Introduction: Build a Backyard Dock

Our backyard dock was created one sunny Saturday and was finished that afternoon. Though we were unhampered by water (our creek runs dry during summer), it is still a very easy project to make. Before we begin, I'd like to shout out to ArduinoPi, isaac887smith, troyjosiah27, and my other siblings. Thanks for working on this project together and getting cool results.


You will need:

  • Lots and lots and LOTS of sticks
  • At least four thick, sturdy logs
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Saw

Step 1: Putting Logs in Place

The logs are the foundation of your dock. If they are insecure or not sturdy enough, your dock will collapse almost instantly. Make sure your logs selected are at least four inches thick and are not flaking in any areas - a sign of rot. Once you've selected four of these, dig a hole (about one foot deep) and place the bottom of the log inside. Make sure the top of the log is always flat. Then, fill in the hole with dirt and compact it. Test the log by standing on it to see if it wiggles or wobbles. If it does at all, pack the dirt in more. Move on to the next step.

Step 2: Supports

To help you lay the surface of the dock on, you'll need two long sticks. Make sure they are straight and can be securely nailed to the foundation logs. Hammer these in, making sure at least a foot juts out onto dry land. Dig a shallow trench there, and pack the land end of the support into the ground. Nail the supports (there will be two) into the base logs, making sure that they don't bend or flake anywhere.

Step 3: Sticks, Sticks and More Sticks

The top of your dock will be coated with tons of sticks - you need somewhere to stand, right? Only one inch or so should be allowed between sticks, so that people walking on the dock don't trip and faceplant into a rushing creek. Nail them down securely. If any bend at all, nail a strong stick next to it to take most of the burden of people's weight. If any jut out at all, it's okay. You'll do those in the next step.

Step 4: Sawing the Edges

For the sticks that jut out, you can either leave it that way or try to make it look neat. Taking your saw, saw off the ends of all the sticks, leaving about an inch of space from the edge of the supports. Be careful not to break any of the sticks, as they are hard to pry up and replace once they are nailed in. Bending nails is also something to be wary of - especially if you have a limited supply.

Step 5: You're Finished...

Congratulations, your dock is done! Test it out by standing in various positions to make sure the sticks don't break. If any do, pry them up, save the nails, and get a new stick - preferably a stronger one. As always, check for any signs of rot on the sticks you use.

Step 6: Build Another One

We had such a great time completing our first dock that we decided to build another one - the very next day! Our second dock was stationed with a little more thought in mind - in a deeper part of the creek. Water level is another thing to consider, as a dock won't look too cool if the water only goes up two inches.

Hand Tools Only Challenge

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Challenge