Garden Decking Ideas & Maintenance Tips

There are few things more enjoyable than spending a summer evening outside, surrounded by a quiet garden, tree-lined yard, or manicured lawn. Many homeowners enjoy such evenings through the use of a deck, a relatively easy and very common home improvement addition, yet one that makes spending time at home vastly more pleasurable. Garden and backyard decks allow homeowners and their guests access to the tranquil, private settings of a garden anytime, and prove perfect locations for an informal dinner, evening drink, or afternoon tea. This makes the time and money that goes into building a deck a great investment for almost any homeowner.

When it comes to building a garden deck, homeowners have a number of options. Chief amongst these options is whether they plan on installing a deck that is directly attached to the home, or a freestanding deck elsewhere on their property. The primary benefit of attaching a deck to the home is that the deck will derive the vast majority of its structural support from the home itself. This requires a little less planning than does a freestanding deck, however, when a homeowner decides to attach a deck to his or her home, they obviously limit their ability to choose the placement of the deck on their property, as it must be directly adjacent to the home itself. Attaching a deck to the home will also often require that homeowners remove the siding of their home to attach the deck to floor joists or wall studs, which will determine the height of their deck as well.

For homeowners who wish to build a garden deck on a part of their property not connected to their home, a freestanding deck will need to be built. Freestanding decks are slightly trickier to construct due to the fact that they need to support themselves, but this generally means little more than extra digging and some additional concrete work. The fact that they can be placed anywhere on a property, and do not involve any construction work on the home itself appeal to many homeowners, making freestanding decks a very common option for homeowners less familiar with construction projects.

As mentioned previously, a deck that derives support from the home will be within a small range of pre-determined heights, as it will have to connect to joists or studs at a certain point on the outside of the home. However, for homeowners opting for a freestanding deck, there are two additional options to consider. The first of these options is a ground deck. A ground deck sits only slightly above ground, almost acting as a raised plank floor. Ground decks are ideal solutions for spaces over existing concrete patios or rough (but relatively flat), un-landscaped ground, and are quite easy to construct.

The other option for a freestanding deck is that of a raised deck, also known as a high deck. Raised decks can range from rather simple to very complicated to build, but can be placed almost anywhere on a property. These are popular with homeowners who live on properties that include sloping ground conditions, and can be built as balconies, bridges, and even act as multi-level stairs from the upper levels of a home down to the garden level. Many raised decks will also include a storage space beneath, increasing their utility to homeowners.

Once a type of deck has been selected, homeowners can continue with the design process, tailoring the design of their new garden deck to their needs and to the specifications of their property. At this point, they will need to begin researching the various building codes of their area to determine which, if any, building permits will be necessary to proceed. From there, they can design more detailed plans, and move forward with the construction of their new garden deck, whether attached or freestanding, a ground or raised deck.

Once a deck has been constructed, unfortunately the work doesn’t end there. To keep a deck looking as good as new, homeowners will need to use wood preservatives to feed and protect the timber from the outside elements. A few hours painting and maintaining the deck once a year will be well worth it when your garden looks great for decades!

Sam D Goddard recently undertook a lengthy and major home renovation project. Using experience from this project, he writes articles on elements of home improvement that he came across including oxalic acid.