How to Create Your Perfect Garden, Part Two – Water Features and Decking

A water feature in your garden forms a pleasant centrepiece and encourages wildlife. A water feature can range from a modest pebble pile with a submersible pump powered by a 12V or solar supply, to a large fountain. Here’s how to create perfect water features and decking.

When your garden water features get more ambitious and you’re looking at a swimming pool, there are some marvellous ways to enhance your garden ambience.

For a really special pool decoration, try a sculpture like Gymnast by Danielle Anjou from www.charltonisland.com – the American’s statuary is so realistic you’ll think you have an extra guest for pool parties.

Bespoke sculptural pool slides from www.splinterworks.com are non-corroding, self-cooling and long-lasting. They’re as stunning to look at as they must be to ride, come in a number of basic shapes but can be customised to fit your indoor or outdoor pool.

Preventing algae

There’s an old story that to prevent algae growing in your water feature or birdbath you should drop in a few pre-1982 pennies, which contained a high proportion of copper, a natural algicide. These days, you’ll probably find it easier to use a short length of copper piping.

Decking dreams

Garden decking has had a bit of bad press in the last few years, commonly regarded as an embarrassing 90s throwback, like grunge and pagers.

Certainly because it was a cheap and cheerful way of renovating a garden, it was embraced over-enthusiastically by the TV garden makeover shows. No-one gave much thought to the environmental consequences of covering your garden with hardwood plundered from rainforests.

But used sensibly and with some environmental awareness, decking can be a wonderful enhancement for your garden.

For instance, if you don’t have any level ground for sitting outdoors, a small decking area by the rear of the house can effectively extend our living space into the garden. Alternatively, a space at the end of the garden or a shaded area under a tree might provide some comfort and privacy.Here are a few points to consider when designing your decking area.

You will probably need to level the ground beneath before installing decking, but you can install over an existing patio.

Composite decking

Composite decking using a combination of recycled wood and synthetic materials is more durable than wooden decking, and is environmentally friendly. It’s also non-slip, easy to clean, and comes in a range of colours.

You can do all the measurements yourself, and buy the required number of boards or tiles and joists for the job, or you can buy kits with a pre-cut decking area.

Add handrails to create a more comfortable, separate feel.

Decking tiles are an alternative to planks, can be easier to install – they just click together – and come in an attractive range of colours, or you can colour them any shade you want with decking paint.

Try matching paint colours with your fences for a coordinated look.

Combining decking with a feature such as a pergola gives you plant growing options which can soften the hard lines of decking.

See also: Government Puts an End to the Green Homes Grant

Climbing plants can be used as shade too, or to provide more privacy for your decking area. Border plants and pot plants can be allowed to overgrow the edges of decking to soften outlines.

Light and shade

Alternatively a canvas awning can provide shade when you really need it.

Decking can provide a base for solid structures such as pavilions which can provide shade in summer as well as protection from the elements when it’s cooler.

An open pergola can frame a decking area without cutting out the sun, but when you do need shade, you can use inexpensive garden materials such as open weave seagrass.

Garden lighting is essential if you want to use your decking area all year round – enhance your decking area with fairy lights, spot lights, or for an architectural effect, integrated panel lighting. For decking furniture, don’t go for cheap garden plastics – try to choose something that would look good indoors too.

See also: How to Create Your Perfect Garden, Part One – Lawns

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