As spring approaches and the summer draws nearer, we are all keen to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Decking is a great way of optimising your outdoor space, bringing you a relaxing area where you can socialise and wind down after a busy day.
The first thing you need to do to prepare is check that your decking is safe. Once that is done, you can set about cleaning your decking and have a little fun.
Cleaning Your Decking
Cleaning your decking may seem like a chore but it will help you to protect your decking for another year, and give it a new lease of life. You will need:
- Oxygenated bleach cleaner or decking cleaner
- Soft scrubbing brush
- Thick gloves
- Sandpaper or sander
- Sealant or stain of your choice.
Before you get started, test a little bit of cleaner on the corner of your deck to check you have the right concentration. All dirt and mildew should dissolve in fifteen minutes. If it takes longer than quarter of an hour, you need to make the solution stronger, but if it takes much less, you need to make it weaker.
Once you have tested your bleach solution and are happy with the strength, use your scrubbing brush to apply the bleach all over the deck. Allow the deck to dry and lightly sand the wood (this job is much quicker and easier if you use an electric sander – these can be hired from specialist hardware stores). Brush off all loose dust and apply your stain or wood protector. If you are using more than one coat, make sure the first coat is completely dry before you apply the second one. Once your decking is cleaned, sanded and protected, you can crack on with the fun bits!
Build a Bench
Built in benches are a versatile, practical and comfortable addition to decking. Add a lift-up lid so you can keep garden tools and accessories neatly stored away. Consult a carpenter if you need advice on how to make the most out of the space.
Flower Boxes and Hanging Baskets
Use overhangs and railings to grow plants for a splash of seasonal colour. Strawberries and tomatoes in hanging basket and plant boxes are a great addition – they grow well, will be out of the way of slugs and snails, and provide an instant snack while you relax on the decking!
The world of outdoor lights has well and truly exploded. Gone are the days when the best option for outdoor lighting was an in-your-face security lamp, and you no longer need to get outside electrics or trail an unsightly power cable outside. Choose from outdoor battery operated lights, or opt for solar lights for a cheap, sustainable, zero-maintenance upgrade.
With a few simple upgrades, you can make the most of your garden space and enjoy some well-earned rest in a peaceful, relaxing environment.
If you want help making the most of your garden, check out landscape gardeners near you.