Responding to a client is very much the role of the designer and whilst there is often a style they tend to work with this should not always dominate the brief.  At every opportunity I try to gain clues about the client from the way they dress, the car they drive and most importantly the way they live within the house.  I like to see a garden reflect the house style and the clients own style so it flows seamlessly between the two (interior/exterior)  Sometimes the house wins the day and I have advised clients that a modern decking against an Edwardian house would not be the best response to the need for an entertaining area.

So when you are provided a house that has a very modern feel with bi folding doors and a rendered finish added to that a client who is very much driven by a clean and simple look the brief and ultimate look needs to reflect this.

The garden has used Global stone’s ‘Petrous Porcelain’ paving using a slightly staggered laying pattern to add detail to the 600 x 600 slabs.  The walls have been rendered using a finish that matches the house adding continuity to the house and making the landscape integral to the house itself.  Bi fold doors offer a great viw to the garden and are the main access from the house so the main flight of steps responds to it by allow rapid access to the lower garden.

I have choosen to angle the paving and walls at an angle from the house for multiple reasons.  The orientation of the house means the main sun in the evening will fall where the decking is located.  By angling the paving we create seating areas where the sun is likely to be reducing the amount of paving where it is unlikely ever to be used.  This is better for the client as it focuses the budget on the important areas and can make for a more interesting response to the scheme.  The rendered walls will provide a sense of enclosure holding the eye on the foreground before you look beyond to the rest of the garden.  There height is also set to allow for informal seating making the area capable of entertaining a significant number of people on an informal event.

With a decked area it is important you place this correctly.  I have already suggested that this surface sometimes is not best used with period houses but equally you need to consider the aspect and the likely impact shade could have to the surface.  Placing a decking in shade is not ideal as the boards will retain moisture making the growth of algae highly probable.  This algae makes the deck boards very slippery and could result in the client falling.  Also if shaded in the morning the boards will retain frost for the majority of the day making them equally treacherous.  Using decking with hidden fixing gives a visually neater look avoiding screw heads showing and the risk of splitting the boards.  My preference is for the boards to have a smooth surface rather than using the reeded surface that is normally used under the misapprehension that it will be less slippery with these grooves.  My experience is the opposite with the smooth boards drying faster and thus avoiding staying wetter.  The grooves tend to hold the water making it more inviting for algae growth.  I also try to use a hardwood board as the softwood boards are less dense and prone to adsorbing more moisture.

Framework in place with decking boards being laid

Work is on going on this site but a few images showing the framework of the decking emphasis the work that is required to ensure the decking remains firm and avoids twisting.  I can not emphasis enough the need to use a skilled contractor.  Cutting corners to get the job in on the cheap means the contractor will do the same to you and cut corners by laying slabs on spot beds of mortar rather than as good practice dictates a full mortar bed; skimping on the slab base to avoid costs and whilst the patio may look good for a few years it will fail and break up.  I have some good teams of contractors that I use and feel extremely comfortable recommending them to my clients for costing a project up.  Sadly they are always busy and timescales reflect this when booking them in to do the work.







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