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.
Readily available Yearly maintenance
Easy installation Shortest life span
Stain or paint to other colours
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.
Range of natural colours More labour to install
Durable – Long life span Weight
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.
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
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.
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