Decking is a great choice for gardens large and small. Part of the appeal is that a space is created that allows you to enjoy the outside without a lot of maintenance. Even if it has rained recently your deck will quickly dry while the ground surrounding it remains wet and muddy. You can sit on your deck, pop into the kitchen and out again without trailing mud everywhere.
Decking is an increasingly popular choice for roof top and small city gardens. It provides a great base to create some modern and unique spaces. However don’t just cover all your outside space with decking, plantless spaces can be bleak and do nothing to help our wildlife and declining bee populations. It’s actually really easy to incorporate plants into your decking in a way that is low fuss and low maintenance.
Even if you have a large garden as well as a deck, including planting around your decked area is a good idea. Think about including plants that are aromatic so you can enjoy their scents while sitting on your deck. Herbs are a good choice because picking them from a clean deck is much better than having to trail down a dark muddy garden path. You can include sunken and/or raised planters and beds as part of an integrated deck design. Raised beds are a great addition for anyone who has mobility issues as you can sit down and maintain your beds – no need for bending and kneeling.
Save Our Bees
We are all aware that our bee population is in trouble. It is important to keep green corridors open so bees and other insects can travel through our urban spaces and find food – especially in early spring and late summer when pollen is rare. Luckily the flowers bees love happen to include some of the easiest grow, nicest smelling and most beautiful plants. Sage, lavender and rosemary are loved by bees as well as smelling great and being useful kitchen plants.
If you have a small area of ground consider buying a wild flower mix – simply sow and wait for a riot of colour. You only need to strim or mow the area a couple of times a year so maintenance is not a problem.
The UK gets a lot of rain and you should always think about how it will drain off your land and away from your house. Traditionally gardens were basically grass and soil which in most cases lets water drain freely through the ground. Covering your garden with concrete and paving stops drainage which might cause water logging in your garden. Decking is actually raised above the surface of the ground and sits on small areas of foundation leaving most of the ground clear. Water can still freely drain away.
Most gardens are large enough to include a substantial deck as well as an area of lawn. If your garden is really small you might have to forgo the lawn but do still consider incorporating small beds in key areas to allow some drainage. For the lowest maintenance options you could apply a thick layer of large pebbles or gravel. This is free draining, requires virtually no maintenance and introduces a bit more interest and texture to your outside space. You can add pots, herbs, grow bags or planters to these areas changing them seasonally to add more interest.
Grow Your Own
Even the tiniest city terrace or window sill can be used to grow herbs and veg. Who doesn’t want a bit of mint for a cocktail or salad or a few cherry tomatoes or chillies to hand. Not only are these plants easy to grow, they are beautiful to look at and smell great. You can line a small terrace with grow bags and fill them with tomatoes, peas and beans. Pots are available in every shape and size. You can get creative and think of some unique DIY pots like filled jam jars, old boots and baskets. If you are short on space you should also think about going vertical – there are loads of retailers who sell some imaginative wall hanging planters and pots so you can create a cool green wall or upside down herb garden. You are only limited by your imagination.