Pro Installation Tip: How to Frame Your Deck Around a Tree

You’ve found the perfect plan and location for your new deck. There is only one small issue: a huge tree is blocking the space where you desire the installation to be. All might seem lost, but don’t worry, you do have options. You can move the tree, although this might appear to be absurd. Finding another location for the deck may be possible, but changing the plans aren’t necessary. How about framing the deck around the tree? Seems impossible, but with a little adjustment to the original plan, you can get the deck you dream of.

Framing your deck around a tree is the perfect way to add some extra design to your project.

Understand the Trees You’re Dealing With

First things first, you need to understand the tree that you are dealing with. Trees never stop growing. It’s crucial to understand how to build the surrounding area without compromising the tree or your deck. Estimate the amount of girth the tree will possibly gain. If you are unsure about what type of tree you have you can contact your local nursery for answers.

Next you need to understand the root system of the tree. The roots always have the potential of growing upward. You don’t want that, especially if you are framing your deck around the tree. You can either anticipate the possibility of the roots growing upward by giving the deck some clearance, or you can use deep root feeding to pull the roots downward and away from your deck. Deep root feeding is the process of “poking” holes into the ground allowing water to seep down. This in turn pulls the roots downwards and away from your deck.

How to Frame the Deck

The first thing you should do is run two beams in front of and behind the tree. Allow 3 to 5 inches of space between the decking and the tree, if it is already mature. If the tree is younger, allow a little more room for growth. Next, attach two more beams on each side of the tree and to the previous beams you placed. Basically, you’re creating a box around the tree. Diagonal support below the joist frame add more support and will still give the tree adequate room to grow.

Now that you understand how to frame your deck around a tree, you can build your outdoor space with confidence. Don’t forget that if you decide to go this route that it may require extra maintenance with leaves or bird droppings. This is a small price to pay for the most exquisite deck in the neighborhood. 

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