How To Lay Garden Decking


Putting a deck in your garden will make it look smarter, neater - and make it easier to care for. It will also give you loads of new space for a dining area, space for seating or for kids to play.

Tape measure
Wooden pegs and string
Weedproof membrane
Deck boards and joists
Wood preservative
Stainless steel or galvanised countersunk screws
Electric screwdriver
Spirit level

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From around £200 for a DIY store kit; less if you buy components to your chosen size.


A small deck will probably take a weekend - but if you're working on your own, if your deck is large or if you're new to DIY, it will take longer.


It's best for a competent DIYer to tackle this task, but there's no reason that a patient, careful beginner shouldn't give it a go.

Mark Out The Deck Area

Step One: Mark Out The Deck Area

Mark out the position of the deck using pegs and string. Clear the site of grass and weeds; and level it with a spade. Lay a weedproof membrane and cover it with gravel. If you are laying your deck over an existing patio area you won’t need to do this

Cut And Place The Joists

Step Two: Cut And Place The Joists

Create the frame by cutting joists to the required size. The frame will be filled with floor joists; which should be 400mm apart at the centres. Mark their positions on the frame; and cut the floor joists to size. Place the side and floor joists in position in the garden.

Construct The Frame

Step Three: Construct The Frame

Make up the deck bearer of frame and floor joists. Use 70mm countersunk screws in pre-drilled holes; with three screws at each joist end. Use a spirit level to ensure all joists are level as you work.

Lay The Deck Boards

Step Four: Lay The Deck Boards

Lay the deck boards. These run at right angles to the floor joists. Cut each board to the length required. Start with the first board at the front of the deck; ensuring it is flush with the outside edge of the frame. Use two 50mm countersunk screws in pre-drilled holes to secure the deck board to the deck bearer at each joist. Secure the remaining boards in the same way; leaving a 3-5mm gap between each board.


Step Five: Finishing

Use extra deck boards to face the exposed cut ends. Seal any cut ends of joists or boards with wood preservative to avoid rot.

Illustrations: Ed Roberts


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