Much has been written about pandemic trends and there has undoubtedly been an explosion of interest in the sphere of home improvement. Staying in was the new going out, and for many people that looks like a trend that is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Part of staying ‘in’ is actually about making more use of your available outdoor space, treating it as another room of the house and using it as such.
Combined, what these trends mean is that homeowners are looking to transform their gardens into outdoor spaces with wow factor that can be used for dining, entertaining and relaxing with friends and family all year round.
Decking has traditionally been used to demark outdoor dining spaces but, increasingly, designers have been using far bolder swathes of decking in urban spaces for real impact, and many are choosing composite decking such as Millboard because it is more user-friendly than traditional timber. Its unique polymer resin construction does not rot, warp or split like natural wood, and it offers far superior slip resistance, even when wet, whatever the season. It is ideal decking material for homeowners who want to spend time relaxing and enjoying their garden, rather than maintaining it.
Let the material do the talking
A much used principle when designing kitchens is to invest a good part of your budget into good quality floors and worktops. The same is true for gardens: choose a beautiful structural material as the hard landscaping core of your design. Fortunately, opting for the superior performance of composites doesn’t mean sacrificing aesthetics. Millboard’s range is hand-moulded from carefully selected pieces of oak and each board is hand coloured in realistic tonal shades to give a natural timber appearance. The end result looks so authentic that clients often find it difficult to believe it isn’t wood.
Millboard comes in a range of finishes enabling the designer to choose the desired finish straight off the shelf, with no requirement for further staining or treatment. For instance the charred tones of Enhanced Grain in Burnt Cedar are inspired by the Japanese Yakisugi technique of burning timber to preserve it – the warm brown/black tones can be used for a dramatic, show-stopping statement.
In this project, Millboard Enhanced Grain decking in Smoked Oak with bullnose is combined with under-lip lighting and a simple planting scheme for a tranquil setting.
Let’s not forget what has to go underneath the decking. A subframe made from wood will quickly deteriorate if not built and treated properly.
Millboard’s DuoSpan alternative is a unique frame construction system that utilises a combination of aluminium joists and beams, aluminium brackets and support profiles made from (recycled) plastic. This combination enables distinctive design opportunities for decking and outdoor structures that would be impossible with timber subframes, due to the superior strength of aluminium and flexibility of plastic. The other, crucial advantage is that neither aluminium nor plastic is susceptible to water damage or decay, so a DuoSpan subframe requires little maintenance.
The interest in decking is most definitely here to stay and, one might argue, getting ever greater as homeowners choose to expand the footprint of their reception space into their gardens. Composite decking is durable, light and strong without the ongoing maintenance requirements of timber. And it can deliver these advantages without losing any visual appeal. Millboard’s authentic wood look and extensive range of tones and textures means homeowners and designers have a range of options from which to choose the exact match for their vision.