Garden decking will make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your home and garden without breaking the bank. Decking is available to most home owners because of the lenient planning permission requirements and it can be designed and constructed to suit the size and shape of your garden.
Garden decking does not generally need planning permission, though in some rare cases it does. Planning permission is required if the decking is within 20 metres of a highway or more than 300mm from the ground. If the decking will affect the value or privacy of neighbouring properties, then it will need planning permission before you can go ahead and build it. Planning permission is also required for garden decking if it is attached to a listed building or the property is situated in a conservation area. If you are in doubt about planning permission for your garden decking, ask a professional before building anything – otherwise you may have to tear it down again.
Garden decking is built from either hard wood, from broadleaved trees, or from soft wood, which comes from coniferous, evergreen trees. Whether the wood is ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ doesn’t actually determine how tough the wood is and according to the Timber Decking Association (TDA), 90% of decking is made from pressure treated softwoods so that they can resist fungal decay.
Garden decking does require some maintenance to keep it looking good for many years but you can be sure that if you maintain it well, the decking will last a long time. Although the wood will be good for many years, dirt or grease can discolour it. It is recommended that you use a pressure washer to clean the decking once a year. You can also treat the wood with a specialist cleaner in order to remove dirt and return the decking to its original colour. The TDA also recommends you give the decking a “frequent brush with a stiff broom” to prevent algae or fine mosses that can cause the decking to be slippery when wet.
The cost of garden decking varies depending on its size, the type of wood and whether you need specialised decking that is, for instance, supportive enough to hold a hot tub. Garden decking is generally less costly than other major home improvements such as installing or renovating a kitchen or bathroom. A rough price guide for the cost of garden decking is £80 per metre squared of decking you want installed. Hire a professional to install your decking for best results and make sure they are accredited, such as by the TDA. This will ensure that your decking is of a good quality and installed safely and correctly.