The past few months have been challenging in all sorts of different ways, but if nothing else, the lockdown has been a good opportunity to spend some quality time in the garden.
With the weather warming up and the country’s pubs, restaurants and cinemas closed until further notice, we are more eager than ever before to make use of our own outdoor spaces.
Now the lockdown rules have been relaxed to allow people from different households to meet in outdoor areas – including private gardens.
This probably means that our gardens, patios and decks won’t be seeing much rest for a little while yet!
Still, this begs the question: is your outdoor space ready for a socially-distanced garden party?
Many of us are guilty of neglecting our gardens, and even if you have been making more use of your outdoor space lately, it may not be looking its best – after all, you weren’t expecting anyone else to see it!
But now the rules have changed, and all of your friends and loved ones are suddenly calling up and asking how soon they can come and have a backyard BBQ at your place.
Perhaps it’s time to pull your socks up and turn your tumbledown garden into a modern, welcoming space that you can be truly proud to share with your nearest and dearest.
What’s the best material for your back garden?
There are many different ‘flooring’ options to choose from when you’re renovating your garden. Each one has its own pros and cons, but let’s assume that your top priorities are as follows:
- Good looks
- Value for money
- High durability
- Not too much maintenance required
Let’s explore a few different options with those four criteria in mind…
Lawn / turf
Garden turf is relatively cheap, and walking barefoot on a lawn in the summertime is one of life’s simplest pleasures.
The main problem with grass is the upkeep it requires.
Lawn specialists recommend mowing once a week in the spring and autumn, and twice a week during the summer months; you’ll also have to water your lawn regularly during periods of little or no rainfall.
Then you have to watch our for weeds, grass diseases, and lawn pests like chafer grubs and leatherjackets.
We can all appreciate the visual appeal of a lush green lawn that’s properly taken care of, but that well-manicured look certainly doesn’t come easy!
but that well-manicured look certainly doesn’t come easy!
Your lawn or turf will have an additional appeal in the cold months with the addition of extra features like a firepit. For safety purposes, your fire pit installation or placement should be in a cleared spot where the heat would not affect the lawn, whether natural or artificial.
This step will create a focal point for gatherings like cosy evenings with loved ones, and your outdoor area and flooring will look like a backyard oasis.
Paving your garden can be a great choice if you’d rather not worry about improving lawn drainage and sharpening mower blades.
Paving slabs cost more money than turf, but once they’re in place, they will generally hold up pretty well without much extra work.
If you really want to keep maintenance to a minimum, porcelain paving is a fantastic choice – porcelain has a far lower porosity than natural stone, so porcelain tiles are more moisture resistant and eliminate the need for regular sealing.
Porcelain paving scores very highly in the looks department, too.
Companies like PrimaPorcelain offer a wide variety of contemporary styles, including stone-effect and wood-effect pavers.
Another obvious alternative to turf is artificial grass, which purports to offer all the benefits of a real lawn without any of the drawbacks.
Artificial turf is initially more expensive than the real McCoy, but fake lawns require very little maintenance and always look the same regardless of what the weather brings.
If that sounds appealing, bear in mind that fake turf can get very warm on hot days and will need to be replaced after a while, whereas a real lawn will last far longer if you look after it properly.
And you might find that you miss the natural scent and feel of real grass!
Deck boards are another increasingly popular outdoor flooring option.
A traditional timber deck has its charms, but composite decking (made by combining synthetic materials with real wood fibre) is a superb alternative that requires a fraction of the maintenance.
Good-quality composite deck boards don’t have to be stained or painted – they’ll last for years with virtually no upkeep at all. Their durability is a little like GRP Grating – a more industrial flooring regularly used in commercial settings.
Composite decking is also a good choice if you’re worried about safety hazards like splinters (composite products don’t splinter like hardwood boards do) and slippery surfaces (composite decking tends to be more slip resistant than wood).
Of course, composite wood decking is a bit like artificial grass in that it will never look quite the same as the real thing.
That being said, you might be surprised – many modern composite decking products are practically indistinguishable from their traditional hardwood counterparts!
Whichever material you select for your outdoor living space, be sure to shop around and order samples from a few different suppliers before you make a final decision.
Do you need to upgrade your outdoor flooring?
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