How to Lay Decking in your Garden and Transform your Outdoor Space

Spring is now officially upon us, which means longer evenings, warmer weather and many more hours of glorious sunlight. In addition to this, it is also a reminder for home-owners to begin preparing their gardens for the summer, whether they need to remodel their existing space or simply cultivate the soil for planting. For design and image-conscious home-owners, however, it may also be the ideal time to refresh the look of their garden and bring it in line with the most prominent contemporary trends.Springtime garden

One of the most prominent modern trends revolves around the development of outdoor furniture with an interior aesthetic, with the use of wicker particularly popular. A key component of 1970’s interiors, wicker is now enjoying a renaissance as material used in the creation of outdoor patio furniture for homes nationwide. It is also making a reappearance inside numerous homes throughout Britain, which offers you the ideal opportunity to create a seamless transition between the interior and exterior of your property.

How to Lay Decking in your Garden Space

Before you invest in some new outdoor furniture, however, it is important to create a place for it in your garden. This requires the installation of some high quality and well-finished decking, which can provide an even platform upon which chairs, tables and similar accessories can be carefully organised:

  1. Mark out the Decking Area and Clear the Site

Accuracy is critically important when you lay your decking, so you must start by carefully marking out the area in which you intend to work. This can be achieved using pegs and string, which mark the position of the deck and establish a clearly defined space in which to operate. It is then necessary to clear the site of any remaining grass, debris and unsightly weeds, before levelling the disturbed soil with a common, household spade. If you do intend to lay your decking over an area that was previously covered in grass, you may also want to invest in a weed-proof membrane and place this over the area prior to laying your decking.

  1. Place your Joists and Construct the Frame

Your garden deck is a basic wooden frame that sits on floor joists, which need to be carefully cut and positioned if your structure is to hold true. Begin by laying out the floor joists and ensuring that they are placed exactly 400mm apart from the centre of the site. You should then mark their precise positions within the frame, before cutting them to size if necessary and ensuring that they are all equal in length. Once this part of the process has been completed, replace the side and floor joists into their predetermined positions within the garden. You can then begin to construct your frame, initially by inserting 70mm countersunk screws into pre-drilled holes to secure the structure to the joists at each end.


  1. Lay your Deck Boards in an Accurate and Efficient Manner

Your installation is almost complete, and this is where your earlier planning and attention to detail can pay dividends. The next step is to lay the deck boards, which run at straight angles to the floor joists and must provide a sleek and well-presented finish. Start this part of the process by ensuring that each is cut to the required length and placing the first board at the forefront of the decking area. Ensure that it is level with the outside edge of the frame before using two 50mm countersunk screws to secure it into position. Working inwards, repeat this process for the remaining boards until the installation is complete, allowing a rough gap of no more than 5mm between each.

Laura has written this article on behalf of Shackletons, which is a leading home, garden and lifestyle retailer in the UK.

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