep 22, 2018

    Yes, build the deck. It’s not expensive if you build it yourselves. Yes, it adds value to your home. Build it at least 12’ deep so that you can later put a pop-up or lightweight patio gazebo with screens for bug-free backyard use.

    Pavers & gravel, stone require weed cloth or spraying with herbicides and that’s not good for the dogs.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Sep 27, 2018

      HI Cheryl,

      Yes.. .think your right, and I plan on the deck extend out past the end of the concrete pads. It is going to be a pretty large deck... :)

  • William William on Sep 22, 2018

    Floating deck. With the trees digging out for pavers you would be hitting roots that would need to be addressed or trees removed. Also any future roots would affect the pavers. Both are about the same cost. Do the work yourself. Lot of online resources for laying pavers and deck construction.

    • Jimmy Jimmy on Sep 27, 2018

      Hi WIlliam,

      Yes... I agree,that is the reason I will probably go with a deck. The Oak trees are beautiful and I won't hurt or cut anyone of them down. So floating deck is probably the way I'm going to go. Juts have to figure out how to put the deck on top of the two concrete pads and then use concrete deck blocks for the dirt part. Don't think I need concrete pillars dug into the ground.. any suggestions on a good site for instructions on how to plan and build a deck?

  • Darla Brown Darla Brown on Sep 27, 2018

    Bricks..with a good drainage system.of rocks and rain gutters to move the water away frfrom there..there are videos on line about this.....maybe stacked double height..first layer for the mud and water ( you will need to measure the depth of the puddle next time it rains ..i know sounds nuts right but you have to know how deep to dig down) second layer above..you can find used bricks for cheap if you do research and u dont want them new anyway since u have brick outside and want them to blend in...make sure you coat the sides of the bicks at your house that these will butt up against with a water sealant so the rain doesnt seep into your basement if u have on or if u dont still coat them to protect your foundation.no matter what you put there u should do this step standing water is your homes worst enemy...mold errosion of the soil siding wood etc....protect your home...

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Sep 27, 2018

    Go to the City Building Dept and they will have their deck-building design & construction requirements in a flyer or a hand-out.

    This will show you at which thresholds you need to put in concrete footings/piers, spacing of the structural framing members, fasteners, guardrails & more.

    As mentioned, this is what the City mandates and it’s based on the International Residential Code, as this needs to be built to Code, for three reasons.

    Or you can go buy a Sunset book on designing & building decks, which have a very big disclaimer stating that one must meet local and state Building Codes.

    Re: the concrete pads: cut them with a rented concrete saw at least 24”x24” and excavate for the concrete pad footings.

    In your design process, consider extending the 4x4 corner posts of the guardrail up 8’ and install eye bolts for attached a “shade sail”.

  • Rynn Rynn on Sep 27, 2018

    Crazy idea. What if you left the concrete pads on each side, and built the deck in the middle. 1- the building project would be less expensive because it is smaller /less materials, 2- it could completed quicker, 3- your pads appear to be in good shape and could be painted and decorated to blend with the new deck. Place a grill on one of the pads and use the deck for seating. I think it could be a lovely solution . Best wishes. PS: please share photos of your finished project!