If you’re looking to create a separate entertainment space in your garden, either for soaking in a hot tub, lounging on deckchairs or hosting dinner parties, then wood decking is a great option. You might even be feeling brave enough to have a go at installing the garden decking in the outdoor space yourself. If so, the following DIY guide to laying decking will come in handy.
The essential materials you’ll need to lay decking include the following:
Your decking boards
A carpenter’s square
Chalk or builder’s line
Last but not least, a pencil
Top tip: You should use a weed membrane to treat your decking boards before laying them. Otherwise, weeds could end up seriously spoiling your garden decking.
Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to installing decking. Proceed slowly, repeatedly checking that your work is level and stable so that it will last you for years.
Answer: yes, it’s possible, although it requires more groundwork and makes for a more challenging, riskier project. How you handle it depends on the kind of ground you’re dealing with; if it’s sloping, you can use support posts to keep your decking level, while if it’s uneven you can create a level base to correct it.
If you’re installing support posts, you’ll need to begin by digging a hole for each post that’s about 1 foot deep. Cut your posts to the right height for your wood decking and fix them in the holes using concrete mix. Fix joists to those poles that form the outer sides of the decking and then lay the boards as previously described.
If you plan on creating a level base, dig down about 20cm into the area that you’ve marked out for your decking. Build your decking sub-frame and use stone paving slabs placed along the middle and edges of the frame to create a balanced, sturdy surface for your decking boards.
Yes, you can.
Yes, but it’s not advisable. Grass and soil are risky because of their softness and instability. Extensive preparation is required to ensure that installing decking on grass or soil won’t cause you problems later.
On grass, you need to clear the area where you plan on putting the decking of any weeds or rocks. Dig out the ground to roughly 5cm, using a spirit level to check it’s even. Put down a weed-proof membrane to protect your wood decking from weeds and fill it with gravel to serve as a solid base. Now you can build your decking on top.
Soil is pretty much the same process. If your soil isn’t very compact and firm, you might want to consider using hardcore too, so that your decking has a surer base.
Whether you’re laying decking on grass or soil, you might want to use concrete paving slabs to create a level and more durable foundation for your decking.
If you want to save time and make it easier for yourself, you should consider using composite decking instead of wood. Composite decking is longer lasting and, unlike wood decking, it doesn’t need treatments like painting or staining before it’s ready for use. Another time-saving alternative is decking tiles, which clip together, speeding up the process and ensuring that all the tiles fit smoothly and seamlessly.
For safety, you might want to add a handrail to your new decking. You could attach your handrail to some support posts using more decking screws.
You can find more advice on laying decking here: https://www.wickes.co.uk/how-to-guides/garden-landscaping/plan-lay-a-deck