5 tips to help keep your family safe on decking this summer

small child and dog on decking

We’re almost exactly midway through Deck Safety Month, so in our humble opinion there’s almost no better time to cover a few top decking safety tips to keep you and your family safe this summer. Now that the weather is getting better, you’re probably looking at spending more and more time out on your garden decking with your family, so it’s a good plan to take these points into account before you do!

1. Erect gates and other barriers

As a parent, you’ll already know that a lot of what we’re about to cover in this post comes down to parental supervision. With that in mind, our first point probably seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but it’s definitely worth outlining nonetheless! First of all, unless you’re out on your decking you’ll probably want to keep the door locked, so that children and pets can’t adventure out there on their own.

boy on decking

Out on the decking itself, you may also want to consider a safety gate – especially if you’ve got raised decking that leads out onto the garden. Be aware that while a safety gate blocking those stairs is probably going to contain dogs and other pets with no problems, kids might be a bit more…enterprising. Children can be notorious for stacking boxes and other nearby objects to climb over gates, so make sure you still keep an eye on them!

2. Choose carefully what goes out on your decking

Furnishing your deck is one of those tasks that seems like it should be simpler than it usually is. You’ve only got so much space after all, and you might have quite a few ideas on what you want to go out there. Your children might have their own ideas too, so depending on their age, you might find it’s a great plan to institute a no-toys on the decking rule – at least, no while you’re not out there. This can lessen the chances of children firing footballs across it or sprinting at full pelt, but as with the gates above, every parent will know that kids don’t always play by the rules. You can subtly reinforce them, though, by keeping toy boxes and play equipment off your decking and further down the garden instead – chances are that your children won’t stray too far from them.

If you’re considering having a barbecue or a grill out there, definitely weigh up the likelihood of children or pets cannoning into it. It might instead be a good plan to keep it off the deck entirely, and only wheel it out there for when you’re actually using it.

3. Give your pets a bit of shade

dog on decking

Dogs are particularly prone to overheating in the summer – especially the breeds with longer, shaggier hair. Dogs and other pets are also likely to want to be close to you for longer periods, which means that they will sometimes silently endure particularly uncomfortable conditions out on your decking area. No matter the material – whether you’ve opted for timber decking boards or composite decking – it can get extremely hot under direct sunlight. Give your pet a chance to breathe by putting down a towel for them to sit on, or cover an area with an umbrella.

If you’re looking for decking ideas to keep yourself cool, as well (and who can blame you), it’s often worth investing in a traditional pergola kit for your decking. It’s cheap, easy to assemble, and is a great way to keep off the worst of the sun for both you and your family!

4. Think about your decking’s railings

If you’re looking for ideas of how to build garden decking from scratch, somewhere along the way it’s definitely worth thinking about how far apart you’re going to space your decking spindles. Children and pets are sometimes known to try and squeeze through them, which could lead to them falling out the other side. Best case scenario, they break the spindles or even get stuck, which can lead to a lot of unhappiness (not least from them). A good rule of thumb is to place the spindles around 10cm apart, which is usually closely enough to put off even the most enterprising of kids.

5. Inspect it regularly – and keep it clean!

Once your decking has been assembled, don’t take it for granted that its safety is constantly guaranteed. Make sure to check it occasionally for anything that’s splintered, nails that are sticking out, or any fungus or algae that’s grown during the winter and spring. Naturally, dealing with any issues promptly is key to keeping both you and your family properly safe.

decking when wet

If you’re worried about your decking becoming slippery when wet, our anti-slip decking strips are fantastic for adding extra safety – though we’d still advise against letting your children go out and play on it! We’ve already talked about how a pergola can give you some much-valued shade in the summer, but it gives you plenty of value all year round, as it can keep the rain off your decking in the milder weather, too!

Here at Savoy Timber, we’ve got a whole range of decking accessories and decorative touches available, if you’re still on the hunt for decking ideas to personalise your space! Just pop into any one of our superstores across the North West, in Preston, Blackpool or Wigan to see what we’ve got in store. Don’t forget, for any questions or queries you may have, our friendly members of staff are always around to help!