With the warm weather finally looking like it has arrived this week, many homeowners will be turning their thoughts to the garden and getting it ready for the BBQ season. Fallen branches will be tidied away, lawns cut and weeds removed. It may even be that you decide to install some garden decking to provide a space on which to host your BBQs and sit on an evening as you enjoy the summer sun. However, there is one slight drawback to decking that many people don’t consider before they undertake such a project; the fact that the base makes the ideal environment for garden animals to make their home. Whilst the problem is by no means common, it does tend to occur more frequently when the decking is raised. It is a good idea to consider how you will guard against the issue before you go out and purchase your decking, or if you already have decking, how you can fix the problem.
Dealing with an existing problem
In the event that some mice, rats or other creatures have made their home under your decking; you have a few options available to you. The first is to lay some poison under and around the decking area. Of course, many animal lovers are not comfortable with such an approach. Another potential issue is that the animal may die under the decking where it cannot be reached and give off a nasty smell as it decomposes. Your second option is to lay some traps, which will mean you know exactly where the body will end up. Non lethal traps are of course available for those that do not want to harm the animals. The final and more modern solution is to go for electronic repellents. These handy little devices emit ultrasonic sound waves which, although undetectable by the human ear, will drive the creatures from your garden.
It is of course preferable to avoid a problem arising rather than having to solve it. One great way to discourage creatures from making themselves comfortable under your decking is to have a cat or dog in the household. That said; it is a little extreme to bring a pet into the household purely to deter creatures from making their home in your garden.
Another option is to block off the space under your decking. This is usually a standard approach for decking installations that are done at ground level and adds to the aesthetics. However, many homeowners are happy to leave the legs and supports on show in raised decking projects. This can be a mistake and it is advisable to use fascias to create an enclosed space that animals cannot access. It will also prevent children from getting under the decking, where they could hurt themselves.
Not everyone has the same tastes and it may be that you feel that fitting fascias will result in too much timber being on show. If this is the case then you should consider fitting some trellis instead of the fascias. If you go down this route then be sure to attach some chicken wire to the back of the trellis, which will prevent any animals from squeezing through the gaps. You can then plant some nice climbing plants around the base of the decking, which will grow up the trellis to hide the chicken wire and mix some greenery in with the timber.