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What are the benefits of composite decking

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

 

If you’re looking to add a deck to your garden, you may be surprised by the number of different choices available to you. Hardwood, softwood, composite wood, plastic…there are many different options to choose from, and each one has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

Today, we’ve teamed up with TimberTech UK to take a closer look at composite decking, which is an increasingly popular choice among British homeowners. Composite boards are made by combining natural wood materials with synthetic polymers, resulting in a material that’s somewhere in between hardwood and plastic decking.

So why are so many people turning to composite decking these days? What advantages does this material have to offer?

Minimal maintenance

Perhaps the most-trumpeted benefit of composite wood decking is the fact that it requires very little maintenance. Timber decking has to be treated every couple of years to keep it from becoming unsightly and – in the end – unusable. Composite deck boards, on the other hand, don’t need to be stained or painted, and unlike timber boards, they’re not prone to rotting, warping and splintering. Occasional washing is all that’s generally required to keep a composite deck looking good.

Improved slip resistance

Wood decking tends to become very slippery when the weather takes a turn for the worse, but happily, this is less of a problem for composite deck boards. Composite deck boards are less absorbent than their hardwood counterparts, so surface water dries quickly instead of seeping into the wood and creating a favourable habitat for mould and algae.

Environmentally friendly

The hardwood decking industry is a notorious contributor to deforestation, and in recent years, we’ve even seen reports of UK shops stocking the by-products of illegal logging activity in the Amazon rainforest. Composite decking is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional timber decking – TimberTech boards, for example, are made using waste wood from the furniture industry that would otherwise have gone into landfill sites. The plastics used to create composite decking are increasingly coming from environmentally-kind sources (e.g. recycled plastic bottles) as well.

Are there any drawbacks?

We mentioned at the beginning of this article that all decking materials have both benefits and drawbacks, and the one disadvantage of composite decking is its price. Good-quality composite decking is somewhat more expensive than wood decking and plastic decking, so you should be prepared for the initial cost of your garden deck to be a little higher if you do choose to use composite boards.

That being said, composite decks last for decades and – as noted above – require very little maintenance. Be sure to factor this in when selecting your preferred decking material; as an example, TimberTech decks are guaranteed for 30 years (10 years for commercial projects), and you’ll save a lot of time and money over those three decades because you won’t have to paint, stain or seal your boards even once.

 

Potted Plants for a Colourful Autumn & Winter

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

It’s easy to overlook potted plants in favour of their ground-bound counterparts but there are plenty of reasons why pots and containers can make an excellent addition to your garden. For example, they provide extra space for plant life in small gardens and even allow for more plant variety thanks to unshared soil. In addition, more and more garden owners are opting for artificial turf for an evergreen look all year ‘round without having to compromise on plant life…all thanks to the powers of potted plants! With that in mind, let the garden experts at Artificial Grass Direct help you keep your garden colourful this autumn/winter with their guide to cold weather potted plants.

Checkerberry

Brighten up your garden with a combination of striking red berries and colour changing leaves that range from fresh green to dark purple and red depending on the time of year. The Checkerberry is an attractive, evergreen shrub that has no problem growing in pots or containers provided it has access to the right amount of light. Checkerberry shrubs grow best in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist (but well drained!) and slightly acidic soil.

Pansies 

Pansies are colourful, cool-weather flowers with heart shaped petals. They thrive from autumn all the way through to spring but struggle with hot summers. If you’re planting afresh, you can actually give your Pansies a head-start by growing them indoors for six to eight weeks before moving them outside. It’s important to give your Pansies plenty of sun in spite of their cool weather preferences. Like the Checkerberry, they prefer moist but well drained soil. We recommend planting Pansies about 10 inches apart, giving them plenty of water, and using an all-purpose fertiliser to help them grow. 

Skimmia “Rubella”

The Skimmia Rubella is an evergreen shrub that boasts beautiful dark red flower buds throughout autumn and winter which then bloom into lightly coloured flowers in spring. It grows best in containers situated in partial to full shade. Rubella is a relatively low maintenance plant that only really needs trimming after it flowers. For optimum growth keep the soil moist and mulch annually with compost.

Snowdrops

Looking for a tough-as-nails plant that could even sprout in snow? Look no further. The aptly named Snowdrop enjoys full sun to light shade and light to moderate amounts of water. When planted in pots or containers it needs ample drainage as it rots easily in water-clogged soil. If you’re planting a fresh crop of Snowdrops, these beautiful little flowers need a good year to reach their full potential but once they do they can usually be left to their own devices. It’s recommended you let the flowers die back at the end of the flowering season as opposed to trimming them, as this is better for the bulbs.

Japanese Anemone

The Japanese Anemone is an autumn blooming flower that comes in a variety of beautiful colours ranging from pastel pinks and purples all the way to white. A very forgiving plant, it can grow in most soil types. Japanese Anemone require a combination of part sun and part shade for optimum growth. This plant is not a fan of dry roots, so it needs to be kept well-watered and well-mulched. Japanese Anemone do well in larger pots as opposed to ‘bed’ style containers as certain varieties can grow up to four feet tall and may need stalking to keep them from falling over.