Decking Design And Suitable Plants – Decking looks like having a dance-floor in your garden, perfect for walking on barefoot but sudden death to stilettos because of the gaps. Decking is very adaptable – brilliant for a sloping garden, where you can make several timber terraces linked with steps, but on level ground you can build up decking on two levels to make it look more interesting. You can also plant through holes, build on stilts and do all sorts of things you couldn’t do with a couple of tons of paving slabs if you’d chosen to have a patio instead. For the fashion-follower, decking is the hottest must-have garden ingredient.
How to make your very own decking?
Don’t design yourself a deck that is just a plain square or rectangle – have a bit jutting out, or leave a hole for a plant to grow up through at a strategic spot.
Building a deck is something you could do for yourself if you are a confident DlYer. You can find the materials and instructions in most DIY suppliers these days. lt’s really quick compared to making a patio.
lf you aren’t into DlY then it’s best to get an expert in. There are all sorts of firms that specialize in doing decking. Some decks, frankly, look like they were made out of pallets. And the sort made entirely of straight bits of wood all running in the same direction are plain boring. We know that they are easier to make and cost less as you don’t waste so much of the materials, but if you are going to have a deck at all then do make a decent job of it.
Suitable plants for your decking design
Very simple structural shapes suit the clean lines and contemporary style of decking; look for striking evergreen shrubs, a small tree with lots of character all year round, or perennials and grasses with good foliage.
Miscanthus. Forget lots of fussy little grasses, and go for a big dramatic fountain-shaped miscanthus. Gold-ringed Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ grows to about 6 feet, and there are other varieties with big feathery plumes rather like posh pampas grass. Grow masses of it in banks round a deck.
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’
Mahonia. A good evergreen for sun or shade, mahonia has holly-like leaves arranged in patterns, and the whole shrub makes interesting spiky shapes. It has starbursts of yellow flowers in winter or early spring, and some species, like Mahonia japonica, have a lingering lily-of-the-valley perfume. Grow it through a hole in the deck.
Birch. The ultimate contemporary tree, birches make wonderful shapes without casting much shade. They have pretty yellow tints and the leaves, being small, don’t make a dreadful mess when they fall. In winter you see the tree at its best – the shining white trunk stands out really well against a timber background. Grow it through a hole in the deck.
Perennials. Hardy ferns and hostas look great together, and between them you can get so many different foliage colors, shapes and textures: ribbon-like, lacy, round and waxy, variegated, curly – you choose it. If you want plants that mix well and still give a clean-cut contemporary look, these are the ones to go for. Grow them in a sunken bed in the middle of a deck, where you look down on them.