Your garden is an extension of your home, giving you and your family hours and hours of entertainment every year. Whether you are into al-fresco dining, looking for an alternative to paving slabs or just want a flat area for your garden furniture, wooden garden decking is a flexible way to achieve an outdoor living room/kitchen/dining room combo and can quite easily be installed by the keen DIYer.
There are several things to consider before getting into DIY decking though, to ensure that the decking you end up with is fit for purpose and gives you many years of enjoyment.
What do you intend doing on the wood decking?
Sounds like a stupid question but probably the most pertinent one. Depending on your intention, there will be several other factors to consider. You may be planning a small decked area within a city courtyard or planning a 20m run across the back of your house for you and your 4 children. Either way, size and overall dimensions must be considered and written down .. a simple pencil and paper will help get your ideas down 🙂
Consider the height at which the new wooden decking level will be. How will this attach to the house? If at all? Is the decking going to lead muddy feet into your beautiful living room? Do you need a gazebo or awning to cover your seating area? How big does this need to be? Keep scribbling with your pen and paper .. there is no right or wrong answer 😉
Does there need to be any steps up or down? How will these be safe? Will small children or elderly relatives be able to navigate them successfully?
Safety for you and your family
Always ensure you use appropriate materials for the job and if you have concerns, consult a professional tradesman. It’s not worth taking the risk and getting it wrong. Ensure the use of proper decking screws and anti-slip deck boards. Remember that wooden deck boards will rot unless they are pressure treated .. make sure the joists, supports and framing are all made from pressure treated material also.
Garden Decking Materials
There are so many options now available for decking materials. However, the vast majority of home decking systems are built of softwood with a ribbed topside to prevent slipping. This is mainly due to cost as it does work out to be the cheapest overall. Hardwoods are becoming more popular, species such as oak and eucalyptus can be sourced locally if you seek out a specialist.
However, you may wish to consider different types of wood, recycled materials or even thermally treated wood that is more environmentally friendly.
Decking Designs / Decking Kits
If this is your first attempt at decking you may want to start off with a simple rectangular area. However, if you are feeling adventurous there is simply no limit to what you can achieve in your garden with decking .. it really is personal choice. Check out garden and home magazines for inspiration of use google image search for some ideas also. I’ve never found a good site for listing different decking designs .. please comment below if you find any web links that others may find useful.
Hopefully, you should now have a good idea in your mind where, what and how you are going to start your next garden decking project.
I have separately listed my walkthrough guide to installing wooden decking on a separate page. Otherwise, this one would have started getting too long 🙁
Hope this has been some help .. Gardener Jack