Decking can solve the challenge of uneven ground or make a sloping site more useful and valuable. Using stilts or different decking levels can provide uniformity and make your garden much easier to navigate.

It can provide a safer area for young children to play or additional space for entertaining without a large outlay.

And consider the maintenance of a deck (almost nothing if you like the silvery hues of weathered wood) compared with the weekly mowing or garden clean-up.

Should you paint or stain your wood deck?

This is really a matter of preference. Most people agree it is a good idea to treat the wood in some way to protect it from our harsh Australian sun and driving rain. A deck is an investment in the value of your home so it makes sense to take the necessary steps to properly protect that investment.

If you decide to go the painting route remember it is essential you apply two coats of a good quality exterior primer before you begin painting. You can use either a roller or paint brush and ensure the first coat is completely dry before applying the next. Choose a paint that is designed to deal with the traffic such as Dulux Weathershield Low Sheen for decks.

Staining is the more common approach to protecting decking as it enhances the natural look of the wood. It is recommended you pressure wash the deck to removed loose fibers, dirt, and any mildew before staining.

Staining your decks does require some degree of maintenance - you may need to reapply the stain every 5 years or so for maximum protection and to keep it looking fresh. Cabot's decking oil or stain is a well known and trusted brand.