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Decks and Patios

Alternative image for B&Q Kalestone Pergamon Porcelain 27800690 Multi 300 x 300mmPatio Slabs Alternative image for B&Q Kalestone Pergamon Porcelain 27800690 Multi 300 x 300mm

Buildings: Wooden shed | Metal shed | Plastic shed | Garden Office | Arbours and Pergolas | Summerhouses | Playhouses | Workshops | Log Cabins Outdoor living: Patios / decks | Planning a patio | How to lay a patio | Patio Slabs | Planning a deck | How to build a deck | Fences and Fencing | Structures, hints and tips

The addition of a hard outdoor surface, whether deck or patio,  increases living space  considerably, and will greatly increase the usefulness of your garden. If you have any interest at all in spending time outdoors it really is almost as essential to a garden as plants are. A transition area between house and garden can become a part of both and can greatly extend the season when you can enjoy your garden after the hard work of gardening is done.

    The alternatives are wooden decks or stone patios. Gravel doesn't really make a satisfactory surface to sit or play on, and while grass can be perfect for both, for much of the spring and autumn, it will probably be too wet and muddy to be pleasant to go on.

    Hard surfaces are the most expensive form of ground cover (more so than many fitted indoor floorings), so make sure you are using all of the area usefully. Pots can be placed in corners where you are unlikely to tread, but it seems a waste to me to put them on useful parts of the patio or deck, you may have paid £50+ for the area where your petunias are standing.

Position & Size

The first thought of a patio or deck is often of sitting out sunning yourself, gin & tonic in hand while contenting yourself that you are master of all you survey (well at least as far as the fence anyway). A little extra thought will give you an area that can used more frequently.

The obvious position for a deck or patio is usually immediately outside the patio

 doors or back door of the house. This is convenient for many reasons, particularly if you have small children so they feel close to the house when playing and can easily be kept an eye on. Don't underestimate the importance of this with small children - garden makeover programmes often have the play area at the bottom of the garden, well we all know that's where the ghosts and monsters in a child's imagination live. Have the play area near where the adults will be and it will get used much more unless you are prepared to sit out with the children not doing much.

If you intend to eat al fresco very often and have barbecues or parties outside, it's easier to service these if the kitchen is nearby. Bear these in mind if you are thinking of an area away from the house.

    As an absolute minimum 3m square (10ft x 10ft) will allow you to get a small round table and 4 chairs with a bit of elbow room. 3m x 5m (10ft x 15ft) is more realistic for a family with one or two children or a couple who like to entertain. If you go larger than this, pay more attention to how the area fits in with the rest of the garden. Is it beginning to dominate? Is privacy becoming more of an issue?

Sun, shade, shelter from wind & privacy

 These are the other major considerations. It's better to have a sunny patio than one in the shade as you can always make shade but you can't make sun! 

Remember that sitting in direct sunshine in summer can be uncomfortably hot. Parasols can provide an elegant solution and have the advantage of being removable when the sun doesn't shine. Another solution is something to give dappled shade, a pergola with trellis as a roof, or my preference - climbers supported with wires, give a nice effect. Ideally, to extend the season of use there should be some possibility of shade in mid-summer, but not in spring and autumn when the sun is warm without being overpowering, deciduous climbers can help here. 

Avoid most trees near your patio or deck, exceptions are those with a light open canopy such as birches (Betula spp.) and Robinia pseudoacacia "frisia", though be wary of these being too close to the house. Most other trees would give too dense a shade. Almost any tree planted within 1-2m will in time begin to lift your patio with its roots, decks are not affected in the same way and can be constructed around the base of existing trees.

Shelter from wind is also very important when sitting your deck / patio, if everywhere seems to be windy, consider erecting a pergola screen for protection. 6ft x 6ft trellis panels held up by 3" square posts are effective and you can plant climbers at the base of the trellis to soften the effect. Trees, a hedge, or large shrubs on the windward side of the garden can also help considerably to curb the wind. An extra 2 ft of trellis on top of a boundary fence is also very effective (and doesn't usually need the planning permission that a taller fence might).

    Decks should really only be positioned where they are in the sun for most of the time. If too shaded, they remain wet and slippery (or at least more slippery than when dry) for longer, which will also reduce the life of the wood. Patios are better for shady places and whereas wet wood can look rather dreary, wet slabs / bricks aren't so bad. Remember if you are reading books on decking most of them are written in and for countries that don't have our damp maritime climate.

   Dealing with manhole covers. Houses, particular new houses it seems for reasons that are not entirely clear, are frequently surrounded by one or more manhole covers that look unsightly and make it difficult when laying a patio around them.

One solution is to deck over them. It may seem rather drastic but it certainly works very well, there are some new houses that have four of five covers within a small area and there's really little that can be done to disguise them. The usual device of getting a pot and placing it on the cover tends to draw attention which defeats the object. Decks are raised about 6" or more above ground level and so make it easy to hide the covers which can be accessed fairly easily by lifting a couple of boards if necessary - when was the last time you needed to access a manhole cover?

Cost - varies greatly, make sure you know what slabs / bricks or wood you are getting before you commit.    

DIY or not

Decks and patios can be installed by the competent (important word that) DIY'er. They are not for beginners, they are major projects and often hard heavy work. Make sure you know what you're taking on before you start, that you have the right tools, that you are carrying the work out to the correct standards and that you are using the right materials.


Decks   Laying a patio  Power drills   Power saws   Patio Slabs

Decking Supplies

Reversible Treated Deck Board Smooth/Grooved Pack Of 60 Green Treated (L)3600 x (W)144 x (T)28mm

Reversible Treated Deck Board Smooth/Grooved
2.4m Deck Board each £5.98
3.6m Deck Board each £8.58
4.8m Deck Board each £13.48
Pack Of 20 Deck Board 2.4m £107.60
Pack Of 20 Deck Board 3.6m £169.60
Pack Of 20 Deck Board 4.8m £206.60
Pack of 120 Deck Board 3.6m £895.38

144mm wide and 28 mm thick Deck Boards for you to cut to fit.
To build a deck from scratch you'll need a firm base.

Treated Decking Joists Green Treated (L)3600 x (W)144 x (T)44mm

Decking Joist Green Treated 2.4m each £3.48
Decking Joists Pack Of 20 3.6m - £365.88

Green treated decking joists 144mm wide and 44mm thick, use to build a firm base for your deck.

Softwood Treated Deck Pack Green Treated (L)3600 x (W)2400 x (T)17mmPre-treated Decking Kit Packs:
3.6m x 2.4m  £407.98
4.8m x 2.4m  £501.98
3.6m x 3.6m  £509.28
4.8m x 3.6m  £622.68

Treated Reversible Deck Boards: Thickness - 28mm, Treated Decking Joists: Thickness - 44mm, Width - 144mm, To build a deck from scratch you'll need a firm base. High quality Finnforest Deck Boards & joists will give you a quality deck that has been manufactured to last, 15 year manufacturer's guarantee against rot and insect attack

Easy Build Deck Kit Green Treated 2.05m x 2.1m - £270.98

If you're looking for a high quality deck but don't have the time or skills, then look no further than this ingenious interlocking deck kit, The timbers are machined so that they slot together and interlock.

Timbadeck Decking Screws 4.0 x 65mm Pack of 100  £3.65
Timbadeck Decking Screws 4.0 x 75mm Pack of 100  £3.95
Timbadeck Decking Screws 4.0 x 85mm Pack of 100  £4.25
Timbadeck Decking Screws Bucket 4.0 x 65mm Pack of 1300  £19.99

Coated high grade steel for extended life. Sharp point, sharp thread and reduced shank allow easy driving without splitting wood. For timber decking and other external timber applications. Prodrive recess. Bugle head. It is recommended to use stainless steel decking screws with pilot holes when installing hardwood decking.

Deck-Tite Screw Bucket 8ga x 2" (4.5 x 63mm) Pack of 1000  £29.60


Dewalt 18V Combi DrillCordless Drill / Drivers

Titan TTD272DDH 14.4V Ni-Cd Drill Driver  £44.99
Erbauer ERD182DDH 14V Drill Driver  £84.99
Makita 6281DWPE3 14.4V Cordless Drill Driver  £149.99

1500w Circular SawCircular Power Saws

Direct Power DPB212CSW 185mm Circular Saw 230V  £29.99
Erbauer PSC1585L 185mm Circular Saw 230V  £69.99
Sparky TK 65 185mm Circular Saw 240V  £99.99

Prices for guidance only, correct at time of writing, subject to change

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