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Garden Decking Project - Balustrade, raised deck, staircase to lower garden area.

This was a high level decking project with a brief to make the garden safe for child use. Prior to the deck being built, there was a sheer drop of 1.5m (5ft) over a garden retaining wall. As well as the secure deck area, balustrade railing was built along the garden - the drop extended the whole length of the garden. It was totally unsafe for children's play - or anything else for that matter.

Timber decking used to separate the high level garden - and 1.5 metre drop - onto the lower level garden. (Thereby making the upper level a safe play area for young toddler.)

Whilst not being raised deck in constructional terms, the deck had to include balustrade and staircase.


The decking balustrade was extended along the garden to allow safe use of the upper lawn area. Balustrades extended beyond deck area to 'enclose' higher level of garden. The complete project at Brighton was carried out using softwood decking and joists. Balustrades were made up on site - not pre made.

There was a drop of several metres down from the lawn area to the garden below - hence the reason for the balustrades.

Incorporating the balustrades in this manner has a pleasing effect and transformed the visual effect of the garden. Together with this, the whole garden was made safe for children's use.


Decking Staircase or steps.

Decking steps to lower level of garden. The angle of the staircase, the height of the balustrade, the gaps between spindles, all carried out to building control regulations, although in this case it was not compulsory. 

A secure decking staircase led from the deck down into the lower garden.
By building the steps to run down the front edge of the deck - rather than protruding into the garden at right angles - more space is saved. Together with this, the staircase is safer with the deck side completely boxed in giving an enclosed feeling. It is often felt that running a staircase out at right-angle from the deck is the best way for a decking staircase to be built. This is not normally the case - unless it is just a few steps down. Far safer to build the stairs parallel with the deck.

Safety is the deciding factor - rather than design aspirations. Whilst a right0angle staircase may look grand - other than taking up a lot of garden space - it normally 'feels' safer to walk down the face of the deck rather than out from the deck. Together with this, there is a natural 'slow-down' aspect, as one has to turn into the steps. Very important when children are going to be using the deck - yours and other's!

If the staircase protrudes at right-angle, then there is no natural 'slow-down' effect- such as with the parallel stairs. And, as we all know, kids will be kids! Visiting kids, moreso!

A purpose made decking gate was included at the top of the deck staircase.

Purpose-made gate at top of steps to ensure that toddlers did not 'escape' from the deck whilst parents are not looking. When making gates to fit into balustrades etc, remember that continual shrinkage and expansion can cause the gate to 'stick'.

Make plenty of allowance in the gap of the gate to take this into account. The same is also true of wet weather conditions, when timbers can expand by 2-3 percent.


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