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Large Split Level Patio Deck. Built over old crazy paving patio.

Decking over an old patio is a great way of re-kindling interest in your garden. Rather than just 'deck over the patio' though, put some thought into exactly what your new deck can be. Don't be too constrained by the shape or size of your old patio. Ignore the fact that it is there, and plan your patio deck from scratch. A patio deck is much more versatile than an old stone patio.

You will most certainly use your patio deck more often and in different ways to your old patio. Only change levels if it is really necessary. Think of your deck as an outside room, as part of the house. A stone patio is more part of the garden!

One of the big for traditional problems in certain parts of the UK - London area in particular - is that there is a clay sub soil strata. This causes the ground - houses even - to move up and down. If everything moved at the same time and rate, then this would not present a problem. But it doesn't! This often results in movement beneath the patio - ending up in cracks appearing. A timber deck does not have the same level of problem, for it is able to withstand a few centimetres of movement - being a lot more flexible than stone or concrete patio!

Old paved patio area prior to installation of deck

Before work started converting the old concrete - crazy paving patio into a new decking patio.


Patio to side of house which is to be deckedOld Patio Area is cleared ready for the deck sub frame to be installed.

The cracks are visible in the paved patio - due to a/ clay sub soils strata, and b/ the patio has been laid on top of an existing concrete path around the house. Where the patio extended over the path and on to the garden area, you can see the cracks caused by uneven earth movement and basic settlement over time.

The new decking sub base - whilst being laid over the top of the old patio - will not suffer the same fate because of the frame being bolded into the house wall, and new supports concreted in to the well-settled ground.



Decking subframe over the old patio which suits as a strong base


Building the Sub frame, and first section of split level (top left) in place. The sub frame is laid out and constructed insitu, before supporting and fixing to the old patio and into the ground with concreted posts

The preparation for the split in levels can be seen. It is simply a drop of 6in (15cm) across the width of the first deck. No  balustrades are required, with a simplt drop of 6in to the lower deck.

A further 'level' will be introduced by way of a large step at the patio doors.

Split Level Deck Changes.

Split level decks forming steps down from the higher house access
The change in levels between door threshold and main deck are catered for with a double stepped feature that will include lights sunk into the facing of the steps. The lights will shine out onto and lighting up the first deck.

With the three separate  levels, the deck boards were laid in different directions. This gives a little added appeal, but more importantly, it is easier to see the change in levels when descending. With level changes that have the deck boards running the same direction, the step down is not always easy to notice for newcomers when descending!



Laying the Decking out towards the support newels


The main deck is progressing well, with just a little more decking to do before balustrades, steps etc are completed.

A temporary hand rail has been fixed to the balustrade railings support. This is to give the client an good idea of how the finished balustrade will affect the view to the garden etc. As it is a relatively low level drop to the garden, the 'regulation' handrail height is not applicable. So the height - within reason - can be adjusted to suit.




Laying of Decking finished and the top rail of the balustrade positioned and fixed

The height of the balustrade agreed, the top rail - 6x6in decking joist timber Grade 1 - used to give sturdy railings.





Split level decks with facsia boards to finish

All Decking completed with fascia boards fixed to edge of deck and lights installed into split level areas.


Change of levels from door threshold down to man deck area.




Balustrades and gate.

Deck all but finished - step to garden to construct and final finishing with power sander.

Sturdy purpose made balustrade to deck perimeter The gate blends in well with the balustrade small steps down to the garden

A custom made gate was included in the balustrade - made from the same timbers that were used in construction of the patio deck and balustrade spindles. two small steps were built in - with 4in (100mm) drop to accommodate the youngest child of the family.


Finished patio deck with balustrades and gate detail






The finished deck



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