So, you’ve decided that installing decking is going to be the latest job for the garden. Whether you’re looking to create an outdoor dining space or just want to spend more time outdoors this year, non-slip decking is a great way to create an inviting garden space all year round.
Apart from our 15-year performance warranty, people choose Gripsure because laying our decking is simple and can easily be installed at home. Before the installation can begin, however, there is one very important first step to get right. Preparing the ground for decking. You need a strong and sturdy base upon which to start installing your deck boards.
Of course, how you prepare the ground will depend on the surface upon which it sits and whether you want ground-level or elevated decking. Here are some of our tips for preparing your ground space for garden decking installation.
A concrete plan
There are plenty of things to think about before you start building your decking; what weight will it hold, how high do you want it to be and what do you want to use it for?
If you are building up from a hard surface such as concrete, then you don’t have to worry about preparing the ground. However, you will need a solid subframe to get things going. Our base plate pedestals can assist with easily and efficiently setting up decking subframes made from wood, wood-based materials or aluminium.
Are you working with uneven or sloping concrete? While level gardens do make it easier to install your own decking, it can be fitted to even the steepest of slopes and still be level.
We offer a range of height adjustors that work to the nearest millimetre and attach to the base plate pedestals. They’re designed to increase the height adjustment between the substructure and the foundation. Construct the subframe of your decking first and from there you can measure the height needed for each adjustor. This gives much more flexibility when you’re installing the deck. Not to mention, they are all heat and frost resistant making them the perfect, hard-wearing accompaniment to your outside decking.
Lay the groundwork
If you are working with grass or soil as opposed to a more solid surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean groundwork needs to take place, but some light work will be needed. Regardless of whether you’re having elevated or ground-level decking, be sure to clear all the debris from the area. Anything that would live underneath the foundations whether it be flowers or weeds needs to be cleared.
Of course, if you consider yourself an adequate landscaper and you’d like to level the ground yourself, that is one way to ensure sturdy, balanced patio decking. Before starting any digging, it’s advisable to rent a cable avoidance tool (CAT) to check for pipes or cables in the area you’re levelling.
Whilst Gripsure’s decking can be laid flush to the ground, we also recommend the use of our base plate pedestals and height adjustors as they can be laid onto uneven ground without having to perform strenuous groundwork. Plus, they’re not only weather resistant but they also offer improved surface drainage which avoids joists being submerged in standing water.
Remember the membrane
If you’re building upon soil or grass instead of concrete, then it’s a good idea to install a membrane underneath your deck first. This helps to prevent weeds from springing but still allows water to permeate back into the ground.
Give any existing weeds a spray with weed killer before you put down the membrane. It can also be a good idea to place a layer of gravel above the membrane to really prevent them from growing.
Whether it be bugs, rodents or birds, decking can be just as much of an attraction to pests as it can be for humans. If your decking is surrounded by lots of overgrown hedgerows and uncut grass, then this can be a real magnet for attracting wildlife. So, if you want to keep pests away then it can help to keep on top of garden maintenance.
Wooden decking can also fall foul to things like woodworm. However, if you seal your wood then it will not only sustain your decking in harsh weather, but it also protects from rot, decay and fungi.
Cleaning your decking properly as well as cutting your boards in a way that forms a neat finish with no gaps for pests to sneak in can all help with pest control.
It is also important to note that some decking can fall under building regulations if they are over 300mm in height, take up more than 50% of your garden or are built within certain proximities to other properties. If you are unsure, we recommend getting in touch with your Local Planning Authority about your project plans before you start.
While there is plenty of work that goes into preparing your ground space for the installation of decking, taking the time and care to do so will really make all the difference to the result. If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.