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Planning your decking project

Plan your deck

Garden decking lifestyle image

Beautiful decking will add a luxurious touch to any home that you can personalise, accessorise and style to suit you. As well as the garden, it’s perfect for roof terraces or a balcony. It can be an open air kitchen and dining area or somewhere to sunbathe and unwind and anything in-between. Whatever your want your dream deck to be, we have everything you need to create your perfect outdoor living space.

Location

A deck adjacent to the house can be ideal but it depends on what you want to use it for. This will be convenient if you want to dine al fresco but if you want your deck to mainly be a place to sunbathe, it’s best to locate it in the area that gets the most sun. The great thing about a deck is that you can design and style it to fit in anywhere. It will make a beautiful focal point anywhere in the garden and because it's made of timber, it's easy to integrate it with a trellis and other timber structures. These offer shelter, screening, privacy and the opportunity to grow colourful climbing plants.

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Space

Your options depend of the amount of available space, how you want to use it and the lay of the land. In a level garden, you may be limited by the width of the space but be able to extend outwards. In narrow gardens, it may look better to leave a space between the deck and boundary fences. This would allow room to plant some climbers or shrubs to cover the fence, enclosing your deck in a leafy border. This will soften the edge of your decking and integrate it with the garden landscape. In a sloping garden, you will need to consider the drop and how to incorporate steps if necessary.

Garden decking lifestyle image

Plan your decking space based on what you want to put on the deck. The area needs to be big enough to accommodate any garden furniture you need with plenty of room leftover to move around freely. You’ll also need to factor in room for a barbecue, plants and anything else you wish to incorporate. To avoid your deck looking bare during winter, you can use pots, evergreens or ornaments to add interest. Hardwood furniture that can be left out in all weathers will look inviting in any season, so you may find you use your outside space more throughout the year.

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Straight or curved?

Plan your decking space based on what you want to put on the deck. The area needs to be big enough to accommodate any garden furniture you need with plenty of room leftover to move around freely. You’ll also need to factor in room for a barbecue, plants and anything else you wish to incorporate. To avoid your deck looking bare during winter, you can use pots, evergreens or ornaments to add interest. Hardwood furniture that can be left out in all weathers will look inviting in any season, so you may find you use your outside space more throughout the year.

Garden decking lifestyle image

Sun or shade?

In a spacious, sun-facing garden, you have the luxury of being able to choose whether to be in the sun, the shade or to have the best of both worlds. Timber deck boards in shady, damp areas may get slimy and slippery during the colder months but you can overcome this with regular cleaning and by using a non-slip wood treatment. If you need to create shade, think about incorporating a pergola.

You can drape it in a large-leaved vine to replicate a shady Spanish style courtyard or grow vibrant, fragrant flowers to hang through the rafters for an outstanding floral display. A pergola can also provide shelter from light showers and be really useful when entertaining.

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Complete your deck

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Railing and panels

Beautiful decking will add a luxurious touch to any home that you can personalise, accessorise and style to suit you. As well as the garden, it’s perfect for roof terraces or a balcony. It can be an open air kitchen and dining area or somewhere to sunbathe and unwind and anything in-between. Whatever your want your dream deck to be, we have everything you need to create your perfect outdoor living space.

You can treat them to integrate with the deck or paint in a complementary colour. If you want a simpler effect, you could choose a combination of handrails and spindles. These may be easier to fit to awkward dimensions that don't suit panels.

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Lighting

Carefully chosen and positioned lighting can be practical, decorative and create the perfect ambience for relaxing or entertaining. Pergolas are great for positioning string lights, as is any foliage. Some exterior lighting can be a bit harsh for decking but LED deck lights are specially suited. They come as neat, little fittings countersunk into the deck boards and can be extremely effective if you install them when you construct your deck. The wiring goes under the boards so they go unnoticed until dark.

They can add wonderful, soft uplighting around your pots and plants and if you position them to mark the edges, they’re also an unobtrusive safety feature.

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Adding colour

Decking boards come pressure-treated but as they will be out in the elements, you need to protect them to keep your deck looking beautiful. You can do this with lots of different treatments including deck oil, deck seal and deck stain. Decking oil sinks into the wood and is easy to apply. Used on dry timber, it's excellent at both preserving new decking and rejuvenating tired wood. Decking stains add colour and give you the opportunity to change the character of the timber completely.

Use a wood-toned decking stain if you want to retain the light, natural wood colour of your decking or you can create a completely different look with non-timber shades. Grey and black works well with metal furniture and contemporary black weave plus it contrasts with foliage to beautiful effect. As with anything in the garden, you need to consider how the colour you choose will work in the surroundings.

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Planting

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Blend your deck into the garden landscape by incorporating well-chosen and grouped pots and planters. It's a good idea to choose plants that won't shed faded flowers and leaves as these can stain the timber and be a slip hazard. Strong foliage such as phormiums and cordylines can look contemporary or even tropical, depending on how you use them. For a softer effect, big pots of lavender, rosemary and sage are aromatic and textural.

Decking boards are extremely versatile so if you’re feeling creative, you can use them to make your own boxes and planters to match the deck. Treat them in the same colour and they'll become part of the structure. If you’re going for summer colour, be bold with pots in one colour such as red geraniums, orange begonias or blue verbena. You could also coordinate your flower colours with your garden furniture or the shades of your interior to continue your theme.

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Help and advice

Garden decking - laying a deck

How to lay a deck

Our step-by-step guide will help you successfully cut, shape and install your deck boards.

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Garden decking - laying a deck

Maintaining your deck will keep it looking its best and increase its longevity. We’ll show you what you need to do to achieve beautiful, long-lasting decking.

Maintaining your decking