Garden // Building a Scaffold Board Deck & Clad Fence

May 02, 2019

After last year's crazy hot, dry summer that lasted for months on end, parts of our garden needed a bit of an overhaul. Some of the garden had become too baked, the grass at the end of the summerhouse like straw and the beds to the far left and right under the trees, too dry to plant much. The meadow/fruit tree area that we'd planned to be all wild and whimsical next to the summerhouse just looked a bit of a mess and it was an area that we weren't using to it's full potential. It's also the area of our garden which gets the most sun throughout the year, when in the early Spring/late Autumn and throughout winter, the rest of the garden is shaded by the house. When we were in Palm Springs at the start of this year, I enjoyed working out outside in the mornings by the pool, Ben and I were walking one day and were talking about outdoor living and our plans for the garden when I realised that we either have wet grass in the mornings or gravel, neither of which are ideal for a workout mat without slipping or getting covered in wet grass! I know, I know, first world problems but it would be really nice to have a garden that suits our needs/wants given that we had the space to do so. So then came the idea of decking the bottom of the garden, which would solve the messy/dry part, hide the dark trees at the back and our compost heap, give us an area for a raised bed for planting some salad/veg at home and create a large space that our new baby can happily play on without grass/gravel and we can entertain on and enjoy the sunshine when the rest of the garden is shadowed

I had a strong idea in my head about what I wanted and scoured websites like Houzz and Pinterest to try and show Ben what I envisaged. With a big list of other jobs to get done before the baby arrives, this was fairly low priority - until Ben being Ben couldn't wait to get started on a new project and so in April, it began! If we were going to do it, we wanted to get it finished before the summer to minimise disruption/enjoyment to the garden and before the garden starts looking at her best with flowers. 

I've made this post quite extensive with a lot of photos showing each stage in detail as thought it might be helpful. 

These are the before photos;

The first job was to divide the garden. You can see the blog posts here that show how we got to this point with the garden design over the past few years. Basically our garden is separated into four square lawns and so the deck would naturally sit at the end of this.

Our garden slopes a little so Ben had to dig a lot more from the left side than the right to get a flat base ready for the deck. The preparation was the hardest part, lifting up lots of turf and soil to lower the left and slightly build up the right.

Before ^.

It was really physical labour but Ben was determined that he could do it all on his own! {until a kind friend offered to help out}.

Gradually the lawn got dug up.

We mocked up how we wanted it to look, I had an image in my head but was worried if it would work with the rest of our cottage style garden. 

Out came the fruit trees to the left of the shed {we planted them in our front garden instead} and Ben built a raised bed area which would be screened with fencing. It meant we had an area to put all of the soil/turf in without needing lots of skips.

Lots of wood got delivered.

Thanks Mark!

Slowly the raised beds got filled, and the base was dug.

We came across some huge tree roots, some could be dug out, but we realised that we'd have to leave the biggest tree base and build the deck around it, coming up with the idea of a lift up big daybed with a sandpit inside.

With half of the base dug out, it was whacked down and breeze blocks added

The boys put a weed proof membrane on top of the soil and then built a wooden base with the breeze blocks to hold it off the ground {to stop it rotting}.

Taking shape!

Then the first of the boards could go down. We went for scaffold boards as the decking because we love the look of them and they were much more affordable than other types of deck/composite. We searched on eBay for our cheapest local supplier of scaffold boards and had them delivered {although they're sold as scaffold boards, we got them without the metal bands which means they may split a little over time but we're happy with the character}. 

We planned the joists so the end of the each scaffold board would sit halfway on a joist and because they are likely to shrink in width when they dry out, we placed them close together to allow for a slight gap later on.

These screwed on to the wooden base.

Working through the rain.

The right side of the garden was easier to dig out as it didn't need as much levelling as the left so it was a lot quicker.

The deck got laid around the existing silver birch tree - a tree that I never used to like much in the garden as it sucked all the water out of the flower bed there but has now become one of my favourite features in the garden with it almost framing the deck!

With the deck mostly laid, it was time for the fencing. 

Ben built a frame out of treated timber which attached to the deck and existing fence posts for added strength. 

We ordered Q clad barn cladding, which comes pre-painted in either black or white. 

This then gets cut to length and nailed onto the frame.

Instant screening!

We did the same on the other side.

Onto the left side.

With the deck almost finished and the fencing, it was time to add some planting/tubs to soften it a little and add some interest.

Ben had bought me the galvanised farm troughs for my Birthday from a local reclamation yard, all of the other tubs we already had around the garden/in front of the summer house and had collected from antiques markets/junk shops over the years.

We wanted to keep the planting simple at the top, I feel like we have enough upkeep with the rest of the plants in the garden so wanted low maintenance plants that we wouldn't have to do anything with. As such, we've gone for bay trees which we already had by the summerhouse before but moved them out to frame the deck now, along with eucalyptus and rosemary. We didn't want to spend a lot on planting so used rosemary cuttings that we already had and brought back verbena cuttings from our allotment to mix in with the rosemary. Then with the rest of the tubs we have hydrangeas in which we've put in a group on the left hand side which gets afternoon shade {they wilt in full sun}. 

In one of the troughs we've planted herbs that I bought in a pack from Costco. We drilled the bottom of the troughs to add drainage and added some sand/gravel before compost and then planted the herbs.

We added an olive tree which used to be on our top patio but was a bit lost up there, now it really stands out and adds a Mediterranean feel.

Ben then added a piece of cladding onto the front of the deck where it meets the grass to finish it off.

We're still working out exactly what kind of furniture we want down here to use the space and where the sun is compared to the patio by the house. Ben wants to create a kind of outdoor kitchen with our BBQ down this end but I like having it closer to the house when cooking/entertaining. 

I had the sunlounger, which I part-bought as part of a collaboration last year. It's this one online here. I really love it as it's such a suntrap in this part so that will definitely stay. It's just whether we add a table or little sofa set to the rest of it, or just use deckchairs for now. I also want to add a shade sail to one side to block some of the strong midday sun, especially when we have the baby.

A lot of people have asked what we'll treat the deck with. It's recommended to leave wood for a few weeks before you apply a finish. I think we'll leave ours all summer to let it weather. When we do treat it before the winter, we plan to use Osmo products including a non-slip deck top coat. 

The deck gets sun throughout the winter so we're hoping it won't get too slippy but we won't be walking over it in the Winter, it's at the end of our garden rather than by the house so we can then resand it/retreat it if needed next Spring/Summer. 

I actually really like the colour of it now but equally hope it will weather slightly over time. I always love the colour of decks out near the sea on holiday, when properly weathered and hit by strong sunshine/salt! Obviously that's not likely to happen here in the middle of England haha.

Ben's finished the wooden daybed/seat since these photos were taken. So we'll probably wait until next Spring/summer to work out the sandpit inside of it as it will be a while before our baby is interested in that kind of thing.

I'm so so thrilled with how it all looks now and has really smartened up that end of the 

Any other questions that I haven't answered?

Hope this has helped!

R <3 xx 

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