The fabulously frugal guide to building your own deck

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Creating the outdoor living space you’ve always desired can be an expensive business. By the time you buy the materials and hire someone to build it for you, that beautiful outdoor space you’ve dreamed of can potentially lead to bankruptcy, no matter how good the weather is. Here are a few tips to get that softwoods timber decking built on the cheap.

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Do it yourself

This one is pretty obvious. Tradesmen can be sneaky and sometimes even lazy; and maybe you can’t really blame them when you think about the fact that they spend their working days outside in the hot sun performing demanding physical labor, if you had their life you might like to take it easy once in a while too. However, that doesn’t mean you have to pay for it! So when it comes to home improvements it’s always best to do it yourself.

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Don’t pay for wood. People with plenty of spending cash are the only ones getting their renovations done with brand new wood. You just need to be a little more resourceful. There is literally forests of wood left over from other projects that never gets used, start lurking around building sites to see what you can snag, especially a large scale site because they always buy way more than they need. Don’t forget that wood can be used more than once, often when a house or building is torn down there will be loads of quality wood left over that you can often get for cheap or even free. Check the local classifieds and internet marketplaces for people giving materials away, often it is a big favor for someone to come and take it away. Don’t just stop at materials either, ask around amongst your friends to see what kind of tools they have.

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Find some inexpensive help

Who’s going to be enjoying this brand new deck of yours anyway. Your friends? Husband? Wife? Kids? Well then they should help put in the effort to get it done. Kids especially are easy to get to help, not only will they learn from this experience, it could be a great family bonding time for you to get to know them a little better, like, find out what their lifting capacity is? Are they the kind of person that’s good at using power tools? It can be a bit trickier getting your friends to come along, adults are traditionally sharper at picking up on slave labor rackets but you can always offer them the first invitation when it finally gets finished.

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Be Patient

Good things take time, and it takes more time to do things on the cheap. You will have to be prepared to wait for the right type of wood to come up, to go scavenging through building sites in the dead of night, taking a few planks at a time. Or you might have to wait around for that bloke you met down the pub who said he could do the landscaping for cheap in between his other jobs, and now all of a sudden he is too busy but maybe he could fit you in if you were prepared to pay his normal rate, forget him. It will be hard looking out the window of a potential future deck, sitting inside watching the beautiful weather pass by without utilizing your barbeque, however, when you see the difference in the bank it will be worth it, even if it takes six years.

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Photo Sources: 1. Koch Architects, 2. Dennis Mayer Photography, 3. Decks by Kiefer LLC, 4. Terra Firma Design, 5. austin outdoor design, 6. Acorn Garden Houses, 7. ANNA CARIN Design, 8. E2 Homes, 9. Busybee Design, 10. Karen Garlanger Designs, LLC, 11. Fine Decks Inc

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