Timber isn’t a new material, but designers are opting for this timeless classic over other materials for its beauty, strength and sustainability. ‘There’s a massive push for timber over wood composite for decking’ says Adam from Barrington Bespoke Gardens who has noticed designers are keener than ever to use natural materials.
Oak is a popular option if you want a hardwood deck, but feel uneasy about tropical woods. Its strength also makes it a good choice for beautiful solid pergolas. It can weather and crack a little but this enhances its natural appeal. Fresher green oak is also worth exploring and sweet chestnut is another beautiful wood, creamier in colour than oak, with more grain pattern. Like other fresh sawn products, chestnut can be oiled or left to grey down over time. Cedar is good for cladding. ‘I’ve also used British larch for cladding recently, which, like cedar, is light yet durable.’ says Adam.
If opting for tropical hardwoods, ipê, balau and iroko (making sure they’re FSC certified), are beautiful golden coloured woods for decking that are extremely reliable, strong and durable. Alternatively, Thermowood is a softwood, usually pine, that undergoes a heat treatment to make it stronger and more durable, fading to a soft grey over time.
Using reclaimed wood for landscaping is also popular. ‘I really like using scaffolding boards for decks or fencing,’ says Adam. ‘It gives you something original that’s also environmentally friendly.’ And for something dramatically different, you could explore using shou-sugi ban, the Japanese technique of preserving wood and making it more fire resistant by scorching it - it's stylishly dark and would definitely make a talking point.