A well-considered decking design is the ideal accompaniment to a beautiful newly-decorated home. There are a wide variety of timber options available and whether your preferences are for something sustainably sourced or stylishly contemporary, the versatile aesthetics of timber offers a solution to suit everyone.
Timber is broadly classified into two groups – softwoods and hardwoods. This does not relate to the hardness of the wood, but to the type of tree from which it comes. The key to selecting wood for outdoor use is durability. Some species of wood have a natural ability to resist decay completely, others may require treatment. Softwood is used a lot more in decking because it tends to be less expensive than hardwood. However, naturally durable hardwoods tend to have more impact and abrasion resistance, which is why they are often used in commercial projects.
Decking should be crafted with safety as a principle concern. The deck should be planned to minimise trip hazards and any specifically planned features need to be factored in – for example, sand pits, hot tubs, ponds etc. You will also need to ensure your supports are strong enough for any structures you plan to house on top of your decking, such as sheds.
Consider where the sunlight falls in your garden and how you envision using the decking – for example, if you intend to make the most of morning sunshine make sure you place your decking in the right spot. Alternately, if you are looking to create a shady retreat, build both sun and wind shade into the design.
Decking should be selected based on your aesthetic preference – do you want smooth or grooved deck boards? You can also buy anti-slip decking, which is useful within temperamental British weather.
For the sustainability-conscious, there are many timber alternatives available. For example, composite decking from Trex decking is an environmentally friendly product formed from recycled shopping bags. This product doesn’t warp or splinter, it doesn’t need to be stained or painted and is fade, mould, scratch and stain resistant.
Carefully plan both the height and design of your new fence. Choose the colour and the type of wood you’re going to use first as this will need to match the overall tone of your garden. If, however, you have a specific preference for a colour outside of the available wood tones, simply paint or stain the fence.
Decide what you want from your fence. If privacy is a concern, consider a lap panel design, which blocks any gaps and stops prying eyes from seeing into your garden. If you want to soften this fairly regimented design, adding a trellis or hedge to the fence can provide decorative appeal.
If your fence is acting as a boundary for pets and plants, but you are not concerned about security, perhaps a lattice style would be suitable. These designs look both modern and are also visually impressive – especially if you allow plants to interweave with the design.
Once you’ve constructed your decking and/or fence, you may need to perform periodic maintenance to keep them up to scratch.
Fences should be scrubbed free of mould and mildew using soap and water. They should then be rinsed clean and left to dry. Re-stain your fence every few years to refresh its colour, as the sun will slowly cause it to fade. Alternatively, you can jazz it up by repainting it entirely.
Over the years spillages and general use can combine to create decking in need of a little maintenance but that’s no reason to panic. Decking will require cleaning every once in a while; timings often depend on the time of year and the Great British weather. Start with a stiff sweeping brush and get rid of loose debris, then invest in some decking cleaner and give it a good scrub. Finally, rinse away with a hose and then wait around two days for it to dry. Following that, you can add a protective coat or re-strain/paint. If you opted for composite decking, you shouldn’t need to repaint or stain it.