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Low maintenance vs long lasting wood decks

By Liz Ackerley from Poppyhead Consultancy

Clients need to be made aware of the maintenance requirements of all timber. It doesn’t make sense to try to pretend that there is no need for maintenance. The type of maintenance required depends upon the look required in the particular project. For example, if the client was happy for their deck to fade to silver / grey, it would require different (or less) maintenance than if they wanted it to retain its natural colour.

The species and choice of finish / maintenance depends on local conditions and weather exposure. I feel that it is important to share the pros and cons of different species with the clients so that they can make an informed choice. In high exposure areas I would opt for hardwoods or durable softwoods (ex: Western Red Cedar, Southern Yellow Pine, Siberian Larch).

I always recommend consulting the wood suppliers for specific recommendations on how to clean and maintain a deck (or any other landscaping material for that matter).

Poppyhead Consultancy’s Liz Ackerley is a Chartered Landscape architect and garden designer with a keen interest in contemporary spaces, roof terraces, courtyards and kitchen gardens as well as all manner of garden and landscape projects. Read more from Liz at
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