Decking | Print |
Pool Resources - Decking

Decking has become very fashionable as a result of its clean look and smooth texture in contrast to the rest of the space as well as the fact that it is a natural product and it’s a great alternative as a paver.

One of the main advantages of decking is that it will create the illusion of a feeling of more space, as a result of its clean lines – decking is a great alternative in small spaces as opposed to paving. I have done areas which were previously paved and they look so much bigger. Because decking is natural wood, it will soften areas that are quite built up. For example areas with extensive paving or retaining walls will be “softened” with wood. Decking on walls – a form of deck wall cladding – is also very popular as an alternative to normal natural stone cladding. This provides a new texture to use on vertical focal points in the garden.

Before you install a deck, levels need to be checked as decking should only be installed on well prepared, level ground, The decking will be screwed onto support beams which need to be made from well treated (CCA treated) wood that will not deteriorate beneath the decking. These support beams will either be screwed into a concrete base or if the ground is soft, then the use 100mm gum pole which is CCA treated, which itself is concreted into the ground, and the support beams attached thereto. To prevent weeds underneath such decks place a weed guard and crush to prevent weeds coming through the deck.

When decking around the pool, ensure your decking is not permanently touching water as this will cause any wood to deteriorate. Decking around water features should be monitored, whilst the odd bit of splash is not a problem, continual wetting of the deck as a result of a leaking water feature or constant splash will also deteriorate the wood very quickly. With pools, the deck should be at least around 100mm above the pool water level.

If you are decking on gentle slopes or near slopes then you will need to terrace the area, which in itself will create a unique design point. Decking looks great when different levels are incorporated with decking. This can provide a very contemporary feel. If slopes are too steep for a gradual drop in level spaces, then you may need to create retaining walls before you deck.

Decks are best used in just about any area. Whether they are used ornamentally (Cladding on a wall) or as a functional area – eg around a pool or alternatives to paving. The cost of decking as opposed to the cost of paving, probably prevents it from being used too extensively. So a combination of decking and paving can also be used, especially where a gentle slope needs to be improved by having one level in decking stepping down to a paved area etc. Decking can be used in high active areas but will require some maintenance every 6 months.

One should definitely use hard woods in decking – Green By Nature does not use exotic hard woods as the source of these cannot be ascertained and it may lead to the decimation of tropical rain forests. We use the hardwoods indigenous to Africa. This includes products such as Kiat, Teak and Cloeisana. –These are sourced from Zambia where only dead trees are used – The locals, instead of burning the dead tree, sell it on to the supplier, sustaining the local population, and ensuring the long term viability of the forest. There is a major concern with deforestation and I would suggest that the source of the wood is looked into. Other types of hardwoods include Balau and Rosewood. The wood need to be able to sustain the weather environment as well as the use of the deck, so things dropping on the deck will not cause it to dent. An alternative to the natural deck is the recycled eco friendly deck – made from plastics etc – these are available in South Africa but you need to see samples first as nothing does beat the real thing. However with the scarcity of resources these by far will be the longer term solution in decking.

Care for the deck would need to be done every 6 months. Immediately after decking, you should use specific products for decking. There are many varnishes on the market but we would suggest  you use Silkwood clear which is available from the wood specialists. This should have at least two coats initially. Thereafter every six months treat the wood with the varnish so that it stays well protected. The season will also determine the frequency as well as the level of use of the deck. Decking is maintenance!

Planting into the deck is a great contemporary effect. Planters can be incorporated into decks where the walls are also decked to provide a raised planted area. If there is an existing tree, the deck can be built around the tree with a light at the base of the tree so the lighting will be quite effective. Lighting and decking is really a great effect. Generally you can put pots on decks but I feel they will clutter a deck. IN addition the deck under the pots will become old and deteriorate if not treated as above.

Complimentary plantings around deck should be plants that don’t leave too many leaves to clean up. Strong focal plants such as Tree Aloes, Trachycarpus, Cycas Revolutas, Phoenix roebelinii, Aloes, Agave Attenuata combined with Ornamental grasses really show up decking. Planting should be simple and uncomplicated so as to compliment the deck area. It would be such a waste to have a beautiful shape of a deck ruined by a messy bushy garden with no structure to it. Other great plants to use – Sanseviera Cylindrica and Mother in Laws tongue, Philodendron Xanadu, Phormium Varieties. Formal garden design with the use of hedging is also a great way to compliment and even edge decking spaces, should you have more of a classical area.

INtead of containers you may wish to cut out squares or circles in the deck and plant into these spaces so as to break a space or area

 

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