Sometimes, you will want to be able to walk on part of your garden without walking on the grass, essentially creating a floored area at one end of the garden and perhaps also a path through it. The most common way of doing this used to be concrete patios, but they are fast falling out of fashion. Today, more and more people are instead opting for wooden decking.
Decking can be built either straight over the top of grass, or on top of an existing patio. It is not difficult to build yourself: normal decking is just a grate-style frame with beams every metre or so, and then planks of wood fixed to the top. If you’re unsure then you can buy the parts from a garden centre, but if you have built things out of wood before then decking is really a surprisingly easy project. It is best to leave the decking unpainted and natural, both for maintenance reasons and because it tends to look better.
When you assemble your decking, a good tip is to use screws and an electric screwdriver, instead of nails. Not only does this save you some effort, but it is much more likely to hold up against the elements and other wear the decking will get.
If your decking is going to be raised high up above the garden, however, then the assembly will not be quite so simple, as for safety reasons you will also need to fit a balustrade. Balustrades are the ‘safety bars’ structures you get on things like balconies, coming up to about stomach level, and if your decking is high enough up that children or pets could be hurt by falling off it then you definitely need them. While you could build one yourself, there would be no guarantee of its safety, which is why it is better to buy one from an experienced supplier that conforms to all the relevant safety regulations – it will have been manufactured using industrial techniques to make it much more secure and resistant than one you could build yourself.