I am building a ground level deck. We have a bilevel, so our house is on a slab at the ground floor (no basement). There is about a 15° grade away from the back door to the yard.

I have all the lumber, but i think that I need to drop earth in front of the back door to give enough room for the joists and subsequent decking that will be placed on top.

How much earth should I move? What is the most cost effective way to do it while not requiring too much labor? The deck is roughly 200sq ft with a depth of about 12 feet.


  • Kind of sounds like you are getting ahead of yourself acquiring all the lumber before having a plan in place as to how this would all work. I suspect that if you dig a pit to install the deck in that you will have a huge water collection point. You had better really plan to regrade the whole area so that water can properly run down grade away from your house before you attempt to build anything. And in any case this will require labor and possibly some power equipment in addition to the planning.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 16, 2017 at 14:17
  • How far does the 15 degree grade extend? If it's at least half the horizontal depth of the deck this might work. As to your questions, 1) as much as necessary, and 2) grab a shovel, dude. It's not that big of a job for a healthy person. Modern Americans seem to have lost sight of what a body can do with a little time. Even us keyboard surfers.
    – isherwood
    Jun 16, 2017 at 15:12


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