Wood Pallet Backyard Deck

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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

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

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

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!

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    35 Discussions

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    64Anthonyp

    4 years ago

    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.

    2014 7:17 am.jpg2014 7:17 am.jpg2014 7:17 am.jpg2014 7:17 am.jpg
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    pamala.leonard

    4 years ago on Step 4

    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!

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    dls3016pamala.leonard

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I'm a 60 year old grandmother HAPPY to have come across your instructable. I'll be creating our own pallet wood deck this spring and I'll be using your suggestions.

    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.

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    anoukaimee

    7 weeks ago

    Re concerns about ground contact: I read somewhere about someone doing this and painting the bottom of the pallets with asphalt. Wondering if anyone has tried that, or has any idea if that would work? I'm trying to do something like this on a budget (rent, broke, and needs to be totally removable).

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    AnnA115

    2 months ago on Introduction

    Looks great to me. As a single mother I did things like that.
    Its a great idea.

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    Dre'aW

    Question 11 months ago on Step 3

    Hello I have questions about filling in the pallets. Where did you get the wood to fill in the spaces? Ty

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    Desjen

    2 years ago

    I love it

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    PaulH121

    3 years ago

    Awesome! Going to have to try this.

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    jealousmoon

    4 years ago on Introduction

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

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    AceA

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful work. Wonderful way to upcycle.

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    fixfireleo

    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    _diyMATTfixfireleo

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    _diyMATT_diyMATT

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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. http://columbuscook.com/

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    stoobersfixfireleo

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    "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.

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    Leopardstripes

    4 years ago on Step 3

    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! :)