How to Build a Deck Around a Tree: Our Best Designs and Tips

build a deck around a treeTrees are a beautiful part of many backyards. However, they can make it difficult to enjoy your outdoor space, especially if they are close to your home. We have some good news: you actually don’t have to remove your favorite tree in order to build a beautiful backyard deck. When you work with a custom designer like Structurally Speaking, you can build a deck around a tree in a way that works with the natural landscape. Here are our best tips for decks around trees.

Build a Deck Around a Tree: It Starts with Proper Planning

Your new deck starts with proper planning. We see so many homeowners jump into a DIY deck project without giving thought to what will actually work well for their home and yard. This often results in boring decks that look like they are tacked onto your home, rather than a deck that flows with your home. It can also mean that your deck isn’t built to last, and it may not be super functional for your family.

Instead, build a custom deck from an experienced builder in Raleigh, NC: Structurally Speaking! Our team has decades of experience building decks that perfectly suit each individual client. If you have a tree in your backyard, we can easily incorporate it into your deck design.

However, there are a few things to consider:

  • Are you planning any fire features such as a grill, outdoor fireplace, or fire pit? If so, you’ll need to ensure that branches don’t hang over these areas, creating a fire hazard.
  • Insects are often attracted to trees. If you plan to dine on your new deck, you may wish to consider an attached screened-in porch to provide protection.
  • Trees provide natural shade, but do you desire areas of your deck that are in the sun? If so, we’ll think about the position of the sun in relation to your backyard and talk about the times of day you are most likely to want to enjoy your deck.
  • Does the tree lose its leaves in the autumn? Does it have fruits or nuts? If so, you may wish to consider how this debris will affect your deck. Often, rot-resistant woods or composite decking make the most sense.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything to consider when planning your new deck. During your free consultation, we can walk you through the process so you make the best design and material decisions based on what you really want from your deck.

Use the Tree to Create Unique Deck Features

While some deck contractor teams may see a tree as a burden, we actually believe it can lead to some beautiful design features. Here are a few to consider:

  • Using a tree as a post – Depending on the size, maturity, and position of the tree, you may be able to use it as a post for your new deck. For this to work, you need a tree that is strong and healthy.
  • Building seating around a tree – If you want built-in benches, we can help you figure out how to build seat around a tree in a deck.
  • Using a tree for shade – Instead of an awning, roof, pergola, or other kind of protection from the sun, we can design a deck so the tree will provide shade.
  • Adding a swing – If your tree has thick branches at the right height, you can add a small swing for unique deck seating.
  • Designing a deck with maintenance in mind – Your backyard tree will probably shed its leaves in the fall, so you’ll want to build a deck with this in mind. You can leave gaps between the boards so leaves and dirt fall through, or ensure the railings make sweeping easy.

Do you have an interesting idea for how to build a deck around a tree in your backyard? We’d love to hear it! As a premier custom deck builder in Raleigh, NC, we love to design decks that bring our clients’ ideas to life.

Remember that Trees will Grow Over Time

When you’re designing a deck around a tree, there are a few complications to consider. Namely, the tree will continue to grow over time. This is why it’s better not to DIY this project; you want an expert on your side to build a deck that will last, even as the tree continues to grow.

Keep in mind that your tree will grow both horizontally and vertically. While you can use your tree as a deck post, this typically means you’ll have to do more repairs over time as the tree grow, since it will cause your deck to shift. It also means that if you build your deck too close to the trunk, it may start pushing the boards out of place as it grows. It’s often best to give trees lots of extra space.

If you are building a floating deck away from your home, you may not have an issue with the tree’s branches. Many people love to learn how to build a floating deck around a tree, so you’ll have a platform in the middle or at a far edge of your yard. However, if the tree is closer to your home, you’ll need to ensure you can maintain the branches. When branches touch your roof or the side of your home, they can cause damage. So, it makes sense to design the deck with maintenance in mind.

FAQs about Building a Deck Around Your Tree

We’d love to answer any questions you may have about your new deck. Here are a few to get you started:

Can I build a deck without putting posts in the ground?

In some cases, yes. This will help you avoid damaging tree roots. We can show you options for posts that will work best for the deck you want.

Is a deck my best option?

Decks work best around trees, but depending on your backyard layout you may want a screened-in porch or sun porch instead. We can go over the pros and cons of each kind of backyard living space.

What if I don’t know what I want?

We’re happy to help walk you through the process to build a deck around a tree. Our team has decades of experience in custom deck design. It’s okay if you aren’t sure what would be best for your backyard. Click here to contact us for a free consultation today.