How Decking Improves Your Garden

There are many straightforward, cost-effective ways to improve and update the dynamism and look of your garden. From a quick, simple mow, to putting in fresh flowers and plants, there’s a lot you can do, but decking is one of the few revamps that not only changes the look and feel of your garden, but also the functionality, giving you somewhere to sit, relax and perhaps enjoy a barbeque. Fitting a deck can be a very wide-reaching and effective decision when it comes to improving your backyard.

What is Decking Exactly?

Decking is a multi-purpose, often wooden, surface that can be constructed in any area of your backyard to give you a comfy, clean seated area and raise the overall value and style of your garden. With literally thousands of designs and interpretations, you’ll always be able to find the style that complements your garden perfectly, and because of the nature of decking, you’ll often be able to create more bespoke, interesting designs. Decking always really comes into its own on a hot summers day, or during a garden party, as well as really opening up the potential space in smaller gardens.

What are the Benefits to Having a Deck?

When considering investing in some quality decking you should be fully aware of what you and your garden stand to gain, as well as the potential altering power of a well-placed deck in your garden. One of the less considered benefits of fitting a deck is the fact that an area you were previously having to regularly mow is now covered, meaning there’s less mowing overall, and anything that minimises a boring chore is always a good thing, right?

Obviously, with your new deck fitted you now have a fabulous new function area in your garden, ideal for barbeques, parties and gatherings. I’ve seen bands at parties using decking as a makeshift stage! Even when you’re not celebrating an occasion or just throwing a party, you’ve still got a clean, sturdy, mud-free area to dine al-fresco, potentially all year round (with a cover and heater). Everyone’s got that little ugly bit of garden, where the grounds uneven, or maybe where there used to be a compost heap. That’s the ideal situ for your new deck! Remove an eyesore and replace with a useful, attractive new feature.

Generally, brick or concrete steps down into your garden aren’t a feature most people point to in their garden, when going over its finest points. Why not replace them with a shiny new deck? The fact is, a potential new dining area, as well as a prettier route down into your garden, is always going to be an improvement. On top of this, fitting a deck really beefs up your garden’s, and therefore house’s, value. A lot of people talking about wanting a deck when they’re looking at a new house, and, in this way, it could really help you sell your house, when you’re looking to.

The fact is, the improvements new decking poses to your garden are myriad and invaluable, and if you’ve not already considered the possibilities of having your very own deck, you definitely should. If you are considering decking for your garden, then contact the specialists at decking Herefordshire.

Different types of Decking

The options for garden decking materials are not just limited to wood. There is nothing wrong with wooden decking, but if you are after something a little different, have you thought about Composite, PVC or even Aluminium?

Wood is regarded the most traditional type of material for decking, with its strength, versatility and durability. Alternative material options should not be overlooked as they may prove less costly and be more fitting with your design ideas. Whichever you choose, all can be visually appealing, adding a further dynamic to your outdoor space.
So, what are these alternatives all about?

Composite decking

Consisting of wood fibres and plastic, composite decking is designed to appear as wood. Usually available in planks, composite decking will not expand or contract with changing temperatures and moisture levels, thus it will not split, warp or crack like solid wood can.

PVC decking

Polyvinyl chloride also known as PVC. One of the most widely used materials in the world, known for its strength and adaptability. Often chosen because of its low cost, with the added benefit that it is virtually maintenance free in comparison to wood.

Aluminium decking

The next big thing? Lightweight aluminium decking, with a range of design options available, we often see it used in public places, balconies and staircases. It is fast becoming popular with decked areas too. Aluminium lends itself to non-slip, self drain and maintenance free decked areas, so it truly is the complete opposite to wood.
Keep in mind the phrase style over substance. Whilst the choice of material is part of the design stage, remember not to choose it just because of how it looks. Visual appeal is important, but needs balancing with functionality. After all, what is the point of a beautifully decked area if you can’t use and enjoy it!

So we’ve covered a couple of alternative materials, but are there alternatives to decking?

Decking is a relatively new concept in the UK, but it is quickly becoming the homeowners’ preference over patios and terraces. Timber decking in particular offers so much more than a patio, which may require little maintenance but offers little else.

A timber deck will –

  • Provide a comfortable surface for walking, sitting and even lying on.
  • Enhance the aesthetics of your garden.
  • Creates a tranquil, natural environment to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Hide garden sins such as drains, inspection covers and uneven ground.
  • Lends to modifications and can be easily extended.
  • Minimal excavation and ground work preparation when installing.

The possibilities of garden decking

Consider a decked area as an extension to your property. Either free-standing or built against a wall, there are so many possibilities so that the area can be enjoyed by all.

Many homeowners will opt for decking to provide an outdoor entertaining space, a barbeque area, or comfortable seating for relaxation. Alternatively it can be transformed into a child’s play area, which is ideal if the garden isn’t suitable for the children to have free reign.

A decked area can disguise slopes; areas of poor grass growth; it is often a less expensive option to landscape gardening.

Early stages

If you like the idea of incorporating a decked area into your garden, start by sketching out a basic plan for your property and grounds. You can then mark the areas most suited to being decked.

Take into consideration which parts of the garden see the most sunshine, offers the most privacy from neighbours and is in close proximity to your house. Be mindful of any pipes and drains that could be covered by your decking and ensure that you retain a level of access to them.

Once you have decided on the exact location, get measuring! This will allow you to work out the materials that you will need as well as calculate the cost of the build.

The build

Preparation is the key, so use your plans to mark out an accurate perimeter of the decked area with lengths of string. Ensure the ground beneath has been thoroughly cleared and flattened before laying the decking fabric to prevent weed growth.
The installation of decking will begin with erecting the framework for the structure, and is followed by fixing the deck boards into place.

Deck boards are pressure-treated with a long lasting preservative treatment but the colour will fade after a few months. Many like the faded, rustic look so will allow the wood to naturally change colour, whilst others will elect to use exterior penetrating oil which will soak in and nourish the timber.

Wooden decks will always require a level of maintenance for as long as you intend to keep them, so at least once a year you will need to;

(1) Check all boards, look for protruding screws and splintered wood. Carry out repair work when necessary.

(2) Wash the deck with a clear solution (available from garden centres), to remove dirt and algae.

(3) After you have carried out repairs/cleaned the deck, always re-apply wood treatments.
All year appeal

As a form of hard landscaping, the benefits of timber decking compared to other traditional hard terraces and patios are:

(1) Wooden decking provides a comfortable surface to walk, sit and even lie on.

(2) It can be designed in a way that enhances the visual appeal and usability of your garden.

(3) It is excellent at concealing unsightly necessities such as drains and inspection covers.

(4) It can be easily modified or extended without compromising use or original design.

(5) Reduces the requirement for hard landscaping such as excavations.

(6) It is good for the environment compared to other materials that are used in the garden. Not forgetting the efficient usage of the by-products, such as sawdust and chippings.

Garden Decking Maintenance

These days, many homeowners invest in decking areas to utilise much needed outdoor space, with the added benefit of increasing the value of the home. It is therefore surprising that many people are not aware that decked areas require maintenance, and if totally neglected can eventually become an unusable and unsightly space, especially after the winter months.

Wood is a natural material, and if left untreated it will be affected by all elements, such as sunlight, rain, frost and snow. Over time, this will result in a loss of colour to the wood, as well as a build-up of slime, mildew and dirt.

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Cleaning

There are numerous cleaning solutions available in DIY stores, garden centres and even supermarkets. It is advisable to keep with well known branded products, and if someone is on hand to advise ensure you explain the type of decking you have, if it has ever been cleaned, its current state etc. Before treating your decking it is important that you clean it thoroughly, removing any mildew and dirt. You don’t necessarily need to invest in any special tools to clean a decked area. A sweeping brush and elbow grease should be sufficient! To remove stubborn stains invest in a hard bristled sweeping brush to ensure that all grime is lifted and removed, it may be a case of repeating the cleaning process should the area be particularly dirty. If you have a jet washer it can be used to remove dirt in any grooves or harder to reach places, but be careful not to damage the wood should the jet washer be a heavy duty one. Once cleaned thoroughly it should then start to resemble its original colour.

Treating

Like the numerous cleaning products that are available, there are several options when it comes to treating decking. It is advisable to seal decking, which will preserve the wood, and eliminate weathering. Decking oils can be purchased from DIY stores and garden centres. Sealants (or decking oils) will come with instructions as to how to apply the solution, it will usually require 2 applications applied with a paint brush. You can buy oils that are tinted to enhance the woods natural colouration.
If your decking is brand new, and you are planning the first treatment it is worth investing in an oil or stain specifically for ‘new wood’. This will penetrate the wood, thus protecting from the elements, minimising swelling and cracks as well as leaving it waterproof.

How often should you clean/treat your decking?

This can depend on the type of wood and finish, how often the decking is used in terms of foot traffic, and how kind the weather has been to us!

The tell tale signs to look out for are:

Blackened wood, as this is an indication of fungus. This is common if the weather has been particularly wet for prolonged periods of time.
Faded wood occurs if the wood becomes sun damaged, and often leaves the decking looking very grey.
In both cases you can purchase specific products which will nourish the wood, thus reviving its original form and colour.

The best advice is to keep your decking clean and tidy all year round. This is easily achieved by regularly sweeping the area of leaves and garden debris which may encourage dirt and damp, and every so often using a good decking cleaner.
Remember to check underneath the decking to ensure that the spindles have not become dry or are suffering from damp/mould.

If using products for the first time, be sure to test them on a small discrete area of your decking to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Always read manufacturer’s instructions, and be mindful if using products around plants and ponds.

Remembering to clean and apply treatments when necessary will leave your decking looking as good as new all year round.

Could Decking Transform Your Garden?

These days more and more people are investing time and money into their homes. We have interior design programs providing inspiration and ideas, to high street stores selling a wide variety of furniture and accessories, at affordable prices. As well as having a well modelled home on the inside, people are also starting to invest just as much thought into the outside.

With garden furniture and accessories becoming so readily available, it’s fast becoming easier for the homeowner to transform the garden into a much more useable space. With this in mind, many consider garden decking as the most versatile and effective means of transforming the outdoors.

There are a number of options when considering garden decking, from single-level decking to a more complex structure with varying levels. You can incorporate lighting into the design; you can plan out which areas are for entertaining, children’s play, or relaxing. With the right planning and design, you really can transform your garden into additional living space.

Not only is garden decking aesthetically pleasing, it can also allow you to use and enjoy your garden to its full potential. For example, if your garden slopes, or consists of very stony earth, rather than incurring the heavy costs of landscaping why not deck the area? This will effectively cover any lumps and bumps, whilst providing you with additional space to use as you wish.

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Some of the benefits of a decked area

There are many variations of decking options available; it is therefore a good idea to have a plan as to what purpose it will serve, ensuring that you get the best out of it. When designing a decked area consider the garden and what it already offers. It is important that the decking ‘fits in’, and doesn’t look out of place with its surroundings.

Appearance and relaxation
Decking is an ideal platform for plants and shrubs, thus making it a visually appealing centre piece for the garden. By using the decking as a level foundation you can incorporate a water feature, large potted plants and trees. This will provide a tranquil and relaxing space, somewhere to relax after a busy day at work or with the children!

Entertaining
Many use a decked area as an outdoor space for entertaining. It is easy to furnish, a table and chairs for outdoor dining, or loungers and comfy chairs/beanbags for a more relaxed atmosphere.
You can include lights, whether they are built in to the decking or are free standing. These can be carried on throughout the garden, transforming the look and feel of the outdoors in the evenings.
If you really want to splash out, think about a hot tub! Bringing luxury to the garden and fun for all the family!

Play
Many families will use a decked area as a safe play area for children, a place where outdoor toys can be stored, with enough floor space for children to play comfortably and safely. If you intend to use a specific area of the decking for this, you can look into a softer floor covering such as wood chip.

By enlisting the expertise of a professional, you will be left with a beautiful garden, where the outdoors compliments the indoors. The decked area should flow, and should look like a natural addition to the landscape. It not only adds to the appearance of your property, but will also increase its value.

Whatever the reasons, a well thought out decked area can make a huge difference to you and your home.