Jan 222013

With a surface area of around 140 square metres, this is the largest decking project I have undertaken to date. The garden deck is situated in Northamptonshire and has many features, including a hot tub. We couldn’t keep referring to it as “the deck” so decided to give it a name.

So meet “Frank (the deck)”.

Frank was made from over 2 km (2,000 linear metres) of timber and around 10,000 screws in total. I think the following pictures illustrate that a garden deck is not just for modern properties, and can work equally well with a Grade 2 listed Victorian building.

Deck Features (click to see others with this feature):

  • Large Wooden Decks
  • Decks on Sloping Sites
  • Decks with steps
  • Decks with special features



    This is the decking site before work commenced. The circular stone structure is a fire-pit around which the deck has to be built. There is also a hot tub to incorporate. The main criteria for the design of this particular garden deck was that the main expanse should be on one level, for entertaining a potentially large number of people.



    Here you can see the garden deck frame is well under way. The slope of the site is quite deceptive, and the customer did not want any form of handrails which would obstruct the view. For that reason, steps were added along the full length of the side and across the end.



    This is another view of the framing. I used over 2,000 screws (6mm x 100mm) on the frame alone. As ever, it is all stress graded, tanalised timber.



    Going back to the beginning, these doors give access to the customer’s gym. With the site being on a slope, the deck would be too high for the doors to open,  so it had to be “sunken” in this area.



    This is the framing for the steps and the lower deck level.



    So, back to the main garden deck and laying the planking. To give some idea of the size, the planks were 5.4 metres long and I needed 3 lengths, end to end, to go from the near corner at 45 degrees to the frame. Another thing that may not be obvious is that there are 12 planks across the width of the fire pit, plus one strip running either side. Both the planks you see now, and the ones to be fitted on the far side, had to be fitted very accurately to exactly the same spacing and exactly the same angle. An error of 1 mm on each plank could have multiplied to an error of 12mm in spacing on the other side.



    This is the final result of the steps down to the gym. It isn’t obvious but there is a slight fall on each step for drainage (awy from the gym). Also, these planks were laid across the width of the steps and not just for aesthetic reasons. If  it proves to be too slippery with a winter frost, I can retro-fit non-slip strips in some of the grooves.



    This shows further progress. Much of the top is done, just the hot tub, steps and facings to deal with. I used around 6,000 decking screws, just on the planking.



    This is the completed decking project from a different angle. Here you can see how the garden deck was fitted around the existing patio as well as the fire pit. The height was determined by the fact that the customer wanted to be able to see at least one course of the expensive stone work around the patio, which he had paid for.



    Finally, this is a picture showing how the hot tub looks with all the decking in place. The customer wanted the sides of the tub (but not the top) to be hidden. However, I also had to consider how to do this and still make it easy to access the tub for maintenance. The description is quite lengthy so I have created a separate post on the topic. You can see how I dealt with easy access for maintenance here.



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