Tag Archives: small town gardens

How to implement Garden Decking

A very popular garden improvement in recent times is garden decking, which was brought about and promoted mainly through garden improvement programs (such as the BBC’s Ground force which was popular in the 1990’s).

Garden decking originates from the drier States of the USA, where wet-rot is not so much of an issue. Trends have brought this garden feature to our temperate climate where treated softwood and even hardwood products do not last long.

Where the ground slopes sharply away the garden decking comes into its own, a previously useless and potentially hazardous area of garden can be transformed into a uniquely charming and useful area. More often though, garden decking is chosen for a relatively flat and level area of the garden where traditional stone paths/patios would give more value for money – not to mention longevity!


Garden Decking Construction

Select the area to be decked, excavate away the grass/shrubbery, calculate where the finished deck height will be, work back with board thickness plus joist depth plus 50 to 100 mm clearance to ground level, dig ground away as necessary, place landscape fabric over the area and peg it down!

The idea is to frame your deck area first with 100 mm by 50 mm treated joists. At the corners there will be 100 mm treated posts concreted in and fixed through the joists. These will anchor the frame to the ground/jack it up to the correct height.

Decide which way the garden decking boards will run, this is because the joists will have to be fitted at 90 degrees to this. Fix the 100 mm by 50 mm treated joists at 300 mm centers. Galvanized brackets can be used and/or large galvanized nails. Some cross pieces (noggins can be added to stiffen the structure), also, intermediate posts should now be secured to the structure and concreted in. Often by simply walking across the carcass it is obvious where more support is needed from the deflection under-foot.

When all built, 2 coats of a good wood preserver will not go amiss.

It is worthwhile remembering our winters (UK) can be very wet and even treated softwood can deteriorate quickly!

Ideally a hardwood deck board would be chosen but this is expensive. Whatever the choice of decking, fix them to the joists at 90 degrees and screw them down with deck screws and a cordless screwdriver making sure to leave a 5 mm gap in between.

Cut the boards to length, stagger the joints, and always cut the lengths to the center of a joist (a chop saw is useful for this and will give good results).

Check boards for splits, warping and defects before fixing down, work methodically and check generally for mistakes as the work progresses.


(c) Copyright 2013, Mark Cook, All Rights Reserved. Written For: gardenconstruction.net


Improve your Garden via Garden Fencing

It is always a good and a relatively simple ploy to Improve your Garden by encompassing Garden Fencing. This post will hopefully give you an idea on what logistics are often involved….

Defining and restoring the parameters of your garden is usually the first stage of garden construction refurbishment. Careful planning will need to be done with your neighbor’s to make sure that you do not ‘upset’ anyone with the proposed garden fencing.

Overgrown and wild plots tend to have broken-down boundaries – with trees/shrubs and general scrub on the fence-line. These will all need to be cleared to enable site strings to be stretched between the correct points, which of course need to be agreed on by your neighbor’s, after which the garden fencing can then be constructed.

As with most properties, one or two boundaries in the garden will be your responsibility to maintain and to replace, this can usually be confirmed on the house deeds. The remaining boundary will be your neighbor’s responsibility and a certain amount of diplomacy is sometimes called for, for example, the neighbor might be happy to leave their fence in the current state and you may have to pay for the re-build. Believe us, this does happen and in our experience it is not worth falling out over!

Many types of decorative panels (for garden fencing) are available nowadays. There are many makes – ‘Jackson’s’ garden fencing products, for example, give a comprehensive selection of designs. Note that it is always a good idea to discuss fence height and design with your neighbor to get them on side (whether they are paying for it or not).

Once your fence height, length and style are decided on, the fence supplier will advise on exact quantities and make-up of your order. A good spirit level, cordless drill, wheel barrow, spade, claw hammer will be needed as basic tools.

Posts will need to be upright both ways and on the boundary line, concreted into the ground, and Panels/gravel boards will need to be level.

The transformation that new garden fencing makes to any garden is immediate and can be the springboard to future improvements.

For a gardenconstruction.net guide on installing garden fencing please stay tuned!


(c) Copyright 2013, Mark Cook, All Rights Reserved. Written For: gardenconstruction.net

What to do with a Small Town Garden?

As many first time buyers in the UK start off with a 1 or 2 bedroom house on a new estate, they can expect to get with that a postage stamp sized garden (small town garden) with a 10 to 20 sq. M. size lawn, a path and a basic patio.

small town garden

With spare cash almost certainly being an issue, keeping garden construction simple is the key for a small town garden.

The idea is to concentrate on where the inevitable shed is going to be placed – usually at the end of the small town garden nearest the back gate.
The lawn can then be dug out and replaced with a decorative stone circle kit with either brick or stone edgings, crushed slate chippings around (between the circle feature and the patio/path) and of course with a suitable membrane under everything (to keep the weeds away).

small town garden

In a very small town garden the smallest detail goes far – i.e. notice the red brick up-stand in both the images under the neighboring fence with a semi-circle around the existing honeysuckle climber, then forming a quadrant raised border against the shed with a specimen upright yew (slow growing).

The circle can be used for a free-standing feature (bird bath or statue) or as a seating  area (as shown above).

Please note that the round table and chairs can often be ‘cheaply’ bought.


(c) Copyright 2013, Mark Cook, All Rights Reserved. Written For: gardenconstruction.net