Decking Planner: Getting Started

Learn how to get your decking build underway

By Ed Hayne

decking with pergolaWe’ve developed a rigid process for new builds which has been tried & tested by our experts. This will guide you through the planning, build & aftercare of your structure.

We have broken new builds into two types – DIY (self-build), or a build which is managed through a tradesperson. Find our decking planner guides below.

In this guide - top tips on getting started with your decking project, including...

Section 1: Overview

Obviously, each type of build has its pros & cons, but these can be distinctly summarised as –

With a DIY or Self-Build, you often save on the considerable costs associated with hiring a tradesperson. However a build can be a considerable drain on your time & you should be prepared to educate yourself on the nuances of decking builds! Nevertheless, there can be no greater satisfaction than enjoying a structure you built with your own fair hands!

With a Tradesperson Build, you save a lot of the hassle which accompanies a DIY build – especially if you’re planning an advanced structure. If you hire a tradesperson from the ‘Competent Persons’ Register, this person can also ensure that you gain all the correct permissions for your build. An expert can give your structure a professional finish that comes with vast experience – but this comes at a cost!

Did you know? Labour can wind up costing anything between 15-70% of the overall cost of your decking – so it’s important to understand which of these you feel is the right option for you. It’s not unusual for the cost of a project to be doubled through labour costs.

In general, we would advise –

If you are low on cash but have considerable free time, a self-build will probably be your preferred option.

If you have plenty of cash available for your build but you’re low on available time, you should probably look to hire a tradesperson.

If you’re low on time and funds, you should probably look at whether this is the right time to start your build.

As with most purchases in life, it’s important to strike the right balance between cost, time & quality. Generally you’ll always need to compromise on at least one of these!

Top Tip: For more information on how to find the perfect tradesperson for your build, use our handy guide.

For both types of build, there is generally a process which most people follow which we have outlined below.

Note: we’ve linked through to relevant guides below. However, it is recommended that you start at the very beginning & work your way through. Everything has been structured in an easy-to-understand, logical order.

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Section 2: DIY Build Planning

A more complex process than using a tradesperson, but all the necessary steps are detailed below –

1

Understand the safety precautions you'll need to make with your build

2

Sketch your proposed design, making considerations for size, exposure etc.

3

Get Planning Permission if necessary & understand any Building Regulations you’ll need to follow

4

Choose which materials you’d like your decking to be made from & source from a supplier

5

Calculate your measurements & estimate your material requirements. Order your supplies.

6

Source (buy, hire or borrow) the tools you’ll need for the job

7

Start (and finish!) your build

8

Follow aftercare instructions to preserve the life of your decking

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Section 3: Tradesperson Build Planning

Looking to save your time & energy? This is a much simpler (but more costly) process than DIY decking –

1

Source images of decking structures you’d like to emulate so that these can be passed onto your tradesperson for inspiration

2

Source an expert tradesman to help design and/or fit your decking

3

Gain planning permission (or ask your tradesperson to help with this process)

4

Approve your tradespersons designs for your decking & commission the build

5

Follow aftercare instructions to preserve the life of your decking