A deck can be a stylish and useful addition to your home that will enhance your property, its value and your lifestyle.
But only if it is the right deck located in the right place and properly constructed.
Mistakes will delay the completion your deck installation and could prove costly.
If you are thinking about installing decking, there is much to consider if such an addition to your property is to work well for you.
Here are six things to consider before you begin to install decking:
- The purpose of your deck
It’s important to decide how you might wish to use your deck, now and in the future. Its proposed function will influence the choices you need to make regarding the size of your deck, its location and the materials used to construct it.
Would you like to use your decking as a seating area, a place to entertain or somewhere to dine outdoors? Perhaps you feel that it should serve all these purposes. If the deck is to be a multifunctional space, what features do you need or wish to incorporate? You might require a larger decking area than you first thought.
Will your decking always be used for the same purpose or do you plan to change its usage at some point? It is advisable to future-proof your decking installation by ensuring that its size and location enable you to repurpose the area.
- The Location of your deck
There may only be one possible location for your deck. Alternatively, the right location for your decking could seem obvious. But it is worth considering all areas of your outside space before making your final decision.
Do you wish to make the most of the sunshine when seated on your deck or would you welcome some shade?
It is worth thinking about the prevailing winds in your area and positioning your deck so as to protect you from these. A deck adjacent to your property or a fence will provide greater protection from the wind.
Locating your deck next to your house could enable you to fit a canopy that will provide protection from rain.
Do you wish to give yourself a great view of your garden, a certain area of your garden or of the countryside beyond? If your property affords you wonderful views, why not make the most of them?
Do you value your privacy? If so, this could dictate where you locate your deck. If your entire garden is visible to neighbours, you could erect a privacy screening or plant to create a natural screen.
- Decking materials
It’s important to select the most appropriate material for your decking. Your choice will be influenced by your budget, the look you wish to achieve and the level of maintenance you are able to cope with.
Softwoods are popular choices as they are budget-friendly options. Softwoods such as pine, cedar and redwood are treated to ensure they are weather-resistant and boast a warm feel. But these materials are less durable than hardwoods and require regular maintenance.
Hardwoods including teak, oak and ipe are more durable and long-lasting than softwoods but are also more expensive and will require regular maintenance.
You could opt to use composite decking. This is made from wood fibres and plastics and is long-lasting. You won’t benefit from the look and feel of wood, but composite decking requires minimal maintenance and is created from recycled materials.
- Lighting and functionality
Once you have decided where your deck will be located and the materials it will be constructed from, it’s time to decide what features you would like to incorporate.
Lighting should be a major consideration as your lighting choices will impact how and when you are able to use your deck, your safety and the ambience of your outside space. Think about the benefits of recessed step lights, path lights, wall-mounted light and spotlights. Are there specific areas of your decking that require brighter lighting?
Do you wish to enhance the functionality of your decking by featuring built-in storage? This could prove useful for garden supplies, kids’ toys or cushions. Stylish storage would lift and personalise your space.
- Do you require planning permission for your deck?
In most cases, decking installation will not require planning permission. Decking falls within your permitted development rights and so won’t need planning permission so long as:
- The decking is no more than 30cm above the ground.
- Together with any other extensions and outbuildings on your property, the decking covers no more than 50 percent of your garden.
- The deck is not located beyond your property’s front elevation.
Please note that if your property is in a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty or a national park, you will need planning permission if:
- The deck is to be located more than 20 metres from the house and is larger than 10 square metres.
- The deck is located within 20 metres of a highway.
- The decking will impact the privacy of neighbours.
- Your property is a listed building.
- Choose the right decking installer
Decking installation is a significant investment and so it is crucial that your project is completed correctly. By choosing skilled, experienced and professional decking installers, you will give yourself the best chance of achieving both outstanding results and greater peace of mind.
If you don’t know how to install decking yourself, you should always seek professional help. Installing composite decking or wood decking is a serious and time-consuming undertaking.
Whether you are looking for composite decking installers or wood decking installers, look for experienced contractors who can provide references and show you examples of their work. Online reviews can also prove useful and could flag up any issues but cannot be relied upon. The best deck installers will be constantly in demand and busy. This means you may need to be flexible on timing, but superior work is usually worth the wait.