All Decked Out

Nothing seems to capture the essence of relaxed outdoor living for kiwis better than an area of timber deck. Many of us will have great memories of long summer days in bare feet and shorts that end with a barbecue on the deck at the family bach.

Like many traditional items of popular kiwi culture, the design and use of decks has evolved, while still retaining a firm place in contemporary landscape design. Deck areas are now often treated as outdoor rooms, and designed with a strong connection to internal living rooms and offering good indoor – outdoor flow. The addition of low walls that act as overflow seating, or high walls to screen prevailing winds adds to the ‘room’ concept by creating a sense of enclosure and spaces for high end features like fireplaces and outdoor media screens and to be positioned.

Your selected decking boards can be built to finish at the same height as the finished floor level of your dwelling. This makes decking possibly the easiest way to create seamless ‘level entry’ from your internal space to your outdoor room. However the effectiveness if this can be limited by the design and profile of your door joinery.

There is a wide range of timber boards available to clad your deck. Traditional choices have included pine and hardwood kwila. Your choice will need to consider how much effort you want to put into maintaining your deck, and also how comfortable you are with the ethics around the sourcing and harvesting of your timber if you are choosing an exotic hardwood. The popularity of composite decking boards has increased in the last few years and they now offer a genuine alternative to a natural timber deck that both performs well and looks great.

The design and position of your deck is key to its success as a space for you to use. Most decks I design are positioned to capture afternoon sun with some degree of shelter from the prevailing easterly wind. However, a shady deck surrounded by ferns, under tree canopy can offer welcome respite on a hot summers day. Once you’ve got these elements working well, you’ve got a place to cherish time with friends and family for many years to come.

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2013 FORM garden architecture ltd | Craig Wilson | Registered Landscape Architect | Christchurch | Website by Studio Blue NZ

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Craig Wilson, FORM Garden Architecture