Building Garden Decking – Step by Step DYI Guide

If your looking to start a new decking project, then this guide to laying garden decking will give you all the right information to help you plan and make the most of the space in your garden.

Your ABC Guide To Garden
Your ABC Guide To Garden Decking

Decking can transform your garden and make it a much more appealing place to relax. But like all good decking and building projects, it must have the right foundations to last the test of time.

Complete DIY Guide To Garden Decking

This DIY beginners guide to garden decking will teach you the basics on how to utilise your garden space no matter the size.

Choosing type of decking board

Checklist 1_ What is the end game_
Planning Your Garden Decking!

Before choosing type of decking board ask yourself following questions:

  1. Will it have to hold a hot tub?
  2. Is it just for general dining?
  3. Will you use it for garden parties?
  4. Is it for a pool surround?
  5. Quiet reading and sunbathing?

Deck for Hot Tub

Will it have to hold_load a hot tub_
Garden Strong Enough For A Hot Tub

If this is the case, then you will have to allow for the weight of the hot tub, which means a more robust decking frame.

These are the requests you must make when purchasing your joists:

  • Check with your DIY store before buying any materials
  • You will need to use hot tub decking boards and use the right footings and timber frame type: 4×2″ treated joists.
  • Allow for hot tub draining purposes before choosing a location for your deck
  • Non-slip! Remember water is slippery so make sure you purchase non-slip boards or non-slip decking oil
  • If these are past your budget, then use a non-slip decking oil. Here are our recommendations on decking oils

A filled Hot tub is heavy! Plus, water is slippery. Always remember that you will have to drain your hot tub at some point.

Remember this when planning your DIY decking project because flooding can become a real issue when you release over a thousand litres of water.

Deck for Dining Purposes

General Dining Purposes_
General Dining Purposes?

If your just planning on using your decking space for general dining then here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Allow enough space for your dining table and chairs
  • Will you be able to sit and stand comfortably
  • Position your decking with the evening sun in mind
  • Use hard wearing decking boards
  • Build your decking closer to the kitchen for easy access

Deck For Garden Parties

For Entertaining Purposes
For Entertaining Purposes

Will you be using your DIY decking for parties and recreational purposes?

Then there are some considerations when building your decking project:

  • Allow enough space for chairs, table and standing areas
  • Railings are a great idea if you will have guests standing
  • Stairs will avoid your guests tripping or falling
  • Consider a canopy or pergola in case of bad weather
  • A non-slip decking board will also prevent trips and falls

Deck for Pool

For A Pool Or Hot Tub Surround
For A Pool Or Hot Tub Surround

If you have a pool and want to surround it with decking, then you will want to consider:

  • Enough room for sun loungers, they can be much longer than you realise
  • Always use non-slip decking boards when near water
  • Handrails are still a great idea, especially for wet and dry towels
  • Use stairs at the point of entry this avoids tripping

So, you have decided how you are going to be using your new DIY decking project!

Now its time to decide what decking design you are going to use. Below are some favourite models of mine.

Choosing Size and Shape of Decking Board

  1. Size
  2. Location
  3. Access

Using these simple points, you will be able to plan your decking project and have a far better idea of what your decking project will resemble.

The size and shape of your decking projects are restricted by the size and shape of your garden.

If you have a big, medium or small garden, then we have some useful tips below to help utilise your space and way of your garden.

Decking Boards for Smaller Gardens

If you have a smaller garden, your decking can still have the wow factor! Because decking will always make your backyard seem more significant than it is!

Here are some tips when utilising space in a smaller garden when being restricted for space.

  1. Position your board’s lengthways; this gives the impression of a more prominent area in general
  2. Use different levels and make use of handrails and steps
  3. LED lights also go well in a smaller garden especially at night times and early evenings
  4. Using mirrors and or reflective material will also give off a more impressive larger decking area

Decking Boards for Medium Gardens

A medium-sized garden is excellent for decking because your project will not suffer the restrictions of a smaller garden!

You will have more space to play with, and you can have different shapes and a more comprehensive selection of extras.

A medium garden can also reap the benefits of lengthways decking boards to create a visually larger area.

TOP TIP* Remember not to get to carried away because you will need to maintain this area once or even twice a year depending on the climate. To keep your decking looking fresh and to avoid deterioration we would recommend you deep clean and stain your decking regularly.

Types Of Decking Boards

COMPOSITE DECKING
COMPOSITE DECKING

Decking supplies are common, and there is a wide variety of decking boards, rails and other decking accessories sold in your local covers, B&Q, or DIY store.

In this section of our ABC guide to decking, you will find the different types of decking, shapes, and extras to give you some ideas for your decking project.

Hardwood Decking
Hardwood Decking

TOP TIP* When measuring your decking area, make sure you use stakes to mark out your space. Connect measuring strings to each post and measure the area you are planning to utilise for your decking project. Using this method reduces the chances of over or even under ordering your decking materials and decking accessories.

Choosing A Good Location

Choosing a good location for your decking is also an essential part of organising your DIY decking project.

Here are a few tips to getting the most from the position of your project. Choosing the right location is critical to the success of your project.

  1. Where is your sun in the evening or midday, is your garden south or north-facing? This is one of the most critical factors when positioning your Do it yourself project. Do you want the sun in the evening or the morning? But, remember that having the sun beaming down on your decking at midday will age it considerably within a few years.
  2. Decking does not have to be connected to your house or straight out the door; you can use walkways and have it sitting back from your home. Utilising handrails and stairs will create a better wow factor and sometimes look much more professional.

TOP TIP* Plan your decking project around utility holes and underground pipes, this will avoid having to remove your decking at a later date because of a burst pipe or blocked utility hole.

Choose Location for Decking Access

The final part of your decking project and probably the most basic is where you access your decking. If you’re not using handrails, then this is not something that will concern you, unless you want to use steps for safer access onto your decking.

But, if you want that wow factor then using handrails, benches, LEDs and other extras will make all the difference to your project.

  1. Using steps to access your decking is a must, this is because there is a high chance of a tripping hazard
  2. In general, there should be two access points to your decking depending on the type of decking look you want

9 out of 10 decking projects will connect your outdoor space to your house, so having an entry point to your garden will make all the difference to the finished project.

DIY Decking Project FAQ’S

Can I lay my decking straight on the floor?

No, No, and no again, this will cause your decking boards to soak moisture and rot. It is always better to elevate your decking boards, so they are not in direct contact with the floor.

What size joists should I use for my deck?

Joist size highly depends on the size of the project! The bigger your decking project is, the bigger the joists will have to be. If your deck is UNDER 18 feet, then 4/5 inches by two inches joists will suffice. If your project is over 18 feet, then six/seven-inch two-inch Joists will be needed! Another important point is to always use hangers to connect joists to a parallel joist because it’s much safer and will strengthen and avoid dropped joists.

Can I use CLS for my decking?

No, because when CLS timber gets wet, it will expand and fall apart. It is always best to pay extra and invest in treated wood for the frame. Treated timber lasts longer and is kiln-dried for strength and durability.

Can I lay decking on concrete?

Yes, but the concrete must be stable and level. If you are going for this option, then be sure to use blocks to raise the frame from the floor due to water rot. If you are going to lay your DIY decking project on concrete then dig some holes and post the frame a few inches from the floor, this will make a more sturdy project.

Can I build my DIY decking on a sloped garden?

Yes, there are a few options for a sloped garden; you can stagger the decking with a step or build a frame that is level and then build steps for easy access. Having a slope in your garden should not stop you from starting your DIY decking project. It can look great with lights, rails and LED lights.

6 thoughts on “Building Garden Decking – Step by Step DYI Guide”

  1. Thanks for the tips and in-depth guide on decking, just one question? Would you suggest I use a membrane under the boards? I want my decking to last a long time and have them rot in the past!

    Reply
    • yes, 100%! Or you are going to have weeds and plants shooting up. Another option would be to use a salt mix and spread it over your membrane if you are using one!

      Reply
  2. Thank you for a great decking guide, I have not completed my project and would like to thank you for sharing your knowledge on this topic. I have covered an area of 8m2 and I am very proud of my achievement! Hattu

    Reply

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