Patios and Decks in Landscape Planning

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This snippet has been extracted from “Landscape Planning Practical Techniques for the Home Gardener” by “Judith Adam”. Patios and Decks in Landscape Planning is easiest to coordinate from an excavation point by starting with the patio. The footers for the deck can be installed at the time of the patio excavation. “Drywall repair Washington DC“, helps you to gather more information on this landscape planning. Thanks to the author for this information.

Patios and Decks

The need for patios and decks seems to increase along with our appreciation for outdoor living. The 12-inch (30 cm) hibachi once sufficient for backyard barbecues has been replaced with a 60-inch (1.5 m) stainless steel gas grill. Sling-back canvas chairs and webbed aluminum lounges have been eclipsed by contemporary garden furniture that is substantial in size, comfortable to use- and non- folding. When you consider the cost of aluminum-thread wicker chairs and genuine teak tables, it’s apparent the gap is closing between garden and living room furniture. A substantial investment in garden furniture requires a suitable venue for its use, and that will likely be a deck or patio.

Patios and Decks in Landscape Planning
Landscape Planning

The most frequent mistake made in constructing a hard-floor garden surface is misjudging the amount of space needed. We become conservative in estimating the square feet necessary for six chairs and a table, and often make the deck or patio too small. No one can relax when their chair leg is perilously close to the patio edge or they’re jammed up against the deck railing. It’s useful to set out the furniture if it’s already been purchased (or substitutes like garbage cans and cardboard boxes as stand-ins) and get a realistic idea of how much space is required.

Depending on family size, it may be advantageous to have two seating areas in the garden, one larger and attached to the house for family and entertaining purposes, and another smaller and separate for more private use. A second hard surface can be located toward the back of the garden or side of the house and constructed in less formal materials-and at less expense. A small 8× 12- foot (2.5× 3.5 m) surface of random-shaped flag-stones, set closely together and with coarse sand or fine gravel in the cracks, allows you to have some moments of privacy without totally abandoning the rest of the family. Other materials such as pre-cast cobblestones, aggregate slabs or patterned concrete patio stones are possible materials. Even though the area is small, if you want the surface to be level and firm it should be excavated and given a base of compacted gravel and sand.

If you’re going to make a patio or deck, the choice of materials is influenced by the style of construction and, to some extent, the height of your foundation. If your area is elevated, you’ll be better off making a wood deck that requires less weighty underpinnings.

Patios are more formal and are usually constructed of stone, either natural or manufactured, or occasionally hardened red brick or outdoor tile. Brick patios laid in traditional designs like her-ring bone and basket weave are frequently found in homes built before 1950. Bricks make an attractive and affordable outdoor floor. They require a foundation of crushed and compacted gravel, and you need to decide whether to dry lay the bricks on sand or use mortar. In northern climates mortar is shattered by frost and requires repair and patching frequently. Concrete is also a poor choice because of the potential for cracks and breaking up caused by frost damage.

patios and decks in landscape planning
patios and decks in landscape planning

Screened porches are another outdoor room tradition from earlier decades that give much pleasure. They are constructed on a poured concrete base over crushed and compacted gravel and also must have roof extension from the house. Screen panels are fitted between posts to form the walls, and ceramic tiles are a good choice for flooring. Tiles manufactured for outdoor applications must be set in mortar and should be used only in covered locations like vestibules and porches, where snow and ice won’t lie on the surface.

Decks can be constructed at any level from the ground up and can incorporate many stylized design features. Built-in storage areas, seating, planter boxes, privacy screens and overhead per-goals are all extensions of deck design.

The high cost of suitable lumber is an important consideration when building a deck. The most affordable product is pressure-treated wood, but the chemicals used to increase its resistance to moisture are extremely toxic to people and animals and can be absorbed through your skin. Unfortunately, this information is not readily available where lumber is sold, and much pressure treated-wood is used where people will touch it frequently, or where it can leach toxic chemicals into soil used for growing food plants. It can be used safely for the under-structure of decks where no one will touch it, but the exposed floor, steps and rails should be untreated wood.

One way to justify the cost of a wood deck is to extend its life in every way possible. Untreated wood is subject to degradation from moisture in all seasons, and you should plan on applying a water-repellent preservative every two years.

Most wood deck floors are constructed with a 1/8 – ¼ – inch (0.25-0.5 cm) space between the boards, but this spacing doesn’t allow enough air to circulate and dry the boards quickly. The sides of boards remain wet for a fairly long period, allowing moisture to reach deeper into the wood. The narrow spacing problem is compounded by small pieces of organic duff and debris (leaves, needles, bud casings, seeds) falling from trees and catching in the spaces, where it picks up moisture and begins to decompose and rot the wood. Planning for ½-inch (1 cm) spacing between floorboards will greatly increase airflow, allow organic debris to fall through, and cause rain and melting snow to drain rapidly.

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