Decking is a fantastic option to extend the area around the front of your annexe, and to give the impression of extra space. But with so many options available it can be hard to choose the right one for your garden.
Types of Decking Materials
The main types of decking materials that you will be faced with in any store will be softwood, hardwood and composite and there is also anti-slip decking which we’ll discuss later.
Softwood decking comes from fast growing trees, like pine, which is quickly replaceable. This makes this decking material the cheapest option, but it does have some drawbacks. Softwood is weaker than hardwood and composite decking, and won’t last as long. It also requires the most maintenance.
Top things to know about softwood decking:
- The cheapest decking material
- Easy to install
- Requires most maintenance as cleaning and treating with oils is recommended for longevity
- Lasts up to 25 years when well maintained
- Colour and finish is easily changed
Hardwood decking comes from slower growing trees like Oak, which can be far rarer and therefore are usually the most expensive decking option. Hardwoods can pay off though; not only are they very aesthetically pleasing but they usually last longer than softwood and require much less maintenance.
Top things to know about hardwood decking:
- The most expensive material
- Harder to work with
- Requires much less maintenance than softwood
- Can last for over 50 years
- Can look the most impressive
Composite decking is a modern material made from both wood and plastic, and because of this unique mix, it can look incredible while carrying features that pure wood can’t. It’s very waterproof, requires very little maintenance and can easily last for over 50 years.
Tops things to know about composite decking:
- Can be quite expensive
- Comes as both decking tiles or boards
- Least likely material to get mould or algae growth
- Easy to maintain
- You can’t stain or change the colour
- Some tiles come with LED lights built in
Extra Tips For Getting The Perfect Deck
Getting the perfect deck doesn’t simply require choosing the right material.
If you live in a particularly wet part of the UK, or you’re planning on adding a high-risk slip area to your deck, like a hot tub, you may want to consider how you’ll make your deck safe to use. There are plenty of options on offer, from anti-slip decking boards to inserts you can place into a different decking material.
It’s important to consider which might be best for you.
You can easily add storage, seating and even a drinks cooler to your deck.
A Mowing Strip/Decking Edge
It may seem a simple idea, but this can really make the difference from your deck being good, to looking fantastic. A mowing strip is an extra edge around your decking and can be made from gravel or brick. It adds a level of professionalism that most people won’t have – and you can even do it yourself. Just add some extra decking boards to your order, as well as some coloured gravel and a weed membrane to place under your bricks or gravel to stop plants growing through.
Build In A Planter
Planters are a beautiful addition to any deck, and having them built in looks incredible. Whether you’re building in a herb garden, a multi-level corner planter or you just keep things simple with a simple trough planter, the addition of greenery to any decking makes it look far more professional than just plain wood boards.
Building in matching seating to your deck can look spectacular. Not only can you create decking seating easily using your decking boards, building one yourself also means you can build in your own storage area under your seats.
Whether you’re going for a minimalist look and would prefer a metal and glass surround to your decking, or you’re looking for beachy rope handrails, installing a handrail around your decking can certainly add to the professionalism of your finished project.
Adding lights to your decking is much easier than you might think; you can even buy decking tiles with lights already fitted if you like. Lights can make your new decking look modern and are well worth the extra investment. Adding the right lighting not only makes your deck look higher end, but it also has the added benefit of allowing you to enjoy your deck after dark, so you can sit outside and watch the night sky in perfect luxury.
You can easily install a small drinks cooler into your decking. Simply buy a piece of outdoor guttering and fix it to your adjacent decking boards. Drill some holes in the bottom to allow for drainage, just add ice and your favourite beverages.
If you build a raised deck, or one with built in seats, it’s incredibly easy to add storage underneath. All you need is a few more boards and some simple hinges to create a lid over your storage area, and you’ll have a brand new space to store all of your outdoor gear, or maybe even a small store to keep your firewood dry if you have a fire pit or pizza oven on your deck.
A Pergola can be a fantastic way to upgrade your decking. Pergolas allow you to add lighting as well as vine plants so your deck can tie in perfectly with your home. It’s incredibly simple to build – you can even buy decking kits that include Pergolas to take the stress out of the build.