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Raised "L" shaped balcony deck - Buckinghamshire.

A typical scenario for a raised deck project, where the house is built on a higher level than the sloping back garden/patio.

This situation often requires steps down from rear access door to a lower patio area or the garden - as in this case. It was decided to install a slightly raised deck come balcony, which would give easily accessed outdoor relaxing space without having to climb up and down steep stairs.

The decking - even though relatively small in area proved to be the perfect choice, and access to the lower garden was incidental rather than compulsory! Being just outside the read patio doors, it did actually provide the much claimed 'outside room'. Light and always useable, with safe access to the lower area of the garden. The essential decking balustrade and staircase made for safe use.

Before the raised decking was installed there was distinct danger fro use of the crude steps. And the small area of patio was not too inviting! A small raised decking job that made a big difference to the house and garden usage - as well as being a feature in its own right.

The balcony section of the deck, took in the full width of the house, with a central staircase dividing the balcony from the raised patio deck. The old paved patio area was covered - albeit at a height - and made for some storage space with a few modifications to waterproof the deck floor.

The patio steps arrangement before the deck was installedThe old concrete paved patio area with crude concrete steps did not make for good use, and the steps were a danger in spite of the small hand rail. Patio doors were installed with direct access to the living space from the raised balcony and deck.

Needless to say, the old patio was never put to good use and simply became wasted space prior to the deck being installed. A clumsy entrance and exit from the house to nowhere that was used! So often, space is misused or rendered unusable without experienced knowledge on how to maximise it.

The old staircase prior to the new deck works.

The solution - a raised deck and connecting balcony - gave immediately usable space, and being raised, managed to collect a little additional sunshine.

The deck provides a much safer and user-friendly option

The newly-installed Patio doors - built in before the deck was started - completely changed the use of the living room and provided an exterior extension to the living space. Room for a few chairs and coffee table completed the set-up, and the deck became the favourite sitting area during the summer months and the warmer times of spring through to autumn.

Decks are much warmer in feel and environment that concrete and paved areas, and so become usable for a greater part of the year. Winter coffee alfresco is a reality!

A staircase down side of deck completes the picture and the deck. The  balustrade - purpose built - uses a 6x2in (150x50mm) top rail with a 4x2in (100x50mm) bottom rail. This sturdy construction means fewer intermediate newels or supports. The staircase in this instance was also bolted to the side of the deck for extra stability.

easy access to and from the house with this decking staircase from the small raised balcony deckThe stair case balustrade is further strengthened by extending the spindles down to the decking fascia - rather than using a bottom rail.

The hand rail for the decking staircase down from the raised deck, is 4x2in (100x50mm) to allow for better hand grip than 6x2in that was used on the horizontal toprail of the raised deck surround.


 Space now to have a cup of coffee on the new patio raised deck. It is always rewarding to see the client chomping at the bit with newly-acquired furniture which can be placed on the deck to very moment that the work is finished. No waiting for wet cement to dry under patio paving etc.

In the pictures, the transformation from a typical crazy paved The finished deck complete with floral table decorationpatio into a living deck can be seen. A few modern planters complete the picture and are nearly always instrumental in making the deck an integral link to the garden areas, as well as providing a little colour through most of the year.

If using metal containers for your plants on a deck - ensure that they are finished in either zinc or galvanised coated to prevent any staining from rust over the years. In any event it is a good idea to have the containers sat in a drip saucer, and raised off the deck to allow air circulation. This is particularly the case with terracotta planters, which tend to 'shed' their clay by way of dust over time. When oiling your deck, move the planters out of the way and not simply treat around them.

It is always a good idea on any hard surface, the move and reposition the planters from time to time. A little bit like moving the furniture round indoors!


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