Ground Level Deck Pros and Cons. Affordable Ideas for Your Backyard

ground level deck pros and cons


When it comes to creating an inviting outdoor space, a ground level deck is a popular choice for homeowners. It offers a versatile platform that seamlessly blends with the surrounding landscape. In this article, we will delve into the pros and cons of ground level decks, provide you with some creative ideas and plans, and compare them to the alternative option of patios. So, let’s get started!

Ground Level Deck Pros and Cons

Pros of Ground Level Decks

1. Accessibility and Versatility

Ground level decks provide easy access to your outdoor space. With no steps or stairs involved, they are perfect for individuals with mobility challenges, young children, and elderly family members. Additionally, these decks can be designed to accommodate various functions, such as outdoor dining areas, lounging spots, or even a place for your hot tub.

2. Natural Integration

One of the main advantages of a ground level deck is its seamless integration with the surrounding landscape. By being built closer to the ground, it allows for a harmonious transition from your indoor space to the outdoors. This integration creates an inviting and aesthetically pleasing environment for relaxation and entertainment.

3. Cost-Effective Construction

Compared to elevated decks, ground level decks are generally more cost-effective to build. Since they require fewer materials and no extensive foundation work, the overall construction expenses can be significantly reduced. This makes ground level decks an attractive option for homeowners looking for a budget-friendly outdoor improvement project.

4. Enhanced Privacy

If privacy is a concern, a ground level deck offers a great advantage. By being closer to the ground, the deck itself acts as a natural barrier, providing a sense of seclusion and privacy from neighbors and passersby. Adding privacy screens, trellises, or plants can further enhance the privacy features of your ground level deck.

Cons of Ground Level Decks

1. Limited Views

While ground level decks offer privacy, they may have limited views compared to elevated decks. If you have a beautiful landscape or a scenic vista, an elevated deck might provide a better vantage point. However, creative design elements, such as raised seating areas or built-in planters, can mitigate this limitation and create interest within the ground level deck itself.

2. Potential for Moisture and Drainage Issues

Ground level decks are closer to the ground, which means they are more susceptible to moisture-related issues. Without proper design, construction, and maintenance, they can suffer from water accumulation, rot, and decay. However, with the use of appropriate materials, effective drainage systems, and regular upkeep, these issues can be minimized or avoided altogether.

3. Uneven Ground and Soil Concerns

When building a ground level deck, it is crucial to consider the condition of the ground and soil. Uneven or unstable ground can pose challenges during construction and may require additional measures, such as leveling or stabilization. Furthermore, certain soil types, such as expansive or clay soils, can expand or contract with changing weather conditions, potentially affecting the stability of the deck over time.

Related article: Above-Ground Pool Deck Ideas

Ground Level Deck Ideas and Plans

Now that we have explored the pros and cons of ground level decks, let’s dive into some inspiring ideas and plans to help you envision your own outdoor oasis:

1. Multi-Level Deck Design

Consider incorporating multiple levels within your ground level deck. This design adds visual interest and provides distinct areas for different activities. For example, you could have a lower level dedicated to dining, a raised section for lounging, and a sunken area for a cozy fire pit.

2. Integrated Lighting

Enhance the ambiance and functionality of your ground level deck with well-placed lighting. Incorporate recessed lights in the deck surface, install string lights along railings or overhead structures, and strategically position landscape lighting to highlight key features. Lighting not only adds a warm glow to your deck but also ensures safety during nighttime use.

3. Built-in Seating and Storage

Optimize your deck’s space by integrating built-in seating and storage solutions. Bench seating with hidden compartments can provide extra seating while keeping your outdoor essentials neatly stowed away. This design approach maximizes both comfort and functionality.

4. Natural Elements

Create a soothing and inviting atmosphere by incorporating natural elements into your ground level deck. Install a pergola or arbor covered with climbing plants for shade and privacy. Integrate planters with colorful flowers or a small herb garden. These additions bring the beauty of nature right onto your deck.

Ground Level Decks vs. Patios: A Comparison

When considering outdoor living spaces, patios often come to mind as a popular alternative to ground level decks. Let’s briefly compare the two options:

1. Design Flexibility

Ground level decks offer more design flexibility compared to patios. With a variety of materials, finishes, and accessories available, you can customize your deck to suit your personal style. Patios, on the other hand, typically have a more fixed design since they are constructed using concrete, pavers, or stone.

2. Cost Considerations

As mentioned earlier, ground level decks are generally more cost-effective to build compared to patios. Patios often require extensive excavation, leveling, and professional installation, which can add to the overall expenses. If budget is a significant factor, a ground level deck might be the more affordable choice.

3. Maintenance and Durability

Both ground level decks and patios require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity. Decks made of wood may require staining or sealing periodically, while patios might need occasional repairs due to settling or cracking. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your preferences and willingness to invest time and effort into maintenance.


Ground level decks offer a range of benefits, including accessibility, natural integration, cost-effectiveness, and enhanced privacy. While they may have limitations such as limited views and potential moisture-related issues, these can be mitigated with proper design, construction, and maintenance.

With creative ideas and plans, you can transform your ground level deck into a stunning outdoor space that suits your lifestyle and preferences. Whether you choose a ground level deck or a patio, both options offer unique features and considerations, so make sure to weigh your needs and budget before making a decision.

Happy deck building!


Are ground level decks a good option?

Ground level decks have their advantages, such as easy accessibility and a seamless integration with the surrounding landscape. However, they also have some drawbacks, such as the potential for moisture damage and infestation.

How long will a ground level deck last?

The lifespan of a ground level deck depends on various factors, including the quality of materials used, maintenance, and exposure to the elements. With proper care, a well-built ground level deck can last for many years.

Do you need footings for a ground level deck?

Footings are not always necessary for ground level decks. However, it’s important to ensure proper support and stability. Options like concrete pads or gravel can be used as a foundation for the deck.

How do I keep my ground level deck from rotting?

To prevent rotting, it’s essential to address moisture issues. Proper drainage, ventilation, and sealing the wood with a protective finish can help prevent rot and prolong the lifespan of the deck.

What are the pros of ground level decks?

Ground level decks offer easy accessibility, seamless integration with the surroundings, and the ability to utilize shady areas. They are generally easier and less expensive to construct compared to raised decks.

What are the cons of ground level decks?

One of the major disadvantages of ground level decks is the potential for moisture damage and infestation. They can also be more susceptible to flooding and require additional care to prevent these issues.

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