DIY: Creating a Decking Platform in a Rented Garden

This post is a paid collaboration with Maisons Du Monde.

Decking in a rental garden?! It had never crossed my mind before, mainly because an outdoor space wasn’t something that’s ever been on my wish list whilst renting - especially in London. It was more does it have affordable rent, is it available and then yes we’ll take it. We had a balcony in our previous flat in Margate but we never really did anything to it, but we did get to watch some unbelievable sunsets. At the time, we had a newborn baby and I was terrified of putting her out in the sunshine, so it never really lived up to it’s true potential. When Jack and I got this house of dreams, the garden was bigger than anything I’d wished for, it’s been so wonderful having such a peaceful outside space. After a year of living here I started to suggest doing something with what I called in my mind ‘the shove it there corner’. It was behind our garage, and you can’t see it from the house, it was a place where weeds grew, and we dumped things out of eyesight and forgot about.

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Charlotte Jacklin Garden.JPG
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Now my knowledge of woodwork is limited but growing up with a dad and brother who are both trained carpenters, I’ve learnt a thing or two of what we could do out there. My dad confirmed my thoughts, that we could build something without sinking anything into the ground. The decking we’ve built can be broken down, making it entirely moveable for when we eventually leave this house in the future, at some point (no plans atm). The starting point for any project for me is Pinterest, I pulled together some images I liked, and also was very inspired by this post. I knew I wanted it all painted white (sorry to my brother who loves wood in it’s natural state), and that a lot of work would be saved if we could find the right ‘wall’ panels already made up. Luckily we did, these panels here were what we went with, and they can be delivered straight to you which is also a bonus. The wood for the decking we ordered locally, and my dad did some drawings of how it would look, which actually got amended as we cut the corner off, so we didn’t have to chop the 3rd panel up. Also a corner is quite hard to dress, you can see from the photos how it ended up, but hopefully the drawings are helpful for you, or if you need to show anyone who can do some woodwork for you.

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During Decking.jpg
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Whilst my dad set to work and stopped roughly 348036 times due to that solid two weeks of rain we had, I set to work on a mood board of the pieces of furniture from Maisons du Monde that would best work in the space. I think garden furniture has been a bit uninspiring in the UK, that brown rattan seemed to be the only option in so many places for quite a number of years. I’ve always daydreamed of beautiful pieces, that I can invest in to really feel like I have somewhere I can escape to and a place to switch off in my garden. Their selection is really vast, suiting lots of different styles and there’s so many statement pieces that I know I’ll have for years to come. A hanging chair was top of my list, I can’t be the only person that’s dreamed of owning one since they were a teenager?! This is an imitation rattan, so can withstand a few showers, which we’ve come to expect in the UK, and the white bench is also quite durable to save you moving it in and out all the time. Whilst I wouldn’t leave them out over the winter, they are UV resistant so should be looking good all summer long. As I wanted the decking white, I didn’t want everything getting lost with the white and natural shades of the rattan, so an outdoor rug seemed like the perfect option to add a bold statement and texture for the eyes. The green foliage print is a neutral colour that goes with almost everything (name me a flower that doesn’t go with it’s stem?!) upon reflection, I’ve basically created my dining room outside!

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Palm Print Garden Rug.JPG

I didn’t want to go for one big table in the centre, and thought a few smaller tables would make a more flexible space, and I think one of my favourite pieces is this metal console table (now £19 in the sale!) for serving drinks, food, putting plants on…whatever you want really. It’s quite slim, so doesn’t take up a lot of space on the decking. Also these two tables come as a set, I was concerned they would be a bit small, but they are the perfect size and come in a few different colours. The second statement chair I went for was the rocking chair, Maisons Du Monde have a stellar selection of rattan chairs, but I was mindful of the space not looking like a chair showroom. The rocking chair is definitely coming inside during the winter, and I had a faux fur throw that gives it an extra statement. I’ve pulled together an edit over on their website which you can check out here. I would say in total, excluding labour, the decking materials cost around £350 and to ensure it’s stable when you walk on it, the three tall poles have been screwed into wood on the garage and the fence, again easily removable with no trace.

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Lastly, the decking was sat on a sheet of polythene, to make sure no paint went through onto the concrete, and it also keeps weeds at bay. When it was all finished, we went round with a Stanley knife and trimmed it to the edge, so you can’t see it. As you can probably see from the painting photos, we tried one of those fence paint sprays but we didn’t have a lot of luck (ours is a few years old) so we went back to good old fashioned brushes. My dad and I have worked together a lot over the years, and lucky we do so quite well, this projects been a lot of fun.

I really hope you like the transformation and it’s given you some ideas for your own garden!

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