A guide to garden decking
How do you feel about decking in the garden? This question has a tendency to be divisive. Those that are against will tend to fall back on one or more of the following arguments; that it is slippery, that it will provide shelter for pests, that it will not last long, that it is environmentally unfriendly, that it is ugly.
I would like to counter these arguments by stating that garden decking, responsibly sourced, expertly installed and carefully maintained will continue to perform through the seasons to bring you years of pleasure. So what separates the disasters from the dream decks?
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is the key to successful garden decking. I personally check every detail of every deck that our company installs. That means not only getting down on my hands and knees (as pictured above when checking off the final detailing of a Hampton garden design that resulted in an RHS award), but also making sure that we are involved in monitoring the whole process from the certification of sustainability in the plantation to the aftercare of the finished deck.
Sustainable garden decking timber
At Landscaping Solutions, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously (there will be much more on this later). That means that we use only FSC or PEFC approved timber and timber merchants. What does this mean? Well, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) are world-wide, independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisations representing environmental and social groups and the timber and forestry industry. They generate certification of forestry activity that incorporates clear guidelines and standards covering social, environmental and economic aspects of forest management. They ensure that there is a clear ‘Chain of Custody’. That is to say, they enable suppliers and consumers to monitor timber products along each and every stage of the supply chain through manufacturing, transportation and distribution; all the way from the forest to the garden. By adhering to a company policy of using only FSC and PEFC certified products, we are able to say with confidence that our ‘decking is green’. One such case in point involved the sourcing and installation of Opepe, an unusual and attractive African hardwood (very hard wood indeed!) which was used to good effect in this Clapham garden design.
Quality garden decking installation
Garden decking can be used to create a link between the garden and the property, to bring into use a neglected corner of the garden, to make the most of a sunny spot, to introduce interesting changes of level, to provide access to a view and so on and so forth. Decking is exteremely versatile, but it can also be a nightmare and a health hazard if incorrectly installed. Our decking is inspected by the British Association of Landscape Industries as part of our ongoing commitment to excellence, so you can be assured that quality comes as standard with a Landscaping Solutions build.
Above and below deck
We like to go that extra mile to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Many clients express concerns regarding what goes on beneath the surface of a deck. We are often questioned as to how we aim to combat the twin evils of weed and rodent infestation. All our garden decking is fitted with sub-surface weed resistant membrane as standard. Whether or not foxes, rats or mice are a problem in the garden, we ensure that all access points are blocked off with specially treated timber or concrete barriers so you can rest assured that all is well below decks. On the surface, the beauty of a well installed deck really shines through. A few years back we installed an Ipe hardwood deck that was used as the main entertaining area in this Richmond garden design by Justin Greer. The design revolved around a Mediterranean theme that incorporated raised block planting beds, a paved area and a water feature. However, I felt that it was the timber used to create the seats and the decking that really brought the garden to life.
Will the best will in the world, even the most expertly constructed garden decking will not maintain itself. Exposure to the rigours of the Great British Weather will eventually start to take its toll. For a quality deck to retain its looks it must be treated with regular bouts of tender loving care. That means a wash down and a scrub, possibly a quick sanding, followed by an application of a specialist decking oil or sealing treatment. If this regime is maintained once or twice a year, the lifespan of the decking and the clients enjoyment of their investment will increase ten fold. As a consequence the age old problem of slipping, caused by the build up of algal blooms and moss and particularly prevalent in the Spring, will become a thing of the past. Our Putney garden design clients manage to keep their decking timber in tip top condition by using our garden maintenance services. Regular visits by one of our RHS accredited teams ensures that the plants are expertly pruned and trained, the water feature is always in good working order and that all the decking is kept ship shape.
So when you are planning your garden this Spring, don’t rule out the idea of timber decking. With a bit of forward planning and a little ongoing care and attention, it can be an investment that will keep on giving year after year.
Keep in touch. Ben