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Canberra
Friday, December 4, 2020
Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts

How to choose: decking, lawn or pavers?

Spring is a great time to think about what changes you might like to make around your home so when summer arrives you can make the most of the long light and warm nights.

Outdoor areas are often in need a facelift before the warm weather truly kicks off. For families in particular, finding the right flooring for your outdoors is crucial, with safety and childproofing being a key consideration.

Lawn, decking and pavers are all great options to enhance your backyard design. Here, Rod Schiefelbein, the Australian market manager for Trex wood-composite decking, looks into safety, budget and maintenance for each, as well as how best to child-proof your backyard.

Decking

Ideal for the summertime entertainers, decking offers homeowners the opportunity to host gatherings on an extension of their indoor space.

As a seamless transition from the home to the outdoor area, decking is installed at the height of the in-home flooring, perfect for all-ages access to the home.

The only downside for little ones is that it is a harder surface than grass when it comes to falls. Decking also carries a more significant price tag, with high initial investment required for its installation, though in the long-term, this investment works out to provide years of family entertainment and fun.

Lawn

Offering you plush, natural greenery for all manner of visitors, be it family, friends or four-legged friends, grass is a great option for families, especially those with little ones. With no sharp edges or hard surfaces to land on – it remains the safest option for all.

However, maintaining a perfectly manicured lawn all year round is timely and a resource-intensive exercise, with watering (within restrictions), weeding and fertilising a must.

For the time-poor or those unenthused by the idea of regularly tending to their grass lawn, though safe, this may not be the ideal choice for the whole backyard.

Pavers

This all-weather option for your backyard requires little more than the occasional wash down to maintain its pristine appearance. Additionally, unlike grass, pavers allow homeowners to employ creative licence in their design to make a statement of the backyard area.

Unfortunately, as a hard and often uneven surface it doesn’t rank well in the family safety department, and can set families back with the expense of materials and installation.

If you go ahead with paving, be sure to purchase extras, as the individual tiles are known to crack over time and with frequent use so you will need spares.

5 top tips for child-proofing your backyard area

  1. Keep any gardening equipment locked away when not in use. Keeping lawnmowers, electrical yard equipment and even basic gardening tools in a shed or locked away area is ideal.
  2. Avoid dangerous plants and remove any that could be harmful. Some varieties to look out for include toxic plants like mushrooms and oleander, as well as prickly plants such as the common cacti. 
  3. Keep your garden hose out of the sun. The water in garden hoses heats and expands when stored in the sun and can scald children if they pick it up to play.
  4. Regularly check any play equipment and flooring to ensure it is safe. Look for loose screws, rusting and exposed corners, and uneven surfaces.
  5. Check your gates and fencing for damage, or gaps large enough for your child to fit through and repair accordingly.

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