Create a Visually Stunning Outdoor Living Space with a Picture Frame Deck

Understanding Picture Frame Decking

Revamp your outdoor space with a picture frame deck that elevates your space to show-stopping levels. This aesthetically pleasing design technique involves outlining your deck with a contrasting border, creating a “picture frame” effect for an overall polished look.

The possibilities for customisation are endless, with the option to use different decking materials or colours. It’s an opportunity to showcase your ingenuity and add an extra layer of individuality to your outdoor living space. Make this a signature element of your backyard, and prepare for compliments from your guests.

Popular Picture Frame Deck Styles

  1. Single Picture Frame Decking Border
  2. Double Picture Frame Decking
  3. Triple Picture Frame
  4. Diagonal Picture Frame
  5. Herringbone Picture Frame

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Picture Frame Deck

Plan and Design

To create the perfect deck, start with a detailed plan that includes precise measurements, necessary materials, and the essential tools to get the job done right. Take into account the shape and size you desire, and pick a style and pattern that aligns with your aesthetic preferences. A picture frame deck can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your outdoor living space. So, choose the design that best suits your vision and get to work!

Lay Out the Perimeter

Use stakes and string lines to mark the sides of your deck. Use a square to ensure that the corners are at 90-degree angles.

Install the Ledger Board

Secure the ledger board to the house’s rim joist by utilising sturdy bolts or lag screws. Ensure that the ledger board is levelled off, firmly attached, and covered with flashing to avoid damage from water.

Install Footings

Dig and pour concrete footings at the corners and intermediate points of the deck’s perimeter. Attach the posts to the footings using post anchors or brackets.

Install Joists

Install the joists on the beams, spaced according to local building codes and manufacturer’s instructions. Use joist hangers to attach the joists to the ledger board and beams.

Install Picture Frame

Create the picture frame around the edge of the deck by installing the outer joists first. Cut the ends of the inner joists at 45-degree angles and attach them to the outer joists to form a border.

Install Decking

Install the decking boards perpendicular to the joists, starting from the centre of the deck and working your way out to the perimeter. Use spacers to ensure even spacing between the boards.

Install Railing

Install the railing around the deck’s perimeter, following local building codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

Finish the Deck

Stain or paint the deck to protect it from the elements and add a decorative finish.

Choosing the Best Materials for a Picture Frame Deck


Wood is a classic and natural option for a deck with a border. Common types of wood used for decking include cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. They offer a warm and natural look, are easy to work with, and can be stained or painted to match your style. However, wood requires regular maintenance, such as cleaning, staining, and sealing, to prevent rot, decay, and insect damage.


Composite decking is an innovative product made of wood fibres and recycled plastic with many benefits compared to traditional wood. It requires minimal maintenance, making it a go-to choice for those who want the look of wood without the added upkeep. Composite decking comes in many different colours and textures, giving homeowners the freedom to choose a style that suits their taste.

It is aesthetically pleasing and resistant to moisture, fading, and stains, making it a wise investment for those who value durability. Additionally, composite decking eliminates the need for sealing or staining, saving homeowners valuable time and money. Choose composite decking for a smart and hassle-free decking solution.

Final Thoughts on Picture Frame Deck Materials

While there are several materials to choose from when building a picture frame deck, composite decking is one of the best options for its many benefits. Ultimately, the best material for a deck with a border will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Consult with a professional contractor or supplier to determine the best option for your project.

Tips for a Successful Picture Frame Deck Build

Consult Local Building Codes

Before you begin your picture frame deck project, consult your local building codes to ensure your deck complies with regulations. This may include footings, railings, stairs, and load-bearing capacity guidelines. Adhering to these codes will ensure your deck is safe and structurally sound.

Choose High-Quality Materials

Selecting high-quality materials for your picture frame deck will enhance its appearance and increase its durability and longevity. Look for materials resistant to rot, insects, and moisture damage. Remember, investing in quality materials from the start can save you money on repairs and replacements in the long run.

Plan for Proper Drainage

Ensure your deck design includes proper drainage to prevent water pooling on the deck surface. This can be achieved by sloping the deck slightly away from the house or installing a drainage system beneath the deck. Proper drainage protects your deck from moisture damage and prevents mould, mildew, and rot.

Hire a Professional If Needed

If you are inexperienced in deck building or need clarification on any aspect of the project, consider hiring a professional contractor. A knowledgeable and experienced contractor can help ensure your picture frame deck is built to code, structurally sound, and aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, a contractor can help you select the best materials and designs for your specific needs and preferences.

Picture Frame Deck Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning

Regularly clean your deck to remove dirt, debris, and organic material that can lead to mould, mildew, and rot. Sweep the deck surface and use a garden hose or pressure washer to remove dirt and grime. Be sure to clean the picture frame border and the spaces between the deck boards, as these areas can accumulate debris.

Inspect for Damage

Inspect your deck periodically for signs of damage, such as cracked or warped boards, loose railings, or corroded hardware. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the safety and longevity of your deck.

Seal and Protect

If your deck is made of wood, apply a sealant or stain to protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and other damaging elements. Reapply the sealant or stain every few years or as needed to maintain the protective barrier and keep your deck looking its best.

Address Pest Issues

Watch for signs of pests that can damage your deck’s structure, such as termites, carpenter ants, or rodents. If you notice any signs of infestation, address the issue promptly by contacting a pest control professional.

Additional Picture Frame Deck Design Ideas

If you’re looking to elevate the wow factor of your picture frame layout, look no further than these innovative design concepts to elevate your project to the next level:

Multi-Level Picture Frame Decks

A multi-level picture frame deck can create a dynamic and visually interesting outdoor living space. By designing your deck with multiple levels, you can create separate zones for different activities, such as dining, lounging, or entertaining. This design can also help you make the most of an uneven or sloping yard, as each level can be built at different elevations to accommodate the landscape.

Mixing Materials and Colors

One of the critical elements of a picture frame deck is the contrasting deck border, which can be achieved by using different materials or colours for the main deck surface and the frame. Mixing materials, such as combining wood with composite or metal blocking accents, can create a unique and modern look. Similarly, contrasting colours for the main deck and decking with border can add visual interest and depth to your outdoor space.

Adding Built-In Features

Incorporating built-in features into your picture frame deck design can improve the functionality and comfort of your outdoor living space. Some popular built-in features include benches, planters, storage compartments, and outdoor kitchens. These features enhance your deck’s usability and help create a cohesive and polished design.

Incorporating Lighting

Adding lighting to your picture frame deck can improve its ambience and usability during the evening hours. Options for deck lighting include post cap lights, stair riser lights, and in-deck lights, which can be installed flush with the deck surface. By incorporating lighting into your picture frame deck design, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for nighttime gatherings and extend the usability of your outdoor space.


To conclusion, a picture frame deck is a flexible and aesthetically pleasing improvement to enhance your outdoor living area. By carefully choosing appropriate materials, design, and installation techniques, you can construct a magnificent and practical deck that your neighbors will envy.

With diligent preparation, building, and upkeep, your picture frame deck will give you and your loved ones pleasure for many years to come. Whether you prefer a basic or fanciful scheme, a picture frame deck is a valuable investment that will enrich the elegance and worth of your abode.