We were asked to build a composite ground level deck pathway to a shed we assembled for a customer last year. The shed and pressure treated platform turned out great, but they needed a solid path over a river stone swale for easier access.
First we started with a general layout. We knew we wanted a path approximately 32 inches wide and 16 feet long.
We wanted the pathway to be ground level at the lawn. We also wanted the pathway to be level with the finished floor of the shed so rolling lawn mowers or other items is as easy as possible.
Once we figured out roughly how much material needed to be removed, we began by hand picking all the river stones toward the lawn.
The pathway frames were constructed and temporarily braced with deck boards. By overhanging the edges of the scrap pieces of deck board, it was easy to see how much rock and dirt to remove so it would end up level with the lawn.
Don’t rush through one step of any project before checking and then re-checking that your original plan is going to work. Before going further, take the time to ensure everything will line up nicely.
Once we were sure that we had removed enough river stone and dirt, weed guard fabric was installed with a few river stones supporting the deck frame exactly in position. This took some time to roll stones around and shift things so the deck frame was sitting just perfectly in position but is an essential step.
Now for one of the fun parts. To ensure a solid deck, always use plenty of blocking between your joists and stringers etc.
With the blocking in place, we can carefully begin placing river stones all along the underside of the deck frames. If you take your time, you can find stones that are the perfect size so the entire structure can be supported completely on stone.
Then, river stones are placed inside and outside along all of the deck frame to hold everything securely in place for years to come.
The stones and wood frame interlock to create a very stable structure once you start building more stones in and around the frame.
Follow the directions! In this case, we selected a 32 inch wide path so that we could cut 16 foot deck boards with as little waste as possible. This is a great idea.
However, the manufacturer states that any top down screws installed within 1-1/2 inches from the end of the plank need to be pre-drilled to prevent splitting of the ends of the boards. This is always recommended with any fastener near the end of any deck board wood or composite. So when you’re planning your deck, take the time to think through all of the details before you go to the store.