Slippery Decking Day 2023: when are decks most dangerous?

We have named Sunday 29th January ‘Slippery Decking Day 2023’. That’s because this is when all the contributing factors are aligned, putting us at the greatest risk of an accident as decking in the UK reaches ‘peak slipperiness’.

Traditional timber and composite decking boards become dangerously slippery when wet or icy and as the result of the build-up of algae and leaves. We have pinpointed the last Sunday in January as the day when ordinary decking is potentially at its most treacherous.

January is the wettest month of the year, with ice more likely as average temperatures drop towards the end of the month. Mean monthly evaporation is at its lowest, causing decking to stay wet for longer. Algae is also most likely to be prevalent during the winter and after a wet spell, while fallen leaves are decomposing and becoming slippery.

Short daylight hours add to the risk and, with people more likely to venture into their gardens at the weekend, this increases the likelihood of accidents.

Gripsure Managing Director Mike Nicholson said: “Despite its many benefits, traditional decking has one major disadvantage: it becomes dangerously slippery when it’s wet. And that’s a big problem, particularly here in the UK where it can make a garden a no-go area for much of the year.

It’s fair to say that at Gripsure we’re obsessed with the slipperiness of decking. We understand the combination of factors that can make decking dangerous because it’s what we’ve been tackling for more than a decade. We’re not only committed to increasing safety, we also want people to make the most of their outdoor spaces throughout the seasons.

Our team of decking experts has assessed all the risk factors and the combination of wet, cold weather, damp conditions and rotting leaves and algae creates a perfect storm. We believe Sunday 29th January is the day in 2022 when decking will reach peak slipperiness, putting people at risk of accidents.

While we created Slippery Decking Day as a light-hearted event, it does have a serious message and we want to highlight the dangers. We hope Slippery Decking Day will make people think about changes they can make to safely enjoy their gardens all year round.

The slip ratings of surfaces, including decking, are measured using the Pendulum Test Value (PTV), with a rating of more than 36 being regarded as ‘low slip’. Crafted from sustainable timber and aggregate inserts, all Gripsure decking achieves a minimum value of PTV 85, which is classed as ‘very low slip’, and exceeds the British Standard for slip resistance.

Gripsure has experienced a surge in demand from homeowners during the pandemic. We are also proud to have provided our non-slip decking to high profile customers, including Kew Gardens, the Eden Project, Center Parcs and the University of Cambridge.

#SlipperyDeckingDay2023

Making the most of your garden decking in the autumn evenings

Darker and cooler autumnal evenings need not put you off using your decking - making the most of your garden decking into the evening can help to create an extension of your home. If you think about it, there (probably) aren’t rooms in your house that are unusable at certain times. So why should your outside space be any different?

As we head into autumn, the days are getting shorter. Making comfortable additions to your decking area will encourage you to spend more time outside, even if it gets a little darker or chillier. Whether it’s investing in garden furniture or non-slip decking, we’ve come up with some ideas to inspire you. Here’s how to make the most of your garden decking into the autumn evenings.

Maintenance

The most important part of being able to make the most of your decking, particularly in the colder months, is maintenance. Over the summer, most garden decking sees heavy use. While you should maintain your deck throughout the warmer months, it’s even more important to do so during winter. When the deck gets wet and cold, a build-up of moss or algae can line the surface. This is a deadly combination and makes for a very slippery surface.

While Gripsure’s non-slip decking is very low maintenance, it will still benefit from regular brushing with a stiff broom. Pressure washing your decking once a year is recommended. This will remove the dirt or algae which heightens the risk of slipping. Gripsure decking stays safe even with a build-up of moss and algae, but we would always recommend a thorough, annual clean. This will also refresh the deck’s appearance after a long summer, so you can enjoy it in the autumnal evenings.

If you’d like to keep your deck looking its best even into winter, consider oiling or staining your decking boards. This will prevent water from getting into the timber and rotting your decking boards.

Garden furniture and furnishings

To make the most of your decking into the autumn evenings, there are a few things you will need to think about. When it comes to choosing garden furniture, you need something that can withstand rain and cold temperatures. Your garden furniture should be made of hardy, weather-resistant materials. Stainless steel, wooden crates or rattan are all good options. When it comes to fabric and furnishings, make a note of whether they’re described as ‘outdoors’. It’s likely these will be treated for several things to make them resistant to UV, water, or stains. For the most part, it may be best to keep these in a garden storage container when they’re not in use. This will ensure they stay in good condition for longer.

It’s important to note that to minimise damage to your non-slip decking, use rubber feet for any garden furniture.

Warm blankets, cushions and throws can also help to increase the cosy factor by bringing the indoors outdoors. Choosing colours and fabrics that are bright and welcoming helps to bring colour to even the darkest evening.

Lighting

With the evenings getting darker earlier as we head into autumn and winter — lighting is crucial. Even in summer, good lighting in the garden can help you make the most of your decking for longer. As with your furnishings, make sure that any lighting you use is labelled for outdoor use.

If you’re conscious of your electricity spend, there are plenty of gorgeous solar-powered and battery-operated options. Festoon lights could twinkle above your garden decking or pathway lights could guide you safely to and from the house. Wall lights can also be effective for maximum lighting so you can enjoy your garden decking as late as you like.

Whether you’re going for ambience or practicality, the lighting setup you choose will really show off your garden decking. It will also make the area a great space to talk or relax during the evenings.

Outdoor heating

Even in the summer months, if you’re sitting outside, you may feel a slight chill in the evening. When you need a little more than blankets on your garden furniture, outdoor heating can warm things up.There are plenty of options out there for outdoor heating. Most of them are either powered by electricity or gas. For those interested in either of these varieties, there is plenty of choice in what you go for. Overhead gas patio heaters or heat lamps will ensure you, your family or your guests won’t catch a chill.

For those who would prefer to save on gas and electricity you may be wondering if there is another option. Infrared heaters can be much more cost-effective as they emit warming rays toward you. They don’t rely on air to blow the heat around, which isn’t much use in an open space outdoors anyway. However, do monitor the usage if you’re conscious of running costs.

Your other option is getting warmth and light from a fire pit. However, you need to be extremely careful when lighting fires near or on your decking. Make sure you take the right advice and check carefully whether it’s appropriate. Never place a fire or a fire pit directly on your decking. Always ensure it is raised and that there is something between the source and the surface of the deck. Consider investing in a screen to help prevent sparks or embers from travelling, particularly if it’s windy.

Awnings, canopies, and pergolas will all look great while helping to retain the heat from your heaters – again don’t have any of these options too close to a fire or heat source. Depending on your budget, even a trusty garden furniture umbrella will do the job.

Get in touch

However you intend to enjoy your decking into the autumn evenings and whatever the weather, we hope these tips have helped to inspire. Whether that’s investing in some sturdy garden furniture or non-slip decking for peace of mind.

Our non-slip decking is perfect if you’re concerned about slippery decking into the colder months and evenings.All our products come with a Gripsure guarantee and non-slip warranty of 15 years. If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.

Creating a summer vibe in your garden

If you want to create a summer vibe in your garden, non-slip decking, beautiful flowers, mood lighting and much more can make a big difference. Now that summer has well and truly arrived and the thermometer is climbing, we all want to be outside.

Making the most of the sun is easy when your garden is somewhere you want to spend time. But, if the vibe isn’t quite matching the weather, it might be time to rethink. If unkempt lawns and hedges, weeds galore and tired plastic furniture is giving more ‘forgotten woodland’ than summer vibes, here are some top tips to get you sorted…

Part of the furniture

Switching out your old, tired, or broken garden furniture makes all the difference. Having both functional and comfortable seating can create more of a vibrant setting. Family and friends will want to pop round and it’s much more inviting. You can be creative with your décor depending on the size and space available in your garden.

If you want a drastic change then buying completely new furniture will do the trick. However, if you’re working to a budget, why not paint or rework old pieces or find something second-hand? An idea we love at Gripsure is upcycling old crates or pallets. They can be painted and made into a sofa base, ready to be adorned with comfy throws and cushions. These can be brought inside if the weather takes a turn, but the pallets will be fine left outside.

Sun loungers, as well as plenty of traditional seating, will be a welcome addition if you throw a party or a BBQ. If you want to go for a tropical or boho summer vibe in your garden, why not try a hammock? If you don’t have sturdy fencing, non-slip decking or trees in your garden, go for a hanging chair instead.

Bring the indoors outside by adding nice furnishings to furniture. Blankets for when it gets cold and comfy cushions can make all the difference. Accessorising and colour coordination is the best part. Choose the colours you love or that match the colour scheme of your garden. Summer colours such as yellows, oranges and blues will really boost the summer vibe.

Guiding light

The sun is certainly around for longer during the summer months. However, once it has set you may still want to enjoy your summer garden. This is where lighting and heating can come in very handy.

There are plenty of solar-powered lighting options available for gardens. Let the sun charge them up all day to illuminate your garden into the evening. Whether it’s festoon lights twinkling above or pathway lights to light the steps of your non-slip decking—you have plenty of options. For a more temporary solution, if you’re having a party, paper lanterns or candles are a nice touch. These can all help create a relaxed, summer vibe.

It’s also nice to see and appreciate the work you’ve put into your garden once the sun goes down. Illuminating your garden in particular ways can help highlight or reveal certain features not visible in the daytime. For example, a water feature that comes to life at night with light.

Ultimately, the style of lighting you choose will all be down to personal preference and budget. Everything down to the bulb colour is up to you. You may go for a traditional white or warm light or go colourful to brighten up the garden’s summer vibes.

Turn over a new leaf

Are your flowers no longer flourishing? Having an influx of fresh, brightly coloured flowers in the garden can make all the difference. There is so much choice and once again this will come down to your personal tastes and gardening experience.

Some will be lower maintenance than others. Some will smell and others will just look pretty.

Do you want flowers that will attract the most butterflies, birds, and bees to your garden? Do you want a mishmash of wildflowers for a classic meadow look? Or would you prefer meticulously planted flowers, carefully positioned to help zone the garden?

The popularity of houseplants has also risen over the last few years. Tropical plants such as monsteras, banana plants and palms can all be brought outside in the summer season. Let them spend the summer months outdoors but avoid bright, sunny days and remember to water and mist them regularly.

Fun in the sun

It wouldn’t feel like summer in the garden without some activities. What does a summer vibe make you think of? Ping pong, frisbee, football or making a splash? (Consider getting a shed or storage unit to tidy things away at the end of the day).

If you have a swimming pool, then it’s automatically going to feel like summer. For others, a paddling pool for the kids or a hot tub for the grown-ups will do the trick. Non-slip decking will be essential here to ensure you can enjoy the water safely. No more worries about slipping and this peace of mind can carry over to the winter, too.

What feels more summery than an outdoor cinema? Project your favourite summer movies onto a white sheet or the wall of your house. Invite everybody over and get comfy on that new furniture. Having some fun in the sun is a great way to kick off the summer season.

Hit the deck

If you have been considering adding a decking area to your garden, the summer months are a great time to act. It can also keep your garden safe throughout the autumn and winter. If you already have a decking area in your garden, it’s time to give it a good clean. This will help to keep it safe and not slippery, as well as giving it a refreshed look.

Garden decking provides a space to eat, drink, relax or play to help that summer vibe along. Should it rain (as is likely in the UK) then choosing non-slip decking helps to keep family and guests safe. You’ll also be protected against paddling pool splashes or drink spill mishaps.

At Gripsure, we can help guide you towards a decking area for your garden that screams summer. It’s the ultimate upgrade for any garden. Plus, as we reach the end of the summer season, it will still be of great benefit to your garden.

Looking for some inspiration?

Why not request a free sample of one of our decking products to help you decide what is right for you and your next project?

Bamboo decking: the sustainable non-slip choice for your garden

If you’re looking to make garden improvements that aren’t at the expense of the world’s forests, bamboo decking is the answer.

Bamboo decking is a great, sustainable choice for your garden. It’s got just as many qualities as both softwood and hardwood decking. More people are looking to make sustainable choices as they consider their impact on the planet. You don’t need to settle for composite decking and suffer in slippery silence. If you’re looking to make improvements that aren’t at the expense of the world’s forests, bamboo decking is the answer.

But what exactly is it about bamboo that makes it so good for garden decking?

Just how sustainable is it?

Technically, bamboo is not a tree. It’s a type of grass. There are over 1600 different types of it on the planet. These can often be found in tropical, sub-tropical and mild climates. Depending on the variety, bamboo is native to Asia, Africa, South America, and parts of Australia. Just like hardwood and softwood, there are different ways you can categorise bamboo with each having its own traits.

Bamboo is also renowned for its incredible rate of growth. The Moso species of bamboo, for example, can grow up to one metre every day. Native to Asia, it can reach a maximum growth height of up to 20 metres.
Compared to most trees, bamboo can also release 35% more oxygen and absorb five times more CO2. This can help to offset the carbon output of the world to reduce the effects of climate change.

Moso bamboo has an underground system of roots that can connect a whole host of other bamboo plants. When one strand of bamboo is cut down, it will quickly grow back on its own. This reduces the demand on the farmers as its fast replenishing not fast depleting.

Bamboo is also naturally pest-resistant thanks to its tough outer layer which means there is no need to use harmful chemical pesticides.

Moso bamboo decking

Whilst bamboo doesn’t look as robust as a typical hardwood tree, it actually has a strength level higher than steel. This durable, strong material sees uses within the construction industry and is often used to make floors, furniture and even helmets.

Aside from that, it can be eaten, turned into clothing, used for your garden decking and more. Whilst hardwoods typically take 50 years to mature, Moso bamboo matures in just four to five.

Look at it like this. Bamboo decking has an expected service life of between 30 and 50 years. During this lifetime, the same bamboo used to make your decking has already regrown itself five-plus times.

Whilst the cost of bamboo decking is higher than both softwood and hardwood decking, it’s more durable, it lasts longer and it’s kinder to the planet. It has all of the elements and aesthetics of hardwood. One just comes from a tree and the other from grass.

If you’re looking for a long-term, sustainable decking solution for your garden, then bamboo is worth the investment.

MOSO® Bamboo with Gripsure

MOSO® are a global brand supplier of both interior and exterior bamboo products. Their decking takes the bamboo and puts it through a process of Thermo-Density®. This increases the density and hardness significantly. By this point, the bamboo has all the same qualities as hardwood decking. This makes it an ideal solution to finding the most sustainable decking.

With the addition of Gripsure’s non-slip inserts it also becomes safe non-slip decking allowing you to enjoy your garden all year round.

MOSO® are also focused on sustainability and so all their bamboo products are CO2 negative throughout their lifespan. This makes them a great sustainable decking alternative to tropical hardwoods and composite products.

This decking has a long life span and requires little upkeep. It will start with a dark brown look that can be maintained with oil or you can let it turn to a rich silver grey. The surface can be smooth or grooved with no visible fastening points making for a streamlined look. MOSO® Bamboo non slip decking is also extremely stable so won’t shrink, swell, warp or split.

If you’re conscious of leading a zero-waste lifestyle, bamboo in the wild can naturally be broken down and left to decompose. So, once your decking reaches the end of its lifespan, it is easily recycled. It can be turned into chipboard or burnt to generate energy. This contributes towards the production of green electricity—all thanks to your well-loved garden decking.

At Gripsure we are all for responsible forestry, so our bamboo products are FSC® certified. Whilst bamboo’s fast-growing nature doesn’t cause forest depletion, we certify our bamboo decking nonetheless.

Browse our bamboo

As exclusive distributors of MOSO® Bamboo decking, Gripsure is confident in its benefits towards sustainability. This highly stable decking is durable, safe, and fire-resistant. MOSO® also has a 25-year warranty on its outdoor decking. So, you can relax in your garden knowing you made a sustainable decision to enjoy for years to come. Browse our bamboo decking range or get in touch with us today.

Cooking on your deck: creating delicious meals in your garden

Cooking on your deck means you can spend more time outdoors, preparing and enjoying delicious meals in the open air.

Building a garden deck means you can enjoy spending more time outdoors. Preparing meals outside is a great way to make the most of your garden. We talk to Ty McKend of ProQ Barbecues and Smokers to get some tips and ideas for cooking on your deck.

1. Can you tell us about the ProQ Smokers ethos and what makes your products stand out?

We are a family run business with strong ethics: we strive to educate and inspire others to share the same enjoyment of BBQ, outdoor cooking, and the love of food as we do. Our product design reflects this. We aim to make all our BBQs as versatile as possible!

2. At Gripsure, we’ve seen a massive increase in demand for our non-slip decking since the start of the pandemic. With more people using their gardens and entertaining at home are you experiencing a similar pattern?

Absolutely. I think more people than ever picked up a new hobby, and BBQ was certainly one of them. I think this year we’ll probably see more garden parties than ever, now that so many people have had the time to practice and perfect their outdoor cooking skills.

3. What’s the difference between a barbecue smoker and the ordinary barbecues that many people have lurking in their sheds?

A BBQ smoker allows you to control your cooking temperature much more accurately. That means you can cook anything from your usual burgers or sausages to a whole brisket, maybe some ribs and even the Christmas turkey.

4. You also sell cold smokers. What’s cold smoking and what sorts of foods do your customers use cold smokers for?

Before modern-day refrigeration, the way we preserved fresh or cured food was to salt and smoke it over smouldering wood. Nowadays we tend to mostly use smoke to impart wonderful aromatic flavours to a wide range of foods. This method, known as cold smoking, is the process of creating wood smoke without cooking or heating your food. You can cold smoke salmon, bacon, cheese, nuts, and even butter or marmite.

5. You share a lot of recipes on your website. Do you have a favourite?

It’s got to be our Beef Cheek Tacos!

6. What are the most common mistakes people make when they’re barbecuing?

I think there are two key elements to cooking outdoors.

The first is to make sure your fire is set up right for what you’re cooking. Be patient, cook things more slowly, and you’ll avoid burnt outsides with raw middles. Don’t overfill the BBQ, you can always add more charcoal.

The second is about knowing when food is ready, by cooking to temperature instead of relying on cooking time or the colour of the food. Grab a digital probe and a temperature chart and you can’t go wrong. This applies to cooking indoors too.

7. What should people think about when choosing a barbecue or smoker for their garden?

Think about the number of people you cook for on a regular basis and get something slightly bigger than that. It’s always nice to have a little extra room.

Try to consider the different techniques you want to use. These could include slow cooking, grilling, or smoking. Do some research about what you’re buying to make sure it does everything you need it to. Lastly, I would say buy the best you can afford. Many brands now offer really good warranty (ours is 10 years!), so there’s no need to fall into the trap of buying cheap and buying twice.

8. What advice would you give to someone using a barbecue smoker for the first time?

Don’t stress too much and expect it to take more time than you think. Smoking is a process, so try and enjoy it. Use a thermometer – it will give you the confidence that your food is ready and safe.

9. What fuel do you recommend people use on your smokers and why?

Good quality lumpwood is really easy to find and relatively cost effective for shorter cooks. We also do a coconut-based “Cocoshell” briquette that will last for ages during longer cooks.

10. Like Gripsure, you’re based in Cornwall but have an international customer base. How has the company grown and developed since you set up in 2008? Are there any future plans you’d like to share?

In 2008, we designed and developed the very first ProQ BBQ Smoker. With plenty of requests for a cold smoking feature, the patented ProQ Cold Smoke Generator quickly followed. We’re at over 70 BBQ Smoker and cold smoking products and accessories.

We’ve just launched the ProQ Flatdog portable BBQ, which folds completely flat, to try and keep those disposable BBQs off the beaches. Our other new product is the ProQ Travel BBQ Multi-tool that unfolds into a fork and spatula, then clips together to make a pair of tongs.

If you’re planning to create an outdoor cooking and dining area, check out our Residential range. With Gripsure non-slip decking, you can create a beautiful, safe space to enjoy all year round.

Creating a summer garden to make the most of your outdoor space

If you want a beautiful summer garden, now’s the time to stop dreaming and take action. What changes could you make now to improve your outdoor space and make the most of your garden this summer?

From peaceful afternoons relaxing in the shade to balmy evenings under the stars with friends, spending time in our gardens over the summer can be wonderful. Perhaps you are planning a complete garden makeover or just want to spruce up your outdoor space. Whether it’s large or small and whatever your budget, putting in some work now means you can enjoy your garden over the summer. Spring is finally here, so now is the ideal time to get outdoors and start creating your summer garden.

Tackling a major garden project

Taking on a major landscaping project or garden redesign can be a daunting prospect. However, there is still time to upgrade your garden ahead of summer. Maybe you’ve been inspired to add an exciting new element, such as a garden building or children’s play equipment. Or perhaps you want to finally tackle a long overdue landscaping job, such as replacing your old paving or decking.

Any landscaping project, including creating a new deck, needs careful planning but upgrading your garden can seriously enhance your lifestyle. Creating a level space in your garden for seating and outdoor dining, for example, could give you more opportunities to spend quality time outside with friends and family. Installing a deck is usually the cheapest and most cost-effective way to achieve this.

While you’re probably picturing yourself enjoying your new deck on a perfect summer’s day, the British weather means this will not always be the reality. Non-slip decking stays safe when it’s wet. That means you can enjoy your garden between the showers.

A timber deck can completely transform any outdoor space. If you want a really simple way to install a garden deck, our decking kits give you everything you need.

Creating a summer garden planting scheme

If you’re a keen gardener, you’re probably already bursting with ideas for your summer garden plants. Those of you who are less green-fingered can still improve an outdoor space by growing plants that bring colour to your garden over the summer.

Most summer bulbs can be planted outside, in pots or directly in the soil, once the risk of frost has passed. Depending on where you live, April or May is usually the ideal time to plant bulbs, such as agapanthus, dahlias and cannas. That means that you can start researching and buying your bulbs now.

Bedding plants, including lobelia, marigolds and salvias, can usually be planted out from late May onwards. These plants, which you can usually buy fairly cheaply in bulk, are ideal for filling empty spaces in borders. They also work well in pots and hanging baskets. Just don’t forget to regularly water them if we have a dry spell.

Recent years have seen garden trends leaning towards simple colour pallets, with a focus on white and pastel shades. Garden designers and horticulturalists, including experts from the RHS, have predicted a return to colourful gardens in 2022. That could mean bold red, orange and pink summer flowers seeing a comeback. Whatever your taste, you’ll find flowering plants to suit your style and bring your summer garden to life.

Accessorising your summer garden

Little touches can make a big difference in a garden. Picking out a few accessories, such as cushions, wall hangings, lamps and rugs, will turn your outdoor space into a welcoming and comfortable summer garden. Colourful accessories perfectly complement a timber deck. We love these stunning outdoor cushions from Gardenista, which come in a range of stylish colours and patterns. Like Gripsure, Gardenista has designed its products with the unpredictable British weather in mind. Their cushions are weather resistant. That means, although the fabric is beautifully soft, it can withstand a rain shower.

Brightly-coloured accessories look dramatic against dark timber decking, such as our Bamboo non-slip decking. Fresh pastels, on the other hand, complement light timber, like our anti-slip Contemporary decking.

If, like many people, you want to use your deck on summer evenings, you’ll need to consider lighting. Festoon lights and Moroccan style lamps can turn a deck into an enchanting night-time space to enjoy with friends and family.

Sprucing up your garden

Most of us are guilty of neglecting our gardens over winter. It’s likely that yours will need a tidy up to get it ready for summer. The days are now getting longer and temperatures are rising, so this is a great time to get outside and deal with any cleaning and maintenance jobs.

It’s much easier to fix trellises and repair and treat fences now, before the growing season gets underway. Some shrubs and larger plants need pruning to encourage growth over the summer. Before you get too enthusiastic with the secateurs, though, check that spring is the right time to prune your plants.

According to news reports, the shortage of garden furniture is set to continue this year. Rather than investing in a new set, you may instead want to restore your table and chairs. While all garden furniture will benefit from a good clean, you may also need to treat timber items to ensure they stay weatherproof. Alternatively, painting your old timber garden furniture could give it a completely new look.

Spring is a good time to clean your decking and get it ready for summer. We recommend using a good, stiff brush to clear away any debris before giving it an annual clean with a pressure washer. If you have had your timber decking for a few years, it may have faded into a silvery grey. Many people like this look, but you can treat your decking with paints, oils or stains to restore the original colour.

While summer may feel a long way off, warmer weather is just around the corner. Spending some time preparing your garden now will help you make the most of it over the summer.

Looking for some inspiration?

Why not request a free sample of one of our decking products to help you decide what is right for you and your next project?

Redesigning your garden: 7 steps to planning the outdoor space of your dreams

By redesigning your garden you could create an extension to the family home, a haven for wildlife or a peaceful spot just for you.

You want to give your garden a complete overhaul but where do you start? What should you think about before making major changes to your outdoor space? From landscaping to planting, colour schemes to planning permission, redesigning your garden requires a mix of creative inspiration and practicality.

Here are seven things to consider when redesigning your garden.

1. Get inspired

Watching gardening shows, reading books and visiting botanical gardens can provide wonderful inspiration for a garden redesign. This stage of the process is always fun and exciting.

While it’s good to think big at this stage, as you firm up your plans you will need to be realistic about your garden. The varieties of plants that will thrive will depend on where you live, the type of soil you have and whether your garden is north or south facing. You will also need to think about your garden’s layout when making important decisions about landscaping. Unless you have a very large outdoor space you will also need to be selective and prioritise the elements you really want to include. Gathering as many ideas as you can and then researching them to check they are practical is a good approach.

2. Work with what you have

It’s always better to work with what you have, rather than fight against it. If you have a challenging outdoor space, such as a sloped garden, you might need to do more research or get professional advice.

Almost any challenge can be overcome but redesigning your garden can involve significant time and money. It could be a great investment though. Not only will you and your family benefit from all the lifestyle benefits that come with spending more time outside, you’ll have added value to your property. Research from Online Mortgage Advisor found that installing a high quality timber deck can give you an 82.8% return on your investment.

3. Consider what you can keep

You might think you want to change everything about your garden, but unless you have a bottomless budget that is probably not realistic. There are likely to be elements of your garden that don’t need to be changed or can be improved with some minor tweaks. For example, painting a wall, adding vertical planters to a fence involve relatively little work and money but can make a big difference. So, decide what you can keep and plan for any small improvements you want to make as part of your garden redesign.

4. Decide what space you need

A garden has to work for your lifestyle, so think about how you want to use your outdoor space. The colder winter months are a great time to reflect on how you have used your garden in the past and how you would like to use it in the future. This will really help you to prioritise what you want to include in your plans.

Do you dream of enjoying a holiday vibe at home by dining outside, for example? If so, could you incorporate an outdoor eating area into your design, perhaps with some Mediterranean plants to remind you of your travels?

If you have children or grandchildren your plans are likely to include space for them to play. However, you may decide to reduce the size of your lawn, or even lose it altogether, and create larger beds if you want to grow more plants.

5. Plan to enjoy your garden all year round

A well-designed garden should provide you with year-round enjoyment. Think about how you can design a space that works throughout the seasons. While a lawn might be a great space for kids to play in summer, for example, you will probably avoid it in the wet, winter months.

With non-slip decking you can create a space that stays safe and welcoming all year round. Because it never gets slippery, even in wet or icy weather, Gripsure anti-slip timber decking will extend the time you spend in your dream garden. That could mean creating a large deck where you can host family and friends, or a quiet corner of the garden for you to enjoy relaxing with a book.

Considering your needs in autumn and winter means you might decide to add extra features to your garden. A fire pit, shelter or small garden building could entice you into the garden in the colder months, helping you to get outside throughout the seasons.

6. Choose your aesthetic

A good garden redesign will reflect your individuality. Perhaps you’re dreaming of a romantic English garden or maybe you’d love a modern or exotic space. Deciding on the overall look and feel you want to achieve will help you make important decisions on plants, furniture and accessories.

The style of your home is also likely to influence your decision. If you want your garden to be an extension of your modern house, you’re likely to aim for a contemporary look and feel. If you live in an older property, you might want your garden to reflect its heritage.

When thinking about aesthetic, people often overlook the difference that surfaces can make. While grooved decking can give a slightly more traditional look, a smooth finish instantly creates a smart, modern feel.

With Gripsure non-slip timber decking you can create a very different vibe, depending on which boards you choose. Our dark Bamboo decking would provide a striking backdrop to an exotic planting scheme. Our Home board, on the other hand, looks beautiful when set against a colourful cottage garden and Contemporary creates a sleek, modern finish.

7. Get practical

Once you have decided what you want out of your space and the look and feel you’re aiming to achieve, you’ll need to nail down the details. Redesigning your garden will involve a number of practical considerations. Here are three of the most important:

  • Set your budget

    While you might be brimming with ideas and full of inspiration, your garden redesign is likely to be decided partly on your budget. The cost will vary hugely depending on how ambitious your project is and whether or not you hire a professional designer and landscaper or do all the work yourself.
    To avoid nasty surprises further down the line, be thorough when researching prices. Sites like Checkatrade and Design for Me provide good resources for budgeting for redesigning your garden. Always include a contingency budget for any unexpected costs that might arise when you’re partway through your project.

  • DIY or professional?
    When it comes to redesigning your garden, you might decide to invest in a garden designer. The Society of Garden Designers has some good advice on appointing a professional. Alternatively, you may want to use one of the many garden redesign apps, such myGarden or iScape, that are now freely available.
    You will also need to consider whether or not you need to hire in landscapers or builders to carry out some of the work, such as installing a deck. The RHS has some useful advice on hiring contractors.
  • Planning permission
    If you are making major changes to your landscaping or adding a garden building, first check with your local council if you need planning permission.

    Many of our customers want to know if they’ll need planning permission for a new deck. The short answer is “it depends.” Generally, if your decking is more than 300mm above ground level or if you are planning a very large deck you will need planning permission. However, rules vary across the country – and are subject to change – so check with your local authority.

Whether or not you need planning permission, it is courteous to notify neighbours before any major work begins. Redesigning your garden is exciting but it can be daunting. Take your time, do your research and think about what you want to get out of your outdoor space. It’s important to get it right and make the choices that work for you and your family. Transforming your garden can transform your life too.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or would like more information, get in touch with one of our friendly team.

Christmas outdoors: celebrating the festive season in your garden

Celebrating Christmas outdoors is a delightfully different way to enjoy the festive season. Here’s some inspiration to help you enjoy Christmas in your garden.

Twinkling lights, chestnuts roasting on the fire pit and rustic decorations – Christmas in the garden can be very special indeed. While we can’t guarantee good weather, there are many ways to enjoy celebrating with friends and family in the open air. So, this Christmas, why not swap the sofa for the garden chair and create a festive vibe in your own back garden?

Decorate your deck

Ahead of the big day, think about where in your garden you want to create a festive atmosphere. Your garden deck could be the perfect focal point for a Christmas gathering. That’s because it’s likely to be an accessible, flat space that works perfectly for dining and entertaining. If you have non-slip decking, you can rest assured that your guests will stay safe, even if the ground is wet or icy.

Christmas ornaments look beautiful set against natural timber. And when it comes to decorating your deck, you can be as bold or understated as you like. You could even stand a Christmas tree on the decking. If you want to create a winter wonderland, there is an almost limitless choice of freestanding reindeer, snowmen and Santa models. For a more understated look, take your inspiration from nature. A simple but beautiful wreath, like this one from Nordic House, would look stunning hanging on a wall next to your deck. Alternatively, why not have a go at making your own, using greenery from in and around your garden?

If your decking is framed by bushes or trees, branches are perfect for hanging ornaments. Evergreen garlands are a fabulous festive addition to a fence or railing around a deck. Add some twinkling fairy lights and you’ll have a magical Christmas deck.

Enjoy an al fresco feast

Simply roasting chestnuts or toasting marshmallows on a fire pit is a perfect activity for an informal gathering. But perhaps this year you’re feeling more ambitious and want to enjoy Christmas dinner outside. Whatever your plans, the good news is that there are many options for alfresco cooking, from barbecued turkey to campfire chilli. And your deck is the ideal spot for al fresco dining.

While you’re focusing on the food, don’t neglect the decorative details that make a Christmas table memorable. Festive crockery, candles and table decorations can transform your meal into something truly special. If you’re feeling crafty, Gardeningetc has some great inspiration for making your own beautiful table decorations using natural materials. Avoid taking your best china into the garden by investing in some eco-friendly bamboo tableware that you can use again and again.

Festive family fun

One of the best things about celebrating Christmas outdoors is that the younger family members have space to play and let off steam. Festive games aren’t just for children though – they’re a great way to bring the generations together.

If we’re lucky enough to experience a white Christmas, you could enjoy a family snowball fight, or test your creativity with a snowman competition. On the other hand, if the weather is fine, there’s no reason not to dig out those games you stored away in the shed at the end of the summer. A simple ball game, boules or skittles will make memories and burn off some of those Christmas calories.

Keep warm and dry

There’s a reason why most of us retreat indoors over Christmas. Winter weather means you may not want to spend long outside. Unless it’s especially wet or cold, however, you should be able to enjoy some time in the garden.

Sales of outdoor heaters have soared in recent months, due to the growing trend towards outdoor living. Unfortunately, these come at an environmental cost and many are extremely energy inefficient. Researching low-energy options could reduce the impact of keeping warm outdoors.

Truly environmentally friendly options include having plenty of cosy blankets to hand and ensuring everyone is properly dressed for the weather. Installing a windbreak could also make a big difference. Investing in a shelter for your deck will not only create a warmer space, it will also keep everyone dry in case of a Christmas downpour.

Make sure your garden's winter ready

Before the festive season gets underway, make sure you’re confident that your garden is fit for the festivities. Having a garden that stays safe through the winter means you can enjoy more time outdoors with family and friends over Christmas. From checking drains and fences to adding more outdoor lighting, there are many things you can do to make your garden safer in winter.

With Gripsure non-slip decking from our residential range, you can relax knowing that your deck will stay safe, whatever the weather. That means you’re free to focus on the good things in life. And that’s what Christmas is all about.

Looking for some inspiration?

Why not request a free sample of one of our decking products to help you decide what is right for you and your next project?

How to make your garden safe through the autumn and winter

Making a few changes could ensure your garden stays safe through the autumn and winter. Here are some simple safety tips to help you make the most of your outdoor space all year round.

After enjoying sunny days in the garden, many of us retreat indoors once the winter weather comes. For some people, the garden becomes a no-go zone. Think about the barriers that stop you from getting outdoors over the autumn and winter. These could include:

  • The worry of falling on uneven paving or slippery decking
  • Steep steps that become hazardous in wet and icy weather
  • The danger of tripping on dark pathways
  • Damage caused by storms or heavy rainfall

We now understand more about the health and well-being benefits of spending time outdoors. Recent research from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, found that getting enough natural sunlight improves mood and sleep and even lowers the risk of depression. Physician and wellness expert Dr Rangan Chatterjee regularly comments on the health benefits of being outside in nature.

Just taking some time each day to walk around the garden, enjoy an alfresco meal or take our morning coffee outside could seriously improve your quality of life. So, what changes will you make to create a safe garden to enjoy through the seasons?

Reduce the risk of slips and trips

Slippery or uneven surfaces are a major safety concern for many people, particularly anyone with mobility problems. Uneven paving or steep steps can be hazardous at any time of year, but when the light fades and the ground is wet, they can be a real danger.

When it becomes wet or icy, traditional decking can be notoriously slippery. The inevitable build-up of algae and leaves in the autumn and winter months adds to the problem. Replacing old paving or decking with non-slip decking is a practical solution. Unlike traditional timber decking, it stays safe even in wet or icy weather. One Gripsure customer helped his in-laws’ enhance their quality of life when he replaced their slippery decking with Gripsure non-slip decking. The elderly couple now regularly enjoy time in their garden without the worry of falling. You can also install non-slip decking on walkways and steps, creating a safe route through your garden in any weather.

Be prepared for storms

We are experiencing more extreme weather events, which means we all need to be prepared for storms. High winds can cause devastation in our gardens, including damage to fences, sheds and trees. Unsecured objects and garden furniture should be packed away if bad weather is forecast. Trampolines can become airborne in high winds so many companies now sell kits to anchor them down.

The Met Office has published guidance on protecting your property in a storm. The RHS also has some good advice on preparing your garden for winter, including regularly checking structures, such as fences and trellises, and planting hedges as windbreaks if necessary.

Light up your garden

To safely venture into your garden after dark, you’ll need good lighting. Think about the spaces that are a priority for you. These could include paths, steps and any areas you want to enjoy after sundown, such as a deck or patio. You may also want to consider security lighting to reduce the risk of garden thefts or trespassers.

Lighting is not just about safety. It can be an aesthetic feature, creating an atmosphere in your garden. Writing for the Society of Garden Designers, lighting designer Sanjit Bahra has shared his tips and inspiration for illuminating your garden.

Take steps to prevent flooding

Our changing climate means we are experiencing more bouts of heavy rain. As a result, flooding is a growing concern. Regularly checking gutters and drains for blockages and installing a water butt are simple steps anyone can take. The Rivers Trust has shared some more ideas for reducing the risk of flooding in your garden.

Some gardeners choose to create a rain garden. This sounds like an ambitious project, but it can simply involve creating an area that is low-lying and planted with native species that absorb rain and tolerate being in water. Hard surfaces are more prone to flooding, with patios being a particular problem when it comes to surface water. Timber decking is a far better solution if you are concerned about flooding. That’s because it is permeable and allows rainwater to flow underneath. However, when you are installing a deck, it is important to ensure there is a slight fall in the deck so that water can easily run off it. The Timber Decking and Cladding Association (TDCA) explains how you can incorporate a sustainable drainage system into your decking.

Getting outdoors in all seasons is so important for our wellbeing and having a safe garden all year round could be the key. Taking steps to overcome common garden hazards could help you make the most of your outdoor space throughout the autumn and winter.

Looking for some inspiration?

Why not request a free sample of one of our decking products to help you decide what is right for you and your next project?

Why timber decking is ideal for hot tubs

Over the past decade hot tubs have become increasingly popular. Whether they're in an entertainment space at home or a suite of new holiday lodges, hot tubs are a great way to relax at the end of the day. In this blog we take a look at what you'll need to consider when using deck boards around a hot tub.

Construction

When filled with water, hot tubs can weigh up to several tonnes so you need to be sure that the structure is capable of holding its weight. Decking is often chosen for this as it can be built around the hot tub, meaning it doesn’t need to carry the load.

Whereas a hot tub can be sunken into the deck, allowing people to sit straight into it, there is also the option to install decking steps, guiding people up to reach the water.

Safety

Getting in and out of hot tubs, and walking across a deck or other surface dripping wet after being in the hot tub, is potentially dangerous as the water makes the deck slippery. Whilst hot tubs are able to be enjoyed all year round, there can be greater risks during the winter months when lying surface water turns to ice making access to the tub challenging.

As a solution to this, homeowners and holiday parks alike have chosen our non-slip products to keep their families and guests safe whilst using hot tubs.

Bare feet friendly

We sometimes get asked whether our non-slip decking is bare feet friendly…and it absolutely is! Feeling the non-slip aggregate with your hands can feel course to sensitive fingers, however, when walking across with harder skin on the soles and balls of your feet it is like walking across any other surface.

Need more convincing? Our boards are tried and tested across many homes, holiday lodges, and tourist hotspots in the UK. For example, The Wave, an inland surfing lake located just outside of Bristol, uses our anti-slip decking to keep surfers safe as they transition from the water to the changing rooms. Our boards are also walked over by hundreds of pairs of swimmer’s feet at the external swimming pools at numerous Center Parcs sites across the country!

Treatment classification

The majority of deck boards are treated to Usage Class 3 (UC3) which will give a long-lasting deck around hot tubs in people’s homes. For holiday sites where parks are investing in dozens of lodges and decks, we would recommend increasing the treatment classification to UC4 or SS4 which will treat the timber with a higher percentage of preservative.

As hot tubs are likely to be used pretty much every day, the deck around the hot tub will often be wet for long periods of time as people make the most of it during their stay. If the boards are treated with usage class 3, the expected service life will decrease as timber treated to this classification isn’t meant to be exposed to moisture constantly which can happen around hot tubs.

Treating boards to UC4 or SS4 means that the boards are better protected and will maximise the service life and the investment made into the holiday site.

Get in touch

If you are thinking of getting a hot tub and want a safe and stylish deck or looking at replacing decks around existing hot tubs, feel free to get in touch with the team at Gripsure who would be delighted to discuss your plans and our products further.