Decking options for London garden designs

Enjoy walking barefoot on new low maintenance decking products such as millboard.

Enjoy walking barefoot on new low maintenance decking products such as millboard.

DECKS HAVE COME A LONG WAY SINCE THE DAYS OF QUICK TV GARDEN MAKEOVER SHOWS…..

Using decking in your garden can be a cheaper alternative to paving and with simpler preparation it is a cost effective way of increasing the size of your hard standing area. With the majority of decks being built from timber it gives the garden a very natural and softer atmosphere compared to paving. Decking is now available in a huge variety of finishes and materials ranging from basic value products that have earned decks a bad reputation for splintering in summer and becoming slimy ice rinks in winter through to robust maintenance free composite products such as ‘Millboard’ and ‘Eco Deck’.

There are 3 main types of decking:  Softwood, Hardwood and Composite so when choosing your decking type you should think carefully of the pro’s and con’s or each type.

Softwood Decking: Produced from trees such as pine, larch and spruce even though they are called softwood there are some examples of softwoods being harder than some hardwoods. 

Pros                                                                                                 Cons

Cost                                                                                                  Aesthetics

Readily available                                                                     Yearly maintenance

Easy installation                                                                        Shortest life span

Stain or paint to other colours

Economical

Photo 14-07-2016, 09 50 53

A basic softwood deck after 3 years

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Reclaimed softwood scaffolding boards used to create a deck

 

 

Hardwood Decking:  Produced from trees such as oak, bamboo, handroanthus (IPE), Iroko and Balau to name a few. With a large variety you can find and natural colour to suit your garden.

             Pros                                                                                    Cons

         Aesthetics                                                                                     Cost

Range of natural colours                                                       More labour to install

Durable – Long life span                                                                  Weight

Hard wood deck ages gracefully to grey tones if left untreated

Hard wood deck ages gracefully to grey tones if left untreated

 

Adding a deck can help create interest with height in a garden design

Adding a deck can help create interest with height in a garden design

 

COMPOSITE DECKING: Can be made up of recycled wood, plastic and resin or just plastic and resin depending on the manufacture. Examples being Millboard, TreX and Ecodec.

                                 Pros                                                               Cons

Very long life span (25+ Years)                                      Not as natural looking

Stain and mould resistant                                                                  Cost

Anti slip finish

Children and animal friendly

Hidden fixing systems

Minimal maintenance

In built up urban areas it can be hard to get much sunlight for lawns to grow so decking can be a practical alternative however, with less sunlight there is more chance of algae growth causing the deck to become slippy if not properly maintained or correct type of decking used. Decks in urban areas can be relatively small so there is more desire to use an aesthetically pleasing material. For a rooftop deck there are often weight/installing restrictions so choosing the right decking material is very important, composite decking generally comes out as a top choice because of its weight being lighter than most softwoods and hardwoods and also its durability. The choice of colours and grains available in composite are limited but they are slowly becoming more varied, such as millboard which has a natural grain effect imprinted on the boards. This grain effect gives the look and feel of natural wood without having the practical disadvantages of natural wood.

A harmonious flow between interior and exterior using Millboard enhanced grain 'Golden Oak'

A harmonious flow between interior and exterior using Millboard enhanced grain ‘Golden Oak’

We used composite deck to create this low maintenance pet friendly garden in South London

We used composite deck to create this low maintenance pet friendly garden in South London

Remember when buying any types of decking that the wood is ethically sourced and comes from an approved FCS supplier.

 Blog by Nick Lie – Landscape Manager at Garden Club London