12 Months Later - The deck is settled in and nicely planted up with evergreen shrubs.

Twelve months after completion, the deck has toned down naturally to a honey brown colour, the hot tub is well used, and the plantings are starting to mature.

Whilst the angled and shaped corners did much to soften the outline of this large garden deck, the plantings do even more. Simple evergreen shrubs with arching habit, will soon cover the vertical aspects of this deck, and if allowed to 'roam' a little over the edges, then really help to blend this deck into the substantial garden surrounds.

The palm-like evergreen shrub - a Cordyline - is well suited to the large deck, but should be given a lot of thought before inclusion on a smaller deck, for the lance-like leaves are a potential danger at eye-level. 

A further advantage of having the shrub border - if it can be so described - is that of overcoming the problem of grass cutting right up to the edge of the deck. A little point, but well worth mentioning, for a new deck does not want to be spoiled or become a burden that necessitates the use of edging shears or a strimmer.

As will have been seen in the construction process of this deck, there is no problem in the weight load of the hot tub - especially as it has a large ' footprint' which helps in load dispersal.

The green colour of tanalised softwood soon tones down to a honey brown colour. This is what happend after 12 monthsThis deck is accessed from above - the main terrace patio at the rear of the house - and is a valuable addition to the garden. Decks can be accessed at any time of the year - as soon as the rain stops. There is no need to worry about spoiling the lawn with pedestrian use after heavy rain. Decks are free draining - or should be.

The deck here is essential for the inclusion of the hot tub, and much more user-friendly than a paved patio would have been. Also less expensive, and - for professionals - relatively quick to build. A raised patio to the same dimensions would have cost three to four times more, would have taken much longer to build - with the resultant upheaval that building projects are noted for - and above all would not have fulfilled the same functions as this deck has done.

Balustrades could have been added, but this would have interrupted the view to the garden and beyond. As it stands, this garden deck is in no way obtrusive to the peaceful surrounds in which it stands. The low growing shrub border around the front of the deck will act as a barrier, and at the same time soften the edge of the deck visually. All too often deck construction starts and ends with the provision of a timber platform deck with little though as to how to blend it into the garden.

Once the evergreen foliage shrubs have grown, the deck will blend well into the rural setting of this garden whils at the same time not infringing upon space or view into the rest of the garden.

If left untreated, the natural colour of the decking timber with fade to light grey. Regular oiling of the deck will ensure that the timber retains its natural look and also protect the timber against dirt, and decay.

In this project, it was essential - given the rural surroundings - to blend the deck into the garden and the greater landscape. It is mainly visible from a raised patio or from the house, but hardely visible in the overall sceme of things at normal height viewpoint. Even the hot tub is 'softened' by the inclusiong of just a few patio tubs planted with peranent foliage plants.

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