small backyard composite deck with hidden sprinkler valve hatch

This customer wanted a nice composite deck in their backyard.

First, some of the joists and a four foot level are used to figure out where the high and low spots are for gravel.

Once the deck elevation has been decided, framing begins.

Gravel gets added to areas before they’re framed.

The entire structure is supported on a firm bed of gravel. Joists are spaced 16 inches with plenty of blocking for this application.

The first plank to go on is the leading edge which should be a rounded edge versus the grooved edge planks. Also, starting on the leading edge and working towards the building ensures that the last plank is the one to get cut if that is required, and it will be protected and hidden closer to the house.

Composite decking is a great product but take the time to follow the directions. The manufacturers are very specific about how the fasteners are to be installed and it matters.

This particular deck had another unique challenge. There was a sprinkler shut off valve so a bit of creative planning and a small hidden hatch was created with some loose deck boards.

Here you can see the staggered seams of the deck boards over top of the sprinkler shut off valve. With a bit of creative thinking, a couple of planks can be left for easy access and no one can really tell that it’s an access hatch.


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