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Turn a Square Deck into a Circular Deck

An old deck in torn out leaving just a circular deck in its place.

In this project, the Don’t Sweat It team tears out a ground-level deck leaving just a small section to create a new seating area. A trammel-arm jig is used to make the remaining section into a perfect circle. Then new sod is laid and a retaining wall is added in the area where the decking was removed.

Tools and Materials:
chain saw
circular saw
reciprocating saw
sod and sod roller (rental)
rake and shovel
trammel-arm jig
retaining wall blocks

1. Cut the deck into manageable sections. Ours is a ground-level deck, so there is no danger of the structure falling.

2. We’re leaving a circular portion of the lower deck to use as a seating area. To make a perfect circle, we used a router and a long trammel-arm jig. A trammel arm is used in a manner similar to a compass — it pivots around the center point to mark the circle

3. Determine the center point of the circle. Cut a strip of plywood to half the radius of the circle. Attach the strip to the router base. Screw the plywood arm to the deck at the center point. Slowly run the router around the circle, making several passes. Cut only about 1/8” deep at each pass.

4. Clear out the unnecessary decking and level the ground by raking it out. Pressure wash the remaining deck area.

5. Using dry-stack stone, build an 18” high wall to follow the contours of the existing deck. Start with a level, packed base and offset the stones to give the wall strength.

6. Make sure the ground is damp. Lay the sod in panels, staggering the seams. Push down the sod with a 125-lb. water-filled sod roller. Use a utility knife to cut the excess sod. Water the new sod as recommended by the supplier.

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