Although the weather is quite literally freezing outside, with snowfall across much of the UK, it doesn’t mean people aren’t dreaming of spring which doesn’t seem too far away. As we start thinking about the change in season, those with gardens will begin plans to ensure they have great outdoor spaces to enjoy once the weather is pleasant once more. A decking area is the perfect solution for entertainment and relaxing in the garden.
A deck is the perfect place for a table and chairs, sun loungers and even lots of beautiful planters to create an outdoor haven. Don’t sacrifice your dream of having a deck in your garden by thinking about the budget and assuming it’s too expensive. By following some budget-friendly tips, and with early planning, you’ll be well on your journey to have an inexpensive beautiful deck where you can relax for many seasons to come.
Before going ahead with your decking, you’ll need to choose the right materials. The choice is mainly between composite wood decking and real wood decking. There are pros and cons for both of these materials, problems and limitations with each, different price tags and a slightly different appearance too. These are the sorts of questions we will address in this article to help you make your choice whether it’s ultimately based on an upfront tight budget, or something that is cost-effective in the long run.
Here are some tips about which material to choose when it comes to decking and how to keep it within your budget. It is never too early to start planning for your desired deck, especially with spring on the horizon!
Here are some great tips for saving money when buying your decking materials:
Don’t automatically go for cheap and pressure-treated softwood materials
If your budget allows, then don’t settle for pressure-treated softwood decking. This type of pressure treated softwood is cheaper than hardwood. However, softwood, even when pressure treated, is not always the most cost-effective solution for a deck that you want to stand the test of time.
If your decking is under cover then it may make sense to choose the cheaper option, but if your decking is going to be exposed to the elements yearlong, then it’s wiser to make a more cost-effective choice. Something that costs a little more upfront, but will save you money down the line as it will last so much longer and need less maintaining.
Look at the cheapest hardwoods to see what is available, such as Tigerwood and Garapa which can be great choices for attractive decking.
Or, if you want something that can really last forever and needs no ongoing maintenance costs then choose composite. Sure, it’s more expensive, but it won’t rot and it won’t constantly need sanding and re-painting / re-staining to keep it looking good.
Composite is super easy to clean and won’t ever need painting! It won’t crack, warp or rot. It’s great for an easy maintenance solution for decking.
Get all your decking materials in one place
Sometimes shopping online seems like the cheapest and easiest option, but check out your local landscape yards and building merchants. Many have sales reps who will be more than willing to compete with other retailers to give you the best price and secure a discount, especially if you are spending a substantial amount. This is exactly what we did when we built our deck and sourced all our materials from the same local business. They even let us have free delivery and they were nearby in case anything was wrong or we needed some extra materials quickly.
Even if you’re ordering online, check for discount codes and special offers if you are spending over a certain amount. If you can’t find anything then don’t be afraid to contact the company by email or telephone to ask if they offer discounts for big spenders or bulk orders. You never know, they might give you one! And of course, always check for cashback online as you can get quite a percentage back if you’re spending a lot at well-known merchants.
How to choose the right decking company?
It can be tricky ordering decking online as you don’t get to see it in person before it arrives. To solve this, make sure you check if the supplier has FSC certification to ensure the wood used is sustainably sourced.
Also, check for reviews and testimonials of the company to ensure they come highly recommended and you can see photos of their products in use. One way to check for customer photos is to find their social media accounts and see if they’ve been tagged in customer photos, for example on Instagram.
I also like to check the company has an email address and phone number in case of any issues. There’s nothing more frustrating than being stuck for hours on a chat messenger when they have no other way of contacting them!
Check your measurements
Check your measurements and check again! As with building the deck, ‘measure twice, cut once’! The same goes when you are ordering your materials. Make sure you are ordering the right measurements. You don’t want to mistakenly order 300 linear feet of deck when you meant to order 300 square feet. Check you have the right measurements when ordering online and use a conversion tool online if you need to convert your measurements.
Use reclaimed materials
Yes this is possible with a deck! We created a boardwalk footpath by using reclaimed scaffold boards from a local scaffold board company who let us have them £2 a piece! Such a bargain and we could cut each piece to make around three parts of the path!
Of course, this will need maintaining each year, but if you don’t mind a bit of hard work and re-painting every summer, then using reclaimed materials is a really eco-friendly way of creating a new deck for cheap.
We made a footpath, but there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t create an actual seating area using reclaimed scaffold boards or perhaps you can locate some other reclaimed materials from a reclamation yard – maybe even actual reclaimed decking boards!
Save on labour
Labour is usually the most expensive part of any home project such as building a new deck, so to save on costs I recommend either completing it yourself if you are competent at DIY and have the right tools, or perhaps even hire a handyman who is competent and most likely charges less per day that a full-on landscaping company.
Check out how I built my own decking area for more great tips and advice.