Amphitheater Style Patio Deck

Summer is here and it’s time to live in our backyards. We recently bought a home to remodel and plant our feet in for a while. After making the interior look the way we always wanted, it was now time to tear down the old existing patio deck that was poorly constructed and falling apart and replace it with something that’ll withstand the test of time and look amazing.

Because of the general design of the roof, we were unable to do the classic, 90-degree perpendicular design that comes off the house and meets the post straight because of how low the roof is. Now, my wife Irina is 5’4″. If I was 5’4″, it would be a different, but I’m 6’2″ and coming down from a 7-1/2 ft roof, it brings the ceiling incredibly low. The amphitheater style pergola ended up being the perfect solution as it ascends up to 9-1/2 ft, creating a tall, spacious, and welcoming space.

It turns out a lot of people found themselves in the same scenario and have asked how I went about building mine, so instead of doing a lengthy step by step, I decided to make a list of “Spark Notes” and hopefully they’ll help you.

Lets get started.

The Cross beam is made up out of 2x12x20 Douglas Fir.

The posts are 4x4x9 Douglas Fir.


Lag bolts attach a ledger to the frame of the house, right into the studs. I placed one 1/2″ lag bolt into every other stud and used hangers for the 2x10x15 cross sections.


The parallel side of the cross sections of the pergola, sits right on the 2×12 boards and screws down with two 3″ screws on each side.

The deck sits on 18-20 deck blocks. It comes out to about every 4’x4′ section.

Because its a floating deck, I used 2×8 pressure treated joists. Each joist sits every 16″ and everything is attached to the lower frame of the house like the pergola.

The privacy wall has (4) 2×8 posts that are attached to the deck and cleated with 1×6 boards with 3/4″ spacing between.

I used 1/2″ x 10″ carriage bolts with washers and locking nuts to attach the top part to the post.

The bottom part of the post is anchored to a 24″x10″ footing as well as attached to the side of joist as it comes through the deck.

I sealed everything using Cabot Australian oil in a natural color. It’s transparent, so when it comes to re-finishing the deck, it won’t be as blotchy and a pain to strip.

I rolled the floor on with a roller and sprayed everything else with a Wagner HVLP spayer since this stuff doesn’t need thinning.

The 12’x21’deck, pergola, and privacy wall cost me roughly $2,200. I went with Douglas fir instead of redwood or cedar because of cost. Yes, cedar and redwood last longer when stripped and compared to Douglas fir, but since these deck finishes need to be stripped and re finished every 2 years, I’d rather save money if either option will require same effort.

Hope this helped. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Happy building.