Garden Decking Designs – Freestanding Deck
This example garden provided a site that was of no use to the owners, sloping away from the rest of the garden. It was in partial shade, was made up of dry soil and a had a fence and wall on two sides. Not even the grass grew well. Awas seen as the best way of dealing with all the problems and the slope was levelled off without too much work.
The deck’s primary use was to be as an attractive and useful section of the garden for sunbathing and relaxing in the evening. With this in mind the deck needed to be large enough for two sun loungers as well as a table. As the deck was in a ‘plantless’ part of the garden a built-in planter was used to bring a touch of colour into the otherwise dark corner beneath the shade of the trees. The deck boards were laid parallel to the step position, drawing you into the deck.
At the moment the deck is a little stark and exposed but a feeling of enclosure could be achieved by adding a trellis panel planted up with quick growing climbers at an angle to the brick wall, following the edge of the deck.
1. Lay out the size required for the deck and, using a number of offcuts as markers, place them over each corner. Measure each of the five shorter sides until all are equal in length, then measure the two longer sides.
2. When all sides are the correct length mark each for cutting, taking care to measure the outside of the frame. Cut each to size and at a 45° angle. Place the timber in position and check the lengths and angles once again.
3. Check diagonal measurements with a tape before assembly to check for square, because it is important that the sides are parallel. If they are not placed in a parallel position, the deck boards will not run square across the deck.
4. Before screwing the first corner together, paint each cut with preservative. It is important to get the corner at a 90° angle so that the rest of the angles fit together correctly.
5. Screw the 45° corners together. Alwaysthrough the angled timber in to the end of the joist. If the wood starts to split, drill a piolet hole through the angled timber, but not through the timber behind.
6. Using a measuring tape, check that the position of the deck is parallel to the wall as it will look strange if it is not. Leave a space large enough to get behind to do any maintenance of the deck and of any plants that are growing there.
7. The more hand, the better for this part. Lift the deck frame up and level it in position; use posts temporarily screwed to the frame and blocks to do this. Check for level with a straight edge and a long builder’s level.
8. Fix the first two joists into place across the frame – these will ensure that the frame remains rigid. It is important that you keep’ checking for level and mark out the position of the posts.
9. With the two main joists in place, measure up and secure the rest at 40cm centres. To accommodate the angled sections of the outer frame, cut these joist ends at 45°.
10. With the support finished, dig out and stand posts in position. Bolt the post to the frame with. Check the level and square of the angle. You can use concrete to secure in place, but let the concrete dry overnight before continuing.
11. Cover the grass with weed block and fig into position. Installbetween the joists to add strength. Always start laying the deck boards from the front edge and each end down. With a spacer in place, fix down the next board.
12. Work across the frame and continue to fix the deck boards down, all the while using the spacer to maintain an even pattern across the deck. Remember to allow enough overhang of the boards for the final edge cut.
13. Stretch some string across for a guide. Tap thein ready to tighten later. Use the spacer and open/close the boards with a chisel to get an even spacing. Tighten each pair of screws to hold each board down.
14. Using a plank of timber as a guide for the circular saw, and with the saw set to cut just thicker than the deck board, trim all around the edge of the deck to finish. Treat all surfaces with preservative as before.