Create Your Own Decking Base
A Little Prep...
1. Measure out your area. As long as the area is a little larger than the footprint of your playhouse, it can be as small or large as you like. Just make sure there'll be at least 2m clearance between the playhouse and any walls or trees. Once you've chosen your area, mark it with a peg in each corner. It's a good idea to measure out your area based on the size of your chosen decking boards for minimal cutting.
2. Run string between the pegs to mark the whole area, use an edger tool to cut straight edges in the turf and remove the turf with a spade. Check the ground is level by using a straight edge and spirit level, and level out any slight unevenness.
3. If you have soft ground, all you need to do is cover the area with a layer of weed control fabric and 50mm of gravel on top, before laying the decking. This will help to absorb moisture during rainfall and keep the decking away from the ground.
Fitting the Decking
1. Start with the outer frame. Fit the frame together around the edge of your chosen area. Bolt or drill them together using galvanised screws. To keep the joist frame secure, we recommend using two screws on the sides of the frame and one on the top edge.
2. Use wood preserver on all edges which have been sawn and on the areas where screws have been drilled into the wood.
Assemble the Joists
1. The joists create the supporting frame for the top decking boards. For a small deck, three joists should be enough, one placed in the middle with the other two placed between this and the outer frame. The spacing between joists for horizontal boards should be around 400mm.
2. Make sure that each piece of the frame fits together at right angles (so that it's not wonky!) and use a nail gun or electric drill to attach the joists to the outer frame with galvanised nails.
Assemble the Decking Boards
1. We'd recommend positioning all of the decking boards on the frame before fixing them in place, making sure the frame is fully covered. Check you're happy with the layout and then you can start fixing them into place.
2. Pre-drill your holes in the boards first, as little cracks can appear if you hammer nails straight into the wood. You should have a hole in each of the 4 corners for each board.
3. As well as fixing the boards at each corner onto the outer frame, fix the boards at the centre where they pass over the joists for added support.
4. Lots of people spend much time measuring out the boards before fixing to the frame, but this can be fiddly. We recommend cutting the boards to size once they're fixed in place for ease. Then you can cut them to your desired length while they're secured in place.
Be sure to read all instructions provided with your chosen decking set, and use any tools according to the manufacturer's instructions.