How Do I Lay Out Deck Boards?

Planning and designing a deck and outdoor living space for your family is an exciting backyard project that can enhance the entire feel of your home. Once your deck frame is built, and you begin shopping around for decking materials, consider adding more visual appeal to your deck by installing a unique deck board pattern and design!

Whether thinking ahead to save money on deck board costs due to a unique deck measurement or simply wanting to catch the eye of neighbors and guests; one-of-a-kind deck board patterns can completely transform the personality of your outdoor space. Unique deck board layouts can give the illusion of a larger deck space, create a focal point that you want to highlight in your area, or emphasize different sections of your deck.

From composite deck boards from top brands like Trex or Deckorators, or selecting a classic deck board material such as pressure-treated decking or Cedar; attaching deck boards in an interesting deck board pattern can transform your deck space with minimal extra effort.


Top 7 Deck Board Layouts

Deck Board Pattern: Classic Single Width

The Single Width deck board pattern is the most commonly installed composite deck board layout throughout the entire United States.

Deck Building Level: Easy

Single-width is a standard deck board pattern where the deck surface is created by installing deck boards of the same width consistently and evenly across the entire outdoor space. The Single Width deck pattern is the most commonly installed deck board layout throughout the entire United States. The consistent lines of the Single Width deck board layout deliver a classic look that won’t overpower any other deck design elements such as deck furniture or outdoor appliances.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Easy Deck Board Installation: As the most straight-forward deck board inlay option, the Single Width deck board layout can be attached directly to standard deck framing. This deck board pattern is a great option for DIY deck builders starting out in the deck building world, or can be a quick job for a professional deck contractor which can save you money.

Perfect for Any Deck Size: With a timeless look and unpretentious style, this composite deck board pattern will work well on decks, porches, or patios of any size. On larger decks, this straightforward deck board design emphasizes the grand atmosphere of your outdoor living space. For smaller decks, the clean straight lines of the decking won't steal attention or overpower the small deck surface area.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

For basic, single-width deck board installation, make sure deck joists in the deck frame should be spaced at a maximum of 16 inches on center for deck board support.


Deck Board Pattern:Transition Board

Installing a transition board deck pattern will help separate your deck space cleanly

Deck Building Level: Easy

Choose a transition board layout to spice up the uniformity of your outdoor deck space! With a transition deck board nstalled perpendicular to the rest of the decking planks, this layout allows the deck builder to use shorter board lengths which can save you money! This pattern is also perfect for creating separation between different sections of the deck. Installing a composite deck board of a different shade or a uniquely stained natural wood deck board for the transition board will create a visually appealing style.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Breaks up your outdoor living space into different sections for easier gathering.

Allows you to save cutting boards for ends.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

Utilize Butt Joint hardware to create a deck board attachment connection for your transition deck board. There must be a joist on either end of the transition board for increased deck support.


Deck Board Pattern: Picture Frame

Picture framing a deck involves installing one or more deck boards around the perimeter of the deck with a standard deck board inlay within.

Deck Building Level: Moderate

Picture framing a deck involves installing one or more deck boards around the perimeter of the deck with a standard deck board inlay within. Picture frame patterns create a more finished feel to your outdoor living space while still remaining subtle to highlight the entire deck area. Picture frame deck patterns deliver a touch of visual detail to your deck while allowing a classic deck board style to remain.

Picture Frame deck patterns create a custom look for your space while saving your deck project money overall. Want to add even more style to your deck space? Combine a picture frame deck layout with any other unique deck board pattern inside as your deck surface! The world is yours with picture frame deck layouts.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Conceals Ends of Composite Deck Boards: Adding a picture frame detail to your composite deck is a great way to elevate your deck style while protecting and completing your decking install. The outlining picture frame pattern creates a finished look, and at the same time, creates a natural cover to finish the ends of composite decking.

Won't Steal the Spotlight: Picture frame designs add a dash of visual interest to your outdoor living space without dominating other deck features like lighting or railing. Subtle, modern, and versatile, the picture frame deck pattern doesn't make a splash but rather delivers a refreshing mist.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

Picture frame decking requires additional support for the deck framing and substructure. Learn more in the DecksDirect How to Picture Frame a Deck post!


Deck Board Pattern: Pinstripe

The pinstripe deck board pattern is one of the deck inlay patterns that delivers a sense of style that is completely dependent on the rest of the deck.

Deck Building Level: Moderate

The pinstripe deck board pattern is one of the deck inlay patterns that delivers a sense of style that is completely dependent on the rest of the deck. Traditionally defined by two narrow boards sandwiched by standard or wide-width deck boards on either side, the pinstripe deck pattern creates unique details within your deck surface. The pinstripe deck board layout is ideal for those with a minimalist style that like a hint of cool within their space.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Classically Cool: As far as deck patterns go, the pinstripe deck board layout delivers heightened sophistication that doesn't try to upstage or compete with other deck decor.

Relatively Unused: The pinstripe deck board layout is a deck board pattern that you won't see on many decks across the nation. This level of detail in your deck board design will surely be noticed and appreciated by all guests and neighbors.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

This deck inlay design can be installed on standard deck framing, making for a relatively quick DIY decking install.


Deck Board Pattern: Diagonal

Diagonal deck board patterns emphasize a strong sense of style and deck build complexity.

Deck Building Level: Advanced

Diagonal deck board patterns emphasize a strong sense of style and deck build complexity. With sleek deck board lines running from side to side, the diagonal deck board layout delivers an increase in curb appeal and compliments! Diagonal inlay deck patterns are dynamic and unique, creating an outdoor living space that begs to be spot for hosting parties and showing off.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Creates a Unique Dimension: Diagonal deck board lines draw the eyes across and through a complete space. This is ideal for large outdoor spaces where you want to emphasize the space, as well as, multi-section decks where you want to highlight the different areas. Enjoy your multi-dimensional deck with the diagonal deck board layout.

Contemporary Look: Have your heart set on a modern-looking deck railing system such as metal deck railing, cable railing, or glass rails? A diagonal deck board pattern helps underscore your deck's futuristic style.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

This complex deck board pattern requires a very specific deck frame and support system. DIY deck builders are encouraged to speak with or hire a professional deck contractor to ensure accuracy.


Deck Board Pattern: Herringbone

Herringbone deck board patterns are formed by repeating instances of two deck boards meeting at 45-degree angles to create a look similar to the Chevron design.

Deck Building Level: Advanced

Herringbone deck board patterns are formed by repeating instances of two deck boards meeting at 45-degree angles to create a look similar to the Chevron design. Detailed and elegant, the Herringbone deck board layout resembles the substantial feel and texture of an intricate fabric. The interlocking design demands to be viewed and can bring new life to your deck space.

The Herringbone deck pattern looks like a chevron pattern, but it requires fewer angled cuts. By taking short boards and placing them at a 45 degree angle, you can create a stunning look that sets your project apart. Don’t forget that placing boards at an angle requires you to shorten your framing span.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Wow Factor: This advanced deck board pattern delivers high visual interest and immediately elevates the entire feel of your home's outdoor living space. Herringbone deck patterns can also work well as an intricate centerpiece when used as a framed inlay offset by single-width decking throughout the rest of the space.

Great for Unique Deck Shapes: A herringbone deck board pattern at the center of the deck can cover any natural breaks and minimize joints and gaps.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

This complex deck board pattern requires a very specific deck frame and support system. DIY deck builders are encouraged to speak with or hire a professional deck contractor to ensure accuracy.


Deck Board Pattern: Tile or Patchwork

Tile deck board patterns feature framed decking portions whose composite deck board patterns and textures run perpendicular to one another.

Deck Building Level: Advanced

Tile deck board patterns feature framed decking portions whose composite deck board patterns and textures run perpendicular to one another. The geometric deck design creates crisp right angles which highlights the precision of a builder's ability, while the clashing deck board lines showcases the deck owner's individual style.

Highlights of this Deck Board Pattern

Unbelievable Grace: With clearly defined style and looks, the tile deck board pattern is a powerful method of highlighting your outdoor space. The perfect choice for those deck owners who clearly know their own sense of style and want to showcase it to the world.

Establishes Space: The clear borders to this deck pattern draw the eye outward, contributing to a sense of enlarged space. That said, the repeating pattern of tile deck patterns mean that this inlay option is best-suited for a sizeable outdoor loving space.

Deck Board Layout Installation Notes

Despite all the right angles, tile deck patterns require a specialized substructure and deck joists that will support weight differently depending on the orientation of the deck boards.

This complex deck board pattern requires a very specific deck frame and support system. DIY deck builders are encouraged to speak with or hire a professional deck contractor to ensure accuracy.

How Do I Lay Out Deck Board Patterns

Learn how to get the perfect deck measurements and find out exactly how many deck boards you'll be working with in this helpful video.


For more in-depth deck framing and building information, read our Decks 101: Deck Framing Guide to become a true deck construction pro and wow your family, friends and guests these spring and summer seasons ahead!

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! Whether you're looking at a brand new start or a fresh end-of-season deck renovation, give our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!