Introduction: Wood Pallet Backyard Deck

Picture of Wood Pallet Backyard Deck

Many years ago, my kids and I cleared out the storage container that my company had for many years. About 10 years earlier, one of our staff left the company and all of his boxes of documents were put in storage. 2x4s had been used to make rudimentary shelving for the boxes to sit on.

After we cleared the boxes out of the storage container and took them to the dump, we loaded up a huge pile of 2x4s into the rented truck. When we got home, we removed the nails and stacked the 2x4s in the back of my garage.

So, one day, I got this brilliant idea to build a deck in the back yard. The first step was to gather pallets. Then, the task at hand was to figure out how to take the random sized pallets we had collected and arrange them into a rectangle that would fit in the space we had available. This took way longer than it should have!

Step 1: The Platform

Picture of The Platform

The deck was going to be located in a fairly level part of the back yard, so I didn't bother moving around any dirt.

Weed cloth was laid down, 1'x1' pavers were placed at each corner of the deck and at the junction of where pallet corners would land, then we arranged the pallets on top. Leftover drywall screws were used to fasten the pallets to each other and scrap lumber was used to fill in the gaps between pallets. We shored up the places where things weren't quite sitting level on the pavers using rocks and scrap bricks.

2x4s were used to made a frame around the platform to further tie the pallets together and make the edge look sort of finished. Since the 2x4s were 8' long, we had to piece together along the edges.

The resulting platform was roughly 8-1/2' by 12'.

Step 2: Adding the Deck Boards

Picture of Adding the Deck Boards

Definitely time to bring in an easy-up canopy!

Then it was time to put 2x4s on top of the platform. We started at the front edge and placed the first boards so they hung over the front edge by about 1/4", and at each end by about 1"-2". Once again, drywall screws were used to fasten the 2x4s to the platform. As more boards were added, the seams where 2x4s butted together were placed so they landed on top of pallet wood and were staggared, using leftover pieces from previous rows to make sure the seams looked random. The ends of the boards ended up hanging over the edge of the deck by various amounts.

After all of the deck boards were fastened down, we trimmed the edges to within 1" of the frame underneath.

Step 3:

Step 4: Finishing the Deck

Picture of Finishing the Deck

The final steps were to apply a generous coat of waterproofing and add deck chairs.

In the end, I spent less than $100 on the project: a second box of drywall screws, four or five 2x4s and a gallon of waterproofing.

And, as you can see, our next project was a Zen garden. Hope you enjoyed this Instructable!


Desjen (author)2016-08-02

I love it

PaulH121 (author)2016-04-02

Awesome! Going to have to try this.

bgraham7 (author)2014-09-07

Why is it that shotty craftsmanship is now just another name for DIY...

AnnabellaMarie (author)bgraham72015-11-16

Rude. And what is "shotty"? Did you mean "shoddy"?

pstout-newman (author)bgraham72014-09-13

Because not all of us can be craftsman? I think this is awesome and you should learn "If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all."

sgoeders (author)bgraham72014-09-07

This is why you are you and he/she is who they are!! I think it looks nice! MAYBE bgraham7 has enough money to pay for the "contractor to do this for him or he is just "lazy" ;)

slackpat (author)bgraham72014-09-07
Definition of SHODDY

a: a reclaimed wool from materials that are not felted that is of better quality and longer staple than mungo b: a fabric often of inferior quality manufactured wholly or partly from reclaimed wool


a: inferior, imitative, or pretentious articles or matter b: pretentious vulgarity

jealousmoon (author)2015-04-16

I have made something similar but put cinder blocks under each corner of each pallet. This will help with any rotting.

pamala.leonard (author)2014-09-13

OK, this deck will not last forever, but it looks and works great. And anyway, what do you expect from a 57 year old grandmother? Seriously, though, I really enjoy using what is at hand when I create things. It makes it much more challenging and fun. Keep creating!

I like it!!! I plan to do something similar and was searching for others who had done the same to get some tips. No, it wont last forever, but it will last a good long while and you can't beat the price. I wish I could afford "craftsmanship" but I can't and I'm not interested enough to become a craftsman at something just to build an item I am using for functionality. :) ... Again, I think you did a great job.

AceA (author)2014-12-03

Beautiful work. Wonderful way to upcycle.

sabu.dawdy (author)2014-11-05

such a beautyyyy

64Anthonyp (author)2014-10-04

You inspired me so much...I went and built one myself. 10 pallets in an ugly part of the back yard in front of an old grey tin shed and around a nectarine tree. Mine is not as well finished as yours. I filled the gaps in the pallet timbers. Before during and after shots attached. The waterproof outdoor cushions made from recycled cushions is my next instruct able. Photo taken on a rare rainy day in Perth Western Australia.

Gorgeous! Great creativity.

fixfireleo (author)2014-09-07

great idea. now that i've read some feedback about the wood rotting, i have a question. i live in ohio. i would like to have a deck but dont want to bother with the foundation. if i use treated lumber instead of pallets, can i use this same idea to build a small deck outside off my concrete porch? would it last? could i possible put a hottub on it? ( i would use 4x4s for frame and maybe 2x6s for planks and the paver stones not only on corners but on joist intersections as well?) thanks.

_diyMATT (author)fixfireleo2014-09-08

If you are going to go through that much effort just dig the holes, use some concrete to make footers and do it proper. Putting wood on the ground is never going to last long or be level or not settle into the dirt and move all over the place.

_diyMATT (author)_diyMATT2014-09-08

Hah, I only think I am handy. I have no actual proof. :p

I am not a restaurant chef, I'm a home cook. Check me out here in all the glory of my 6 posts.

fixfireleo (author)_diyMATT2014-09-08

uuugh. i'm so not handy. what restaurant do you work at? i live in columbus also.

stoobers (author)fixfireleo2014-09-08

"dont want to bother with the foundation"

My comment on that is: "don't bother building a deck"

No foundation=bad.

HOWEVER, you can tamp the soil and make the foundation out of pressure treated lumber, so you have plenty of options, which you may already realize.

Using paver stones on corners and joist intersections IS a foundation. Just beat the soil down under the footings with a sledge hammer and tamper tool.

Don't put untreated wood in contact with horizontal concrete, brick, steel or soil. You can't put normal wood up against a concrete porch, as it won't last. But you can cut a piece of pressure treated wood to the shape of the end of the post, oriented horizontal to the ground, then soak the end of the post in poison, and slip the poisoned horizontal piece under the post.

Leopardstripes (author)2014-09-08

This is really cool- thanks for sharing it! I work at a tractor shop, so we get ALL kinds of pallets and shipping crates. This gives me some great ideas! :)

craig0119 (author)2014-09-08

so... step 4 is missing?

PattiGarb (author)2014-09-07

I love this project. the end result is quite lovely and your garden is beautiful. Thx for sharing. Might even motivate me to try it myself.

wonderbrett (author)2014-09-07


puggirl415 (author)2014-09-07

Although rotting is a concern, as a way to upcycle this material instead of putting it in landfill I applaud you. Also if this rots beyond what you desire perhaps you can chip it and use it as mulch if you haven't treated it with something toxic. Just saying to you naysayers.

katerlyn (author)2014-09-07

I really like it, thank you for sharing. I have seen others online that finished the actual pallets, too and it also looked nice. I see now some comments below...I think the other one I saw used blocks underneath? Google time!

JimTheSoundman (author)2014-09-07

I agree with Eric. You will be lucky to get a couple years use out of that, whitewood outdoors will disintegrate pretty fast, especially the pallets underneath that will get wet, and stay wet, since there is not much air circulation or sun to dry them out. I'd guess the lifespan will be measured in months not years. For anything outdoors you have to use pressure treated lumber. But at least it was cheap.

wildmanpete (author)2014-09-03

Would the pallets be prone to rotting or not really a big concern?

victorvector (author)wildmanpete2014-09-07

Yep , it does rot easily.

You can treat it using Copper Napthenate , beekeepers use it to preserve pine hive boxes.

fzumrk (author)wildmanpete2014-09-03

That would be my biggest concern as well. If this is in an area with a warm, dry climate, it may not be too big of a deal. If someone wants to try this in a wetter climate, I would suggest spraying down the pallets and and all sides of the 2x4s with water repellant before assembling. Treating the cut ends of the 2x4s with water repellant will also help greatly as most of the moisture is absorbed through the end grain. This should make it last a little longer.

Tampaguy (author)2014-09-07

Beautiful job, and most creative. I'm getting some fresh ideas about MY back yard. THANKS!

eric.luschen.9 (author)2014-09-05

Thats nice I did that about 15 years ago with 4ft 2x4 i got from work But it only lasted about 10 years...even painting them they still rotted away. you need pressure treated wood

666sebas999 (author)2014-09-03

Awesome! what about layer of varnish for perhaps nicer finish and water repellent.

domenic3 (author)2014-09-03

nice use of pallets

seamster (author)2014-09-03

Such a simple idea! Very nice.

Akin Yildiz (author)2014-09-02

you have an incredible backyard sir. my dream...

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