Will you choose Decking or a Patio?

There’s a lot to be said for having a mud-free zone around your house, so do you choose a deck or a patio?  Whichever you select, you need to call in a landscape gardener to ensure you get the best job you can afford. There’s no point investing in a beautiful outdoor space that starts to wobble or fall apart in a couple of years, so I always say go for the best possible to protect your investment.

This picture shows a spectacular landscaping job that incorporates a beautiful paved patio and also a raised deck above. Talk about the best of both worlds!  But most of us don’t have the luxury of this sort of space or budget, so what would suit your property best – decking or patio?

The first thing to consider is your budget. Be realistic because every job costs more than you thought when you started out!  Decide how much you can spend, then take off a third – that’s your “budget”, allowing for a 50% increase as things change along the way.

When you know your budget, you can start to look at pictures to get an idea of what might look right with your property. Is your house ultra-modern or period? Contemporary or traditional?  You want to picture in your mind what it would look like with a patio or deck annexed. Or draw it out or enlist the help of an artistic friend if you’re challenged in that department.

What is going to suit the property?  Still not sure?  Here are some other tips.

What do you want to use it for?  Chilling, leisure, barbecues, children’s play area?  As you define the use, you’ll start to work out what would be more practical.  For example, if you want it for the kids, decking might be more friendly if they fall a lot. Or if they want an area for their skateboard, then maybe paving would be better.

How wet is your land?  This is important because it will affect the way a patio is laid and what sort of foundation you need – and hence the cost.  Get a couple of quotes if you’re leaning towards a patio or terrace so you can find out whether this kind of structure is within your budget.

Ok, so now you know how much you want to spend, what can you get for the money if you opt for decking?  It’s no good setting your heart on a beautiful hardwood deck if all you can afford is a much cheaper softwood one.  Check out what it will all cost and that may rule out one or two options.

Once you know what you can afford, start to think of practicalities. Do you want a softwood deck that needs painting every few years to keep it looking up to scratch?  Maybe you’re handy and don’t mind the upkeep if you can get something within your initial budget. Or perhaps you want something fairly maintenance free, like composite decking, which may start out a little more expensive, but will save you in the long run as it’s pretty low-maintenance.

 

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