Before you construct a deck in your garden, it is important to make sure you build a shape that enhances your garden and use materials that are long-lasting. You could be looking at your deck for a very long time, so let’s make sure you get it right…
There are a plethora of different decking materials you can choose, from recycled plastic to hardwood and softwood. In order for softwood to last, it has to be treated with preserving agents, and even then the lifespan isn’t as good as choosing a natural hardwood. So, for this post we’re going to concentrate on hardwood decking.
So Why Choose A Deck In The First Place?
○ Compared to other types of structures, like brick and stone, decking looks more natural in the garden, especially if allowed to weather.
○ Decking is very versatile it can look good in both contemporary and natural style gardens.
○ The wood species used for decking contains oils which seal the wood from the elements. Other types of flooring which are exposed to the weather will struggle to reach the same lifespan.
Deck Design Tricks
The other really good thing with decking is the fact it’s so linear means that you can accentuate the length or width of an area depending on how you use it. If you have a particularly small space, use the narrow width decking because your eye will be fooled into thinking the area is bigger because of the quantity.
Get Creative, Think Past The Straight!
One way to really show off a space is to create interesting shapes. Incorporating curves and mixing the deck with other materials can create really beautiful effects. It takes a bit more time and skill to create curved shapes, but it’s well worth the extra effort. Experiment with putting other hard landscaping elements with your deck, like stone and gravel.
Which Woods Are Used For Decking?
While there are many wood species which are used for furniture, only a selected few work as decking wood. The wood has to cope with foot traffic and last for many years together with containing natural oils. The three most popular woods are Iroko, Ipe and Teak.
|Iroko: popular because it’s unaffected by insects, fungus, acids or alkalis, making it ideal for decks.|
|Teak: popular due to its natural oils which eliminate the need for preservatives and sealants.|
|Ipe: popular as a decking material due to its insect resistance, durability and natural fire resistant.|
I haven’t actually tested just how fire resistant Ipe is, so I don’t recommend you try setting fire to it!
What About The Environmental Impact?
When purchasing any type of decking, you need to make sure that the wood has come from a managed forest. Even better if the supplier is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) accredited, so you are sure that the wood is sourced from sustainable habitat. The FSC is an international nonprofit organization formed in 1993 to encourage better forestry practices and those who are accredited must meet strict guidelines.
Is It A Pain To Maintain?
Decking requires regular cleaning and from time to time and a fresh coat of oil. It will weather if it’s not oiled regularly enough but can be sanded and re-oiled to get the colour back. With the right up keeping, it can reach 30 years of use. Which is pretty good for a natural material that needs to cope with extreme cold in winter, and in summer, hot conditions.
Many thanks to the guys at Wood n Beyond for helping me with this article and providing some of the pictures. (I’m not affiliated with them but they were jolly helpful answering all my decking questions so I thought I’d give them a mention – go check out their decking website for further information).
If you have any deck related questions, please leave them in the comments below.
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