Decking can be a wonderful addition to your home. It gives you a versatile surface on which to place furniture, barbecues and other garden adornments in order to create a separate area of your garden to be used for relaxing and entertaining, perfect for the Summer months.

It can also be fairly simple to install yourself, providing you have the right tools and materials. And of course, as with any DIY project, preparation is the key. So here is our handy guide for preparing yourself and your garden for the installation of your decking.

What's the decking for?

Before you head out and purchase the materials you need, it’s important you’ve got it clear in your head the reason as to why you want decking in the first place. Is it going to be a space for entertaining? Or are you planning to use it as a decorative feature? Is it an area where your children can play without covering themselves in grass stains? Or are you planning to install a hot tub? All of these factors will affect where you place your decking and how you build the structure. For instance, a play area might benefit from railings around the outside. If the decking is going to be used to house potted plants, then you may wish to position it further from the house so it can serve as a focal point in the garden and create less of an obstacle in passing through the garden. Have a think about what you want to do with your decking and plan accordingly.

Space available

It’s essential that you measure the space available to make sure that your decking will fit in the space and, importantly, that the remainder of your garden can still be used and that the decking isn’t causing too much of an obstruction. If in doubt, underestimate the amount of decking you will need – it can always be extended at a later date.

Location of the decking

You may already have an idea of where you want the decking, but if not, consider these points:

  • The view from the decking. Is there an area of the garden, such as a flower bed or water feature that you would enjoy looking at from your decking? The view and surrounding environment are essential to creating the ambience you want from your outdoor living space;
  • Proximity to the home. Do you want to be able to step through your french doors onto the decking? Or would you rather the decking was farther from the house in order to create more separation. For instance, if you’re using the decking for outdoor cooking, you may not wish for smoke and cooking smells to get into the home and so may want to lay your decking farther away.
  • The slope of the ground. While you may have found the ideal location, the slope of the ground could lead to issues with the installation process. Although not insurmountable, these problems could cause delays which could be avoided if there is a more practical location available in your garden.
  • Privacy. This is particularly important if you’re planning on using the decking for entertaining or if you’re installing a hot tub.

Decking style

There are various different styles of decking available, from the traditional horizontal style, to diagonal chevron and picture frame styles. Consult with your supplier on the styles available and ensure you find one that you feel fits your home and lifestyle appropriately.

Decking construction

Are you looking for a simple flat decking, or something raised with several levels? Decking laid on a slope will need to be raised at one end at least and may require stairs leading up to it. You may also wish to install a balustrade, particularly if there is a drop-off on one or more sides. A balustrade can also be decorated with flowers and lights to create a cosy atmosphere in the evenings.

At Frank Key, we provide all the tools and materials to make sure your decking project is a success. Our expert staff are also prepared to answer any questions you might have when getting started and throughout the process. Take a look at our decking page to see what we can offer you.