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Article by: Ryan Thomas
Is your garden the great sanctuary you’d like it to be? Does it give you space to relax, invite friends and dine al fresco? Or, does it lack a little inspiration?
Adding different levels to any garden can help carve out socialising and relaxing areas. And, that can add to the sense of space.
Decking is a great choice for getting started on your garden design and landscaping projects. And, installing wooden decking is easier than you think. So, here are a few tips about the types of decking, and how to care for decking.
The Different Types of Decking
When it comes to choosing the best timber for decking, there are a few things to consider. First, think about your available time for repairs and maintenance. Or, your available funds to pay someone else to do it for you! Second, think about your overall budget for the area you want to cover. And finally, consider safety for you and your family.
One of the main complaints about wooden decking is that it isn’t durable. This shouldn’t be the case. To ensure the wood you’re using for your decking is fit for purpose. Make sure it bears a “Quality Scheme” symbol. Most countries have a scheme guarantee run by their Timber Decking Association. It will assure you that the wood your using is OK for use as decking.
Softwood Decking tends to be the cheaper option. Although pine and spruce are popular. They do require regular wood preservative treatments.
Cedar is a little more forgiving, as it has natural weather-resistant properties. But, softwood can be susceptible to damage. It’s not the best choice if you enjoy parties, barbecues or have young children.
Hardwood Decking like oak, teak and cherrywood are popular choices and very durable. What you choose will depend a lot on the colour finish your after.
All decking will need preservative treatment such as paint or a stain. Just make sure it’s designed for decking to ensure it’s non-slip. Treated decking will generally have a 25-year life-span as long as it’s well maintained.
Composite Decking is a very low-maintenance decking. And, it’s available in a range of colours to suit most people.
Other plus sides to composite decking are that it’s less likely to splinter. It won’t rot and can withstand accidental damage a little better. It doesn’t require wood treatments either, of course.
But, composite decking isn’t without its downside. For a start, it doesn’t have the same look and feel of real wood. It can also become mouldy in shady areas. And, it’s prone to be more slippery than wooden decking.
Caring for Your Decking
There are things you can do to stop decking from becoming slippery. Try pressure washing it every couple of months to avoid algae build up. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer don’t worry. A broom and bucket of warm water will do.
Also, make sure to sweep away fallen leaves regularly as well. It will stop them becoming wet and sticking.
If slipping is a concern, there are non-slip metal inserts you can add. Put them between decking boards or tiles for reassurance.
Make sure that any dents or cracks in the decking are treated as soon as possible. Whether their accidental or general wear and tear get them seen too.
On wooden decking, ensure preservative, paint or stain is applied quickly after repair. That is one of the best ways of stopping any cracks getting worse. If a crack is unsightly, you could consider adding some wood filler. Then give the repair a cover coat to match the overall finish.
Adding Finishing Touches to Your Garden Decking
Decking Lights - can add sparkle to your new decking. They look fabulous in the late evening. You can flush the LEDs into the decking floor, step or staircase.
With the right skills and tools, LED lights are easy to install. But first, there are things you will need to know about LED lighting. LEDs are a new technology, so the more you know the easier installation will be for you.
You can place potted plants around the LEDs to create a dramatic up-lighted look. Metallic finished pots will reflect the light and look even better.
If you like to have parties, colour changing lights are a fun idea. Don’t forget to choose a new table and chairs for the decking as well. And, make sure you have a parasol too. That way, you will be able to eat outside in the blistering sunshine.
Decking Rope - can add a nice decorative touch. Most decking will have a handrail of some kind. In most cases it will be made of either wood or rope. Wood is sturdier but I think decking rope looks so much better.
Decking Art - such as a garden sculpture is something you may want to consider. Or, even better, a small water fountain instead.
Wall art, mirrors and garden clocks can help define any area. You can turn your decking into your outdoor dining room with a few clever touches.
Decking Heating - is essential and there are several methods you can use. They include an open fire, infrared heaters or butane gas patio heaters. They are all safe to use providing everyone behaves responsibly. You can even buy a table with a built-in firepit. That is of course a great talking point at parties.
Decking Seats - can be built into the decking if you wish. You could ask your installer or timber supplier for some ideas. Or, if you’re building the decking entirely by yourself. Try looking at websites like Pinterest or Houzz for inspiration.
A nice finishing touch to the seating would be some outdoor cushions. A few of those will add colour, comfort and soften the look. And, outdoor rugs will complete the style and give you that designer feel.
Enjoying Your New Garden Decking
Finishing your garden decking project is the perfect excuse to throw a celebration! Perhaps you could celebrate the anniversary of moving home. Or, a big birthday or some other important moment in your life.
Spending a little money on your decking project is a wonderful gift to yourself. Something you can enjoy throughout the summer and the warmer autumn nights. Just think of all the barbecues you're going to host. And, all the gin and tonics you’ll drink whilst enjoying your brand new decking.