Mastering Ground Level Decking: An Australian Perspective

Introduction

Ground-level decking is an excellent addition to your Australian home. It provides an elegant outdoor living space that can be an extended part of your indoor living area. A well-constructed ground-level deck allows you to relax, entertain, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about building, designing, and maintaining your ground-level deck.

Understanding Ground-Level Decking

A ground-level deck, often called a “ground deck” or “low-level deck,” is constructed close to the ground. This unique design allows you to enjoy the perks of a deck without the need for extensive framing, support beams, or complex footings often associated with a raised deck. Ground-level decks are usually constructed less than 30cm from the ground, ensuring they seamlessly integrate with your garden.

Materials Required for Ground-Level Decking

The options range from traditional timber to composite decking when considering decking materials. Wood provides a classic, natural look that many homeowners prefer. However, it requires more maintenance due to its susceptibility to rot and moisture damage.

On the other hand, composite decking materials are made from a blend of wood fibres and plastic, offering the aesthetics of wood with added durability. They are resistant to rot, decay, and insect infestation, making them an excellent choice for ground-level decks. Furthermore, composite decking materials are available in various colours, allowing you to choose the perfect shade to match your home and garden aesthetics.

Designing Your Ground-Level Deck

Design is a crucial component in your ground-level deck project. The size and structure of the deck should complement your home and fit comfortably within your garden’s space. The deck’s design must also consider ventilation, drainage, and movement to ensure longevity. When designing your deck, consider adding gravel underneath for better drainage and to prevent water pooling. Leaving a small gap between the boards also aids ventilation, reducing the risk of moisture-related problems.

Incorporating Decking in Garden Ideas

Adding a ground-level deck to your garden enhances its aesthetics and provides functional benefits. You can incorporate it into a broader garden design with features like planters, benches, or a BBQ area. You can create a beautiful, cohesive outdoor living space by integrating your deck with other garden elements.

Building Your Ground-Level Deck

When building your ground-level deck, there are several steps to follow:

  1. Prepare the Ground: Clear the area and level the ground where the deck will be installed. You can add a layer of gravel for better drainage.
  2. Set up the Framework: Lay out the joists and beams, ensuring they’re level. For a ground-level deck, concrete blocks can be used as footings, providing a solid, level base for the joists.
  3. Install Decking Boards: Attach the decking boards to the posts using screws, ensuring each board is level.
  4. Seal and Finish the Deck: Apply a sealant to protect your deck from moisture and weather damage. If using timber, consider pressure-treating the wood for added protection.

Maintenance and Care of Your Ground Level Deck

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of your ground-level deck. Keep the deck clean and free from leaves and debris, as these can trap moisture and lead to rot. If using timber, reseal the deck periodically to protect it from the elements. Composite decking requires less maintenance but should be regularly cleaned to keep it looking its best.

Ground-level decks are a fantastic addition to any Australian home. They offer a functional, beautiful outdoor living space tailored to your personal style and garden layout. With a range of materials available, including composite decking, you can create a deck that meets your aesthetic preferences and stands up to the Australian climate.

Building a ground-level deck is a rewarding project whether you’re an experienced DIYer or a first-timer. Considering elements like design, materials, and maintenance, you can create a ground-level deck that adds value and enjoyment to your home for many years.

The Comprehensive Guide to Ground-Level Decking in Australia

Ground-level decking has become a popular addition to homes all over Australia. This home improvement project has several benefits, providing an additional outdoor area for leisure and significantly increasing the value of your home. Ground-level decks are particularly praised for their close-to-the-ground design, eliminating the need for complex framing, which reduces costs and saves time.

Understanding Ground-Level Decking

A ground-level deck, also known as a ‘floating deck’, is a deck that is built close to the ground. Unlike a raised deck, the ground deck’s surface is typically less than 30cm above the ground. These decks require less labour and materials as they do not need as many beams and joists for support, making them less expensive and easier to build.

Ground-level decks in Australia are usually made of timber, composite decking, or pressure-treated wood. They are designed to resist rot and moisture and are often considered an extension of your home, providing an accessible outdoor area for activities. With the right design and materials, your ground-level deck can be a centrepiece of your home.

Types of Decking Materials

When building a ground-level deck, you can choose from several materials. These include timber, composite, and pressure-treated wood.

Timber Decking: Timber is a traditional material used in decking. This includes hardwoods like Merbau and spotted gum, which are highly resistant to rot and insect attack.

Composite Decking: Composite decking is a modern alternative to traditional timber. It is made from wood fibres and recycled plastic, making it an environmentally friendly option. This material is low maintenance, durable, and resistant to rot, insect infestations, and moisture. The composite decking boards also maintain a consistent colour over time, which makes your deck look fresh and new for longer.

Pressure-Treated Wood: This type of wood is treated with preservatives to protect against decay, insects, and fungal infection. Although pressure-treated wood requires regular maintenance to keep it in good condition, it is cheaper than other options.

Planning and Designing a Ground-Level Deck

The first step in building a ground-level deck is planning and designing. Consider the size of your deck, the type of wood or composite you want to use, and the layout of the boards and joists. Take into account the area where you’ll build your deck. You should add some drainage or a concrete slab to keep the ground underneath from getting too wet.

Your ground-level deck should ideally be slightly elevated from the ground for proper ventilation and to prevent water from pooling. This can be achieved by laying down gravel before installing your deck, allowing air circulation and movement underneath the deck.

In terms of design, consider incorporating your deck into your garden landscape. Decking-in garden ideas include:

  • Integrating plant boxes.
  • Incorporating the deck around existing trees.
  • Creating a seamless transition from patio to garden.

Building Your Ground-Level Deck

Building a ground-level deck involves several steps. First, mark out the area of your deck, and then lay out concrete blocks or deck footings for support. Then, install the beams and joists, which provide the structure and support for your deck. You should ensure that the posts are evenly spaced and adequately secured with screws to prevent future movement.

Next, you’ll install your decking boards. Whether using timber or composite decking, these boards are typically secured to the joists with screws. Each panel should be cut to the correct size and have a small gap between them to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes.

The final step is to treat and seal your deck, especially if it’s made from timber or pressure-treated wood. This will protect it from moisture, decay, and insect infestation.

Maintaining Your Ground-Level Deck

Regardless of the materials used, all decks require some maintenance over time. Regular cleaning is necessary, removing any debris that could cause moisture or rot. If you’ve used timber or pressure-treated wood, you might need to reseal your deck every few years.

If you’ve chosen composite decking, the maintenance will be lower, but you should still watch for any damage or issues.

Conclusion

A ground-level deck can be a great addition to your home, offering a new outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment. Whether you prefer traditional timber, low-maintenance composite decking, or cost-effective pressure-treated wood, you will surely enjoy the benefits of a ground-level deck in your Australian home. Remember to plan your design carefully, use suitable materials, and follow proper building techniques to ensure that your deck will last many years.