For the many inner city dwellers squeezed for space a well-designed deck may be the answer to getting the most from outdoor areas. Decking is a versatile and durable option for creating comfortable outdoor zones, and with proper planning and design a deck will form a natural connection to indoor areas.
Leon Travis from Boral Timber offers the following advice for urban homeowners planning a deck:
1. For a smoother transition from the home’s interior, consider a decking timber species that is no darker than interior flooring. Timber is simple to treat and darken at a later stage if desired; however a naturally dark timber cannot be lightened if homeowners change their mind. Also, consider the direction of interior flooring. Installing timber decking boards accordingly helps to maintain consistent design and flow from indoors to out. Blackbutt species is a popular choice and is available in flooring and decking boards.
2. When choosing timber it is important to bear in mind that only certain species adapt well to decking. Australian hardwood decking is well suited to the Australian climate — from the suburbs to the city.
3. The size of the deck will also contribute to how practical it is. Will it fit a table and chairs, a barbecue, a herb garden or serve as a safe children’s play area? For year round use, consider a weather or shade cover, such as a retractable awning or more permanent shelter, depending on the aspect of the home and how much exposure to the sun it receives at different times of the day. Remember, the angle of sun will also change from winter to summer.
4. If space is limited consider how the area beneath the deck can be used. Depending on the deck’s elevation it can be designed to serve as a functional storage space for outdoor furniture, garden supplies or sporting equipment.
5. Designing and installing a highly functional urban deck can be a complex undertaking, so using a licensed builder is recommended.