Top tips on garden decking

Whether you have a small yard or a sprawling lawn, a decked area can be the perfect addition to any garden. If you are not sure where to start, follow these steps to create your very own decking.

Outdoor deck

Where in your garden?

Think about where in your garden would be the best place for your deck. As your outdoor living room, you will naturally spend most time at the decking area, so consider things like natural light, closeness to the house and any other factors when deciding where to position it. If you intend to do a lot of entertaining it may be better to keep the deck closer to the house. Remember what wear and tear the deck may come under — drainage points and exposure to the elements will all affect how well your deck ages and the maintenance problems that may arise.

What Size?

Don’t assume because you are putting in a deck it has to be a big job. A small space big enough for just a seat is perfect if it is what you want. Consider how much size you will actually need in regard to your family and any outdoor furniture you would like to put on it. If you are having trouble picking just one spot to put a deck in, you could put in two areas as long as you have the space – there are no constraints.

Style

Decking is traditionally wooden, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of styles to choose from. Natural softwood and hardwood decking look great but will require more maintenance. Some people are put off by decking because it seems a modern style option, but you can get weathered wood now that echoes a more traditional feel and fits into the “English garden” style just as well as stones and tiles. Decking titles have also become a popular look. They are square designs that are usually laid in different directions to create a striking pattern.

Preparations for decking

Build your decking on concrete block pillars to give your deck a sturdy foundation and to avoid any weeds growing underneath the deck. Weeds can cause damage to the wood, so make sure you put down a weed sheet as well.

Laying your deck

If you are going to build your deck yourself it is essential to make the frame as sturdy as possible. Add as much wood to the frame as you can to avoid your wood weakening after years of wear and tear. Try to be flexible with how the deck is laid and the size of the boards. The end result might not be what you had in mind, but it may be what works best for the space and materials available to you. When finishing the frame, make sure that you screw the boards together to give them extra strength and support.

Maintenance

With the harsh British weather it is important to keep your decking well maintained, especially after a long winter. Sweep the area regularly (once or twice a week throughout the year) to remove any leaves or plants that could potentially rot the wood. Wash down the decking with a pressure spray at least twice a year, removing any residue that could damage or discolour the wood. If you have stained the wood, remember to repaint the wood at least once a year — or more if it becomes badly damaged or scratched.

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