decking design ideas
Decking has grown in popularity over the last decade, as it is a practical alternative to slabs or pavers for a patio material. It will blend naturally with its surroundings, and is comfortable to walk or sit on. It will dry quickly after rain, is easy to care for and the method of construction of a raised desk makes it ideal for uneven or sloping ground.
At the DIY centre you will have a choice between hardwood & softwood timber.
This has nothing to do with actual hardness of the wood, it refers to the trees the timber has come from, hardwoods generally come from broad-leaved trees and softwood from conifers. Most decks are made from pressure treated softwoods as they're cheaper, widely available and easy to work with.
Hardwoods come in a wide range of wonderful colours, but are more expensive and generally require more aftercare. Some unusual hardwoods which can be used to create a stunning coloured deck are...
• Tatajuba, a golden olive colour
• Ipe, (pronounced ee-pay) a dark olive brown
• Iroko, similar to teak - a warm brown
• Yellow Balau, weathers to dark red-brown
• Western red cedar, a warm red
Remember to always ensure the wood has been obtained from a sustainable resource - look for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) label.
plain, ribbed or grooved decking boards
Although it is traditional and most economic to lay the decking boards at 90 degrees to the house or wall, experiment with laying at 45 degrees or other patterns such as herringbone or diamond for example. Deck boards can be bought in a range of sizes, from 35mm to 150mm wide and a choice of surfaces is also available - plain, ribbed or grooved.
You may also like to add a handrail or balustrade - to either create a more enclosed area, or provide an effective barrier. There are many different styles to choose from. A relatively new product which is used in much the same way as decking are boards made from a combination of reclaimed wood and plastic, or wood polymer composite products, both alternatives to traditional timber giving you the best qualities of both materials. They will not succumb to the weather and rot.