As the owner of an Archadeck franchise in suburban Boston, I’ve been building residential decks full-time for 18 years. Usually we fasten the deck to the house with a structurally attached ledger, and the house wall provides lateral and horizontal bracing as well as vertical support. But sometimes circumstances force us to build a self-supporting freestanding deck. I don’t mean that the deck is all alone out in the yard—just that it doesn’t rely on the house for bracing or support. Typically, it touches the house and appears to be connected, but the framing underneath is structurally independent. In this article, I’ll discuss the methods we use to stabilize a freestanding deck.

This article originally appeared in JLC ( Click here for the original version.