The moment you fall down the stairs and crack open your knee is the moment you know that things have got to change!
No, I’m not talking about our main staircase, I’m talking about the dodgy temporary solution outside of our new bifold doors.
The plan had always been to install decking (it’s even on the list of projects we have planned for 2016), but having fallen down our wobbly stairs on one of the first sunny days in the year has been a rather painful way of pushing the project to the top of our to-do list. Needless to say going on holiday a few days later with a black, blue and scabby knee was not quite the look I was going for in my summer dresses.
As always when starting out on a new project, especially one that’s a bit more involved like this one, we like to get all of the planning done before moving on to even thinking about actually starting any building work.
Careful planning usually helps avoid most unexpected things, gives you a better idea of what will be involved as well as a fairly accurate idea of what the project will cost – which for us is always one of the most important aspects.
The deck design itself is fairly straightforward. We’d like it to be as high as the current ground floor so that we’ll have one level between the inside and the outside spaces. It will be large enough to have an alfresco dining area and will wrap around the whole back of the house.
We may not be planning anything fancy, but because our decking is raised off the ground we had to apply for planning permission which we finally got round to submitting before we went on our Easter holiday.
I know it seems kind of mad to have to apply for permission for some decking, but it’s always a good idea to check if it’s something you need as you could be made to take down your decking (or whatever else you’ve built) if you don’t have the necessary approvals, so it’s really not a risk worth taking!
In the case of decking you’ll need permission if it’s more than 300mm high (ours will be about double that), covers more than half of the garden, if it’s visible from a road, if you live in a conservation area or it’s a listed building.
The new deck will also have to comply with building regulations, which is why we’ll also need building control to sign it off.
While we’re waiting for our approval to come through (fingers crossed) we’ve decided to make a start on planning the details and construction of the deck. We’re not planning anything unusual, so it should (hopefully) be a fairly straightforward project – the biggest decision is now which kind of timber to choose. We’ve also started to do a bit of work on the garden and have begun to take down the small raised bed in front of the doors (which is now just a pile of soil).
The construction itself should be fairly straightforward. To keep the house dry and damage free, the decking should have a slight slope away from the house and a small gap between the house and the deck for the water to be able to drain away. There should also be small gaps between the boards for the water to drain, too.
I guess that the trickiest bit is going to be building the construction for the decking boards to lie on. Getting everything set out and getting it level is always the part of any project that seems to take longest, but good prep work is essential to achieve a good finish (and not kill each other when everything doesn’t line up).
While we’re still waiting for planning approval, we’ll try to get all of the materials calculated so we can get started as soon as planning is through! After all, how hard can it be to build a deck? (we should really stop saying that!) Oh, and we should probably finish around the inside of the new doors, too. At the moment, there’s still a gap between the doors and the floor!
Do you have experience with decking? Have you ever built one? Do you have any tips or advice for us?