Decking Guide

Decking is a type of outdoor floor capable of supporting weight which is often raised from the ground.
In its practical role it is used to improve access around the garden, to create a further area to entertain and to counteract uneven surfaces.
In its visual role, it adds an aesthetic element to the garden and often becomes the centre of attention.

If you are considering garden decking, you will find some of the common types in this handy guide to garden decking options. Talk to Anglia Garden Design to discuss further options.

Types Of Decking:

There are only a small number of suitable materials that can be considered for the job at hand. The material must be able to accommodate challenging weather conditions, dense enough to offer sufficient structural support and lastly affordable to suit various budgets. The three most common materials that meet this criterion are hardwoods, composite and plastic.

Hardwood: Decking of the hardwood type are made from highly dense woods that contain high level of natural oils to repel water. Common hardwood species used in decking are Teak, Ipe, Iroko and Cumaru. Indoor hardwood species such as Oak and Walnut offer the required strength, but lack the natural levels of oils to secure long service life. Nowadays, hardwoods should be sourced from managed forests so your decision to fit hardwood does not endanger other habitats. Look for the FSC seal (stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’) that certifies the origin of the wood when it has been proven to originate from sustainable resources.

For: Gives an unmistaken impression of natural material. Garden designers can cut, bend and manoeuvre hardwood to suit many shapes.

Against: Of the three options, hardwood is the dearest of them all. When left unclean, the surface can become quite slippery and so requires regular cleaning. Depending on the precise species, you will probably need to apply a fresh layer of oil once a year to ensure the wood’s water repellent properties.

Composite: Decking of the composite type may look identical to hardwood depending on the balance of material. Each plank is made from plastic and fibers of hardwood (leftovers from flooring and furniture manufacturing), so a higher ratio of plastic will give the deck an artificial look and the other way around of course.

For: A strong structure that will offer many years of service life. Does not require particular care, only basic cleaning. Can be made from recycled materials and finally, depending on the quality can resemble hardwood.

Against: High quality examples will cost the same as hardwood. High levels of plastic will contribute to an artificial look. Unlike hardwood, the material does not age and after a while may look out of place.

Plastic: Decking of the plastic or PVC type are made in a chemical process that solidifies polystyrene (of styrofoam) and painted to resemble wood. The surface is machine treated to give the texture of wood.

For: The deck is incredibly resistant to even the worse weather conditions and unlike hardwood or certain types of composite it will not expand or contract due to changes in temperature. Offers an affordable option to cover large areas or when budget is tight.

Against: In most cases a plastic deck will look quite foreign in the natural surroundings of the garden. In a similar manner to composite, while the rest of the garden will mature nicely with the years, the deck will always have the ‘just fitted’ look which some garden owners reject.

When considering garden decking, it is worth consulting with a garden and landscape designer to ensure that the deck is practical, visually attractive and that you have selected the most suitable material as the basis for the deck. Information by Wood and Beyond ( UK based FSC suppliers of hardwood flooring, worktops and decking.