Step-By-Step Guide: How To Do Decking On Grass

When adding a deck to your garden, you can bring the outside in, having a perfect outdoor space where you can spend those warm summer days relaxing under the sun or knocking up a bbq in spring. You have somewhere to stargaze in the winter or just a garden feature to make your home stand out from the rest of the neighbourhood all year round. But is it easy to build one yourself when you have a lawn? We are here to help and show you how to do decking on grass easily!

decking in the garden with swing, chairs and sofa

Laying decking on grass is an easier job than you might have first thought. The best planning you do and the more you understand and follow the steps, the easier it will be. Are you wondering if there are any special tricks and techniques to keep in mind? Without further ado, let’s see in greater detail how to lay your decking on grass so you can start with your DIY project!

Planning your decking

Before you start constructing your new deck, it would be wise to have a plan of it, know how much decking you’ll need and have all your materials and equipment handy. Keep reading to find out all you need to know to prepare your decking area and start your DIY project

Safety first

Safety is always the number one priority for all homeowners. Here’s all you should consider having a safe project.

  1. It’s best to undertake your project with the help and assistance of a friend.
  2. Wear protective safety gear when necessary.
  3. If you are securing your decking with footings, ensure there are no pipes or cables underneath where you want to dig.
  4. If you have wooden decking, do not burn the off-cuts of pre-treated timber decking as the smoke and ash they produce is toxic. You should dispose of them as you would any ordinary household waste.

Choose the position

Decking can act as an extension of your home and give you some extra outdoor space for entertaining. To make the most out of it, there are some things you should consider when it comes to picking a spot for it.

  1. It is much easier to lay decking on a level surface. If you have uneven ground, you can still lay decking tiles, but it might be more difficult.
  2. Raised decking can give you some extra height that will mean you’re not overlooked by neighbours. Consider how much height could affect your privacy if you’re using your deck to surround something like a hot tub.
  3. Consider the position of the sun throughout the day in case you want to avoid or chase it. 
  4. You don’t want your deck to be ruined by any tree roots, so do your research first if you plan to build it around any trees or plants.

hardwood floors and lawn in garden

Do you need planning permission?

Generally, you don’t need planning permission for your decking. However, there are a few scenarios when you should contact your local council. These include:

  1. If your decking will be more than 30 cm above the ground.
  2. If your decking combined with other outbuildings and extensions covers more than 50% of your garden area.

How much decking do you need?

There are a few factors that influence the decking amount you need. These are the size of the area you wish to deck, the boards’ material you’ll use and the board’s length. This is why it is essential to figure out the square metre measurements first. Here’s how:

  1. Measure the width and length of the area you will deck in metres. Multiply the length by the width to work out this space in square metres. Remember the number you’ll get by length x width = Your surface area in square meters.
  2. Also, decide on what material you’ll use. Timber boards need a 5 mm to 8 mm gap along their lengths and a 3 mm along their ends. So if, for example, you’re laying 2 boards end-to-end, you’ll need to leave a 3 mm gap.
  3. The final step is to calculate the number of boards needed. To do so, multiply a single board’s coverage by 1.1 to factor in wastage. Then divide your decking surface area by the single board coverage. So keep in mind that decking surface area/single-board coverage x 1.1 = the total boards’ number needed plus wiggle room for wastage.

Equipment needed

The more organised you are before you start your project, the easier and quicker it will be. Here’s a list of the tools and equipment you’ll need to build your decking.

Tools

  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Builder’s line or string and pins
  • Drill with a wood bit
  • A spade to clear the area
  • Tamper to flatten the soil
  • A saw to cut the wood

Equipment

  • Wood for decking frame
  • Coach screws
  • Decking boards
  • Decking screws
  • Weed control fabric and gravel or concrete pads

worker installing wood plastic composite decking boards

How to prepare your site for decking

Before you build your ground level deck, you need to properly prep your site. Here’s a detailed guide to making things easier for you!

Step 1

Measure out the site according to the plan you’ve made and hammer a peg into each of the 4 corners. Then, run a builder’s line from each of the pegs to help you visualise the site.

Step 2

Clear away any rocks, plants and weeds. Then cut into the lawn straight with an edger and remove the turf with a spade. With a straight edge, like a deck board and a spirit level on top, make sure that the whole area is level, and level out any slight unevenness in your ground.

Step 3

Cover your site’s area with a layer of landscaping weed control fabric to prevent any weed regrowth from appearing under your decking. Then cover your location in 40 – 50 mm of gravel.

man laying decking on gravel

Step-by-step guide: How to lay decking on grass

Now that you’ve prepared your site and you have a flat surface, it is time to start building your beautiful deck. All you need to do is get your tools and follow our step-by-step guide!

Step 1: Cut the boards to the desired length using your saw

Measure and mark the board at the desired size with a pencil, and then use a combination square to draw the line across the board. Ensure to measure twice for accuracy before cutting.

Step 2: Assemble the sub-frame by measuring the deck frame and cutting it to size

First, make 2 pencil marks where the 2 outer joists meet the inner beams at the right angle. This is where your coach screws will go. Drill recesses into each of the 8 marks you have just made with a flat wood bit. Make sure the screw heads are flush with the joint surface.

Then, drill a hole through each recess’s centre from the outer joist to the adjoining outer joist using a flat wood drill bit. Fit your coach screws using either a socket and ratchet or a drill driver with socket attachment. Now that you have your outer frame assembled, you can move on to securing the inner beams. You can do this by connecting 2 coach screws through the outer frame into the inner joists.

Step 3: Lay the deck boards

Position the first board across the inner joists starting from one corner of the outer edge. Ensure that the board is opposite to the inner beams and flush to your frame. Then, mark a cutting line for the first board’s end and cut it to fit, ensuring you allow an expansion gap of 3 mm in your measurements.

Step 4: Secure the deck boards onto the beams

Screw every deck board to every joist that it covers over along your frame. Use 2 decking screws where each bard meets a beam, and remember to include the relevant expansion gap between your boards. 

man laying dexking, using a drill

You’ll be using hidden clips if you have grooved decking boards. Install the first plank using a start clip at the home’s wall, where the panels are firmly set. Then, insert your hooks into the grooves and screw them to the beams. Do this for the rest of the boards to tightly secure them in place.

Step 5: Protect the timber

Using a sander, smooth over any cut ends and apply an end grain preserver to protect your timber from splitting, warping or cracking. You’re done! Now you can even add decking lights, balustrade or anything else you wish to decorate your deck with!

Deck maintenance

Your new deck looks like a million pounds right now, but the English weather can be a wet and tough challenge! If you want to keep it looking as beautiful as new for a long time, you should clean it and take care of it. Here’s what you need to do to maintain its appearance:

  1. Sweep its surface once or twice a week. Making sure you sweep any dirt that lands on it regularly, you break up any builds of dust and algae.
  2. Wipe off any spillages right away you notice them.
  3. If you notice any worn wooden PVC boards or some that are mouldy or have caught insects, replace them one by one and avoid having to replace the entire deck.
  4. Use deck oil and protector to the deck’s bare wood from time to time. If needed, sand your boards first using a sander to strip off any old paint, stain or varnish.
  5. Paint your deck with a fancy, new colour, using a deck stain to make it shine and match your garden decoration. 
  6. Choose a good deck cleaner to match the material of your deck and clean it regularly!

A man is spring cleaning by sweeping a wooden porch with a broom
Do you want to add some functional and beautiful space to your garden? Then decking is the answer! Whether you want to make an alfresco extension to your house or add a surround to a pool or Jacuzzi, laying a composite deck on grass is an easy task anyone can achieve. All you need to do is do the proper planning and follow our guide! Do not wait any longer, and transform your garden’s appearance now!

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