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Decking must go...

Advice or suggestions welcome....

I bought my house about ten years ago and I've made quite a lot of changes to the garden. One thing I haven't changed is the thing I disliked most when I moved in - decking (about 4 x 3m) by the back door. I didn't feel up to replacing it myself and the quotes I got for patios were outrageous. The unloved decking has not got any better over time and both last year and this year it has provided a home for rats to breed! Now I really want to get rid of it but - what to replace it with? I'm aiming for a rustic/country garden effect but the current trend in paving seems to be hyper modern and slick. Also, how to find a reliable company to do it? I still don't feel up to laying a patio despite watching a dozen youtube videos that make the whole process look simple. Does anyone have experience they want to share (good or bad)?

Comments (4)

  1. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Mike, I would say that if you have hated the deck from the moment you moved in, then you are definitely right to remove it. It is not likely to grow on you, at this late stage!

    And secondly, if you don't feel up to laying patios, then don't! Far better to admit it and get someone else in to do the work: badly laid patios (not meaning that as an insult, you know what I mean) are unsightly, and dangerous, as the slabs will end up uneven, forming trip hazards, and will quickly have weeds growing between them.

    Before you make any big decisions, try typing "outdoor flooring" into a search engine, and clicking the "images" tab: you could also try typing in phrases like "decking alternative" or "patio flooring" or "unusual patio" etc, to see what pops up. This might give you some ideas.

    I guess the question is, what do you want from the area? Is it a place to sit out in the sun - in which case you need hard surfacing so you can walk on it barefoot. Is it just a way to get in and out of the back of the house - in which case you don't need a big deck/patio, just enough room to wipe your feet, so a curvy path which widens out just as it meets the house might be all you need. Do you, for that matter, walk out there barefoot? If not, you could consider covering the same area with a loose surface such as shingle, with solid steps just outside the door: I have this option in my own back yard, and I love it, as I can walk out there all year round without getting wet ankles. I wrote about it here, recently, you might like to check that out.

    Finally, with regard to the price, most towns/villages/areas have a local website now, it would be worth looking for local tradesmen there: and if you are on something like Facebook, find the "for sale and wanted" page for your area and ask for recommendations there.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Grower

    Mike Hill

    Thanks Rachel, there are some great images (lots of decking though!). I like the effect of shingle in your garden but the deck is the only sunny spot to sit in the garden so I think it needs a solid surface.

  3. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Patio it is, then! You could try to find some old stone slabs, for the rustic look, rather than slick modern new ones. And if you leave a couple of planting holes open within the patio area, you can plant scented herbs (thyme,rosemary, oregano, mint - no, maybe not mint!) that will release their fragrance as people brush past them. Far better than leaving the joints un-pointed, which leads to unsightly weeds.

  4. Grower

    Mike Hill

    That sounds just the ticket


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