What do I need to know about installing decking in my backyard?

The most popular home renovation project for Victorian families is adding a deck, and there is good reason.

Adding a deck to your backyard can add more living space to your home, increase property value, cohesively bring the outside in, and most importantly provide a relaxing spot to enjoy your summer afternoons and evenings.

There are a range of considerations to take into account before installing a deck in your Melbourne backyard, such as materials, purpose, design, construction and compliance.

Our team of professional landscapers have given us some direction on what you need to know about installing a deck in your backyard so you can spend more time dreaming up your ideal deck instead of worrying about how to make it happen!

Decking Material Options

Before choosing the material to use for your new deck, make sure you consider not only the aesthetics, but other important aspects such as durability, functionality, maintenance requirements and cost. In Australia we have 3 popular options for the construction of a new deck.

Timber Hardwood

The most commonly used timbers used for deckings is hardwood due to its durability in harsh Melbourne weather conditions. The most flexible options include blackbutt, spotted gum and merbau, which are all suitable for almost any function including outdoor kitchens and fireplaces due to their fire resistance.

Treated Pine

Treated pine is more affordable than timber hardwood, and due to its lightweight nature, it is also easy to install. Although it will withstand mould and termites, it is not as durable as hardwood so it requires more effort in the upkeep.

Composite

Composite decking is a popular choice in Australia because it requires the least amount of maintenance. It doesn’t rot due to its dense mix of wood fibres, vinyl and/or plastic, but it is a little more expensive than the other options. This option has anti-slip properties which makes it perfect for poolside decks.

Functionality

There are so many ways you can design a deck. It can be overwhelming with so many options in terms of design, coverings, add ons, colour, materials and layout so it is best to first consider what your purpose is. If you plan your deck around your lifestyle you will ensure you maximise the functionality and enjoyment once it has been constructed.

Consider what the purpose of the deck is, ie) do you want to have the whole family over for summer barbeques? If so, do you have the right amount of space for the dining table and people to move around comfortably? Do you plan on having a lot of potted plants on the deck? If so, it may be best to be uncovered.

Will the kids be spending time on the deck after splashing around in the pool? You may need to consider a special waterproofing sealant. Create a list of what is important for your new space and be sure to discuss it with your professional landscaper before beginning construction so they can advise suitability.

Outdoor Deck Types

There are certain deck types we recommend to solve different problems such as:

Pool deck

A pool deck compliments your bathing experience by providing a relaxing space to sit poolside after your swim. Generally, a pool deck is designed to integrate the inside with the outside so you can see the kids swimming from inside the home. Composite timber is often used for poolside landscaping due to its anti-slip qualities.

Be sure to use a professional landscaper who can advise on pool safety regulations when installing decking and surrounding fencing and recommend a high-quality oil to protect your timber from the water splashing.

Entertainer’s deck

Melbourne’s most trending deck this year is the entertainer’s deck. Fully customised to your dream space, your options are almost limitless to create a spectacular entertainer’s delight. Your dream entertainer may include a fully functional outdoor kitchen with sinks, BBQ, and fridges, and 12 seater dining tables, or perhaps it features a firepit, fans, bar with wine fridge and soft pendent lighting.

Whatever your idea of entertaining perfection is, your landscaper can create it! If you are interested in outdoor kitchens, be sure to discuss plumbing and gas with your landscaper before you begin construction.

Viewing deck

A viewing deck is designed around the existing backyard and is normally slightly elevated. Similar to a balcony, it frames the view from the decking area so you can read the paper or enjoy a cup of tea whilst enjoying the spectacular views of your beautiful gardens.

Low maintenance deck

A covered or enclosed deck is the lowest maintenance deck as it protects the timber from the weather conditions. Not only does it protect the deck, but it will also protect your outdoor furniture, cooking facilities etc to save you time and energy covering everything up when it is not in use.

Split level deck

A split level deck can be a great solution to separate different areas of your outdoor space. You could design different levels and coverings for the barbeque area and a greenery area. Creating different levels not only creates more space but can look very impressive and modern.

A split level deck also invites opportunities to open up your space with stairs to specific regions of your premises. A lot of split level decks also have built in seating and storage as well to maximise your space.

Wrap-around deck

The ultimate way to take advantage of the sunlight at all times of the day is to create a deck that wraps around your entire property. This can be extended in the front and back to create different spaces for different functions. Although this classic country style deck is unique and functional, be sure to keep in mind you may need to invest in railings to increase your privacy and hand railings and balustrades for safety.

Compliance

Decks require different permits in different regions. Be sure you apply for council approval and all relevant permits before you begin construction, or you may have to remove it later, and you could potentially be fined. If your deck is more than 1m you must also have a railing which complies with Australian standards, and if your project is more than $10,000 it must be completed by a registered builder or landscaper. Your professional landscaper or registered builder should be able to provide compliance direction.

At Creative Image Landscapes we offer a complete service from start to finish, taking the stress out of the whole project. We can design your project, take care of all the permit requirements and construct the decking to our company’s high standards.

You can just tell us what you envision, then let us sort out the rest, knowing that our professional team will complete all necessary requirements to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable deck area.

Although a deck is a relatively simple way to enhance your lifestyle and add value to your property fast, it can be difficult to decide on the materials, layout, colours and design.

If you would like to discuss your ideas for a new deck area for your backyard in Melbourne, Bayside, South East Melbourne or the Mornington Peninsula with our landscaping experts, please contact us here.

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