Our back garden has definitely seen better days. It is currently about 40% decking and 60% gravel. We are in the process of discussing our plans, and the budget.
We know with 100% certainty that our back garden can’t sustain grass as it’s too shaded and there is half a building site buried 6 inches below the surface. (The joy of new builds)! Hubby spent 3 years trying to get the grass to take, before we resorted to gravel. Now it is looking shabby as we didn’t maintain the decking as instructed, and a few planks have rotted. (They are 9 years old, though).
Our dream garden would consist of an artificial grass area for the kids to play and have picnics, a garden deck (or patio) area for us to relax, lots of plants which will create beautiful sounds, smells and sights for Sam to enjoy, perhaps with a small water feature as well. (Our son has Autism, so a mini sensory area would be amazing for him).
We also want to make sure the garden can be used all year round. Our current decking area is right by the back door, and it becomes incredibly slippery when wet. (Probably thanks to all the trees around the garden, shedding leaves onto the decking all year round, and the fact is hasn’t been treated for years).
I know that when you are able to maintain your garden furniture, it can provide an incredible finishing touch to the garden. It can add value to your house, and lets you enjoy dining outdoors.
If I am being honest, I dream of having a summer barbecue with friends, but our garden is more likely to be used to host play dates or a birthday party for the kids – the perks of June birthdays!
My current favourite thing to do is to curl up with my kindle on the swing seat while the kids play on their slide or trampoline. I think I’d have to keep the seat, but with the trampoline, slide and shed… we really need to plan our space carefully.
We’ve been doing a lot of research, and this is a brief summary of what the experts seem to agree on…
If you are ready to improve the outdoor décor of your home by building or improving upon a garden deck, here are four tips that will help you in the process:
Consider the Right Size
Before building your garden deck, consider the space you’d like to allot. Make sure you have the correct dimensions of the space to integrate this type of outdoor furniture in to your garden.
Equally, contemplating the purpose of your garden furniture is essential before deciding to make a decision to purchase. This is especially true when it comes to your garden deck.
As well as considering how many people you need the deck to accommodate, there is also the matter of additional features such as a dining table; a barbecue grill station or just a few comfy chairs. Thinking about the use of your garden deck will put you in the right frame of mind to determine the space needed.
Generally, the deck space to house space ratio is 20%. Your garden deck area should only take up 20% of the space your house does, to provide the right balance. However, it’s not a rule, so feel free to experiment.
Think of Your Deck as Another Room
If you think about it, a garden deck is no less than any room in your house, except that it is outdoors. You will get great pleasure from your outdoor space if you decorate as you would a room in your home.
Choose the best outdoor garden furniture, arrange for gorgeous night-time lighting and add railings to enjoy privacy at night.You can also add an outdoor lounge or even a kitchen in the garden deck. Make sure you finalise all these details before starting the design!
Always Choose High Quality Materials
Your choice of materials for your garden deck will have a considerable impact on the space’s long-term usability. For softwoods, Cedar is an excellent option. And hardwoods such as Oak and Teak give an incredibly stylish look to garden decks.
Connect Your House with the Garden
A garden deck can sometimes be a link between your house and your garden. Make sure to make the transition as pleasing to the eye as possible. Use beautiful flower baskets or charming plants to emphasise your garden area. You can also use a sliding door to connect one part of your house to the deck. For example, your kitchen can be connected to the barbecue station by a sliding door, which can make for the perfect entertaining suite during the summer months.
After reading all of that, and perusing the aisles in Bents Home and Garden last weekend, I am feeling very motivated to start operation sort the garden. I suspect it’ll be a labour of love over the next couple of years though. Hopefully we can get the decked area replaced this year and the artificial grass down. We have been looking into the installation of artificial grass, and it’s no easy task. Hubby would love it all done tomorrow, but I’d rather do a bit at a time and get it done well. If we can get that done this year, we will be able to sort the borders, lighting and furniture out next year, without feeling the pinch, or cutting corners on quality.
In my mind, the borders wouldn’t just be straight and boring. I’d love to get some climbing roses or such like, so the colour extends upwards, rather than just being at ground level. I think Sam would particularly enjoy lots of tall grasses, which sway in the breeze and make noises too.
As I mentioned earlier, I’d love to incorporate a small water feature within the borders too – something the kids couldn’t climb into, but which makes a calm, trickling sound. (I grew up with a fish pond in the back garden, and loved going to sleep and waking up to the soft sound from the waterfall). Something like this one would be perfect.
Lighting would definitely have to feature as well. Our garden is very shaded, so I’m not convinced solar lighting would be enough. We’d probably have to opt for mains powered lighting. I think I’d better be in charge of the shopping list though, or we are bound to go over budget very quickly.
Stay tuned to find out what happens next in the MotherGeek garden make-over!