If you have a sloped garden, building a deck can be a great way to create an area for dining or just a space to sit and relax. Janet Sycamore, Director of Operations, answers our questions about building a deck on a sloped garden. No matter how steep the slope, timber decks are a cost effective and practical way to create level areas from which to enjoy your outdoor space. Because wood is much easier to work with than other hard landscaping materials, features like steps and changes of level can be built in to add interest and create different zones for relaxing, entertaining or dining.
You will need to secure planning consent and building regulations approval for a timber deck that is more than 300mm from the ground at its highest point. The key design consideration with sloping sites is to make sure that the posts used to support the deck frame have firm foundations.
A common mistake is to assume that raised decks do not require planning or building regulations approval. For example, using timber components with insufficient strength or which lack the durability (resistance to biodegradation) to provide a long and safe life. Products in direct contact with the ground or any part of a substructure that would be difficult and costly to replace should always be impregnated to the use class 4 specification.
For example, rust can stain the wood or fixings may corrode, leading to premature failure of connections and safety issues. That’s why you should choose stainless steel or specialist coated fixings specifically designed for outdoor decking use. People generally enlist the services of a professional decking installer where a sloping site is involved.
Before agreeing a price and appointing an installer, always make sure they have the expertise to build raised, load bearing decks. This means you should thoroughly investigate the installer’s credentials by checking out reference projects, qualified testimonials, accreditations and confirmation of the standards they work to.
All members of the scheme are audited on an annual basis to ensure they are operating to TDCA good practice standards.
Some people like to give their decks a spring clean using a pressure washer and then apply a clear water repellent coating to freshen up the appearance.
Your installer may be able to offer you advice based on the specification they have worked to or even book in periodic inspections of your deck. There are many different systems available, ranging from traditional timber balustrades to contemporary materials like stainless steel and sheet glass.
The important thing to remember is that the height of the parapet for decks on sloping sites must have a loadbearing capability and be a minimum of 1100 mm high.