If there’s one key thing my Dad (the carpenter) has taught me, it’s that getting measurements right is the biggest part of any DIY job. And if you watched my last year’s gardening vlogs, you’ll know I was all about growing veg. This year I had good intentions but since a few meetings popped up here and there, it’s resulted in a small harvest of salad potatoes and some uneaten lettuce. Now I have something easier to maintain with a new herb kitchen garden which I plan to expand.
And to get this look, last week we made the decision to tidy up the back garden, rip out the chicken fire (which hadn’t really stop the dog) and planned on making my own decking. My goal? To house the hot tub I’ve always wanted. But I’ll put it out there and admit I’m not a huge fan of decking, particularly if it’s fixed to the main access. It can get very slippy, but love how it’s in a low traffic area and catches the sun throughout most of the day.
If you do consider doing your own decking, there’s a few YouTube videos that helped me plan my shopping list: one demonstrated by Big Brother’s Craig Phillips, Tommy’s Trade Secrets and a really useful How to Lay a Deck Guide by Wickes.
Regulations – The Nitty Gitty
To prevent the need for planning permission, we needed to make sure our decking wasn’t:
- More 30cm high from the ground.
- We didn’t use up up more than 50% of the garden, including any outer buildings or extensions.
- It was more than 20m away from a highway.
Things We Used
Firstly, we marked up our area using a string line and I removed any weeds, excess top soil and weed killed the whole area for extra measure. I then layed out and cut some weed control fabric from Screwfix and covered the whole patch with 5 bags of pea shingle gravel from Wickes.
Then for the wooden structure, Big Brother’s Craig advised using 4 x 2″, so I picked up 2.4m lengths of treated kiln dried timber from Wickes. Note: because we didn’t have a big van, these were the longest I could fit in my mini so had to buy these jointing plates for extra strength (I attached one of either side). Ideally get a long van if you can, as this step can risk the carcass not being a perfect square.
To attach the long pieces of timber within the frame, I picked up some fun looking Joist Hangers. Fun, you ask? They worked our £20 cheaper in Toolstation (which is within our Wickes’ branch) and have done the job perfectly.
Use Your Noggin!
This is definitely my new favourite word. These are pieces of wood slotted in between the long gaps to create a laddered effect (in the far right pic) for extra support. And any spare pieces were cut up as feet for the decking. To cut everything, my fiance used his old laser precision circular saw from B&Q which quite frankly scares me every time.
Absolutely every tutorial I saw recommended treating the raw ends of the timber each time I cut a piece. This apparently prevents rot and helps your project last longer, so using a paint brush, I applied Wickes’ Preserver in Clear.
To screw all my wood together, I did a fair amount of review scouring and picked the best I could find; there’s nothing worse than screws shearing off and they needed to be rust proof. We used the Timbadeck range in Screwfix and although they’re a little bit pricey, they were worth every penny and experienced not one problem. To join the carcass together, I used Timbadeck Double Countersunk 40mm screws in green (no one would see the colour) and 65mm Decking Screws, long enough to join the decking itself. To attach the screws, my Black & Decker EPC12 Cordless Drill (a gift from my Dad) was perfect for the job!
Once we’d got everything sorted for the base, we used Wickes’ 2.4m value decking. Don’t be fooled by the word value; it’s all treated. The non value decking, was just that little bit thicker ( so we were told instore). And all our decking was in a 4 for 3 offer and picked 36 pieces to create a 3.6m x 1.8m space.
Because our area was uneven soft ground, instead of create pad foundations from cement, we used plenty of spare paving slabs and bricks and a spirit level. We were originally going to use one piece of decking as fascia but some slabs were still visible. To avoid this, I found so many DIY decking planters and it’s easier than you may think. We did go back for some 1.8m value decking to avoid any cutting and created our own basic planters to span across the front. And although you can’t see it, we lined the inside with plastic sheeting, filled them with soil and transferred my fresh herbs.
Bark & Borders
As for the final touches, we almost paid £10 per 1m length of wooden picket style fencing borders. But once we got home, we thought, why not just use the existing decking instead? We love this little touch, although we’ve had to put plenty of grass seed and Westland Multi-Purpose Compost down to shrink the borders. And inside the border to compress any future weeds, we used Westland Landscape Bark, covering the apple trees.
All in all, everything cost us £400 but we have plenty of unused wood which I plan to create a decking themed table and bench with. If you’re doing a project like this in glorious weather, don’t forget sun tan lotion because like a fool, I’m currently paying for it!
Here’s my vlog from my Vikkie’s Vintage YouTube channel if you want to come for the ride!
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Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own and all products were paid for by us.