garden decking with wooden garden table decorated with flowers cake and fruit

Garden makeover: Melanie Lissack’s eco-friendly English country garden

July 10, 2018

Interiors blogger, Melanie Lissack, exclusively reveals how she achieved her eco-friendly, English country garden makeover  

garden decking with wooden garden table decorated with flowers cake and fruit

Image: Melanie Lissack

Interiors blogger, Melanie Lissack, took on the challenge of giving her garden a much needed overhaul, which resulted in a beautiful raised garden decking area perfect for al fresco dining and summer parties. 

We chatted exclusively to Melanie to discover how she transformed the derelict decking in her garden, into a stunning outdoor family space that fuses eco-friendly materials with an English country garden feel.  

Why did you choose to do a garden makeover, what was your vision and inspiration?

uneven rotting wooden garden decking

Image: Melanie Lissack

“When we moved into our home we inherited a large, rotten, raised deck area. A previous owner had installed a timber deck, but by the time we moved in it was full of holes with very wobbly, peeling wooden bannisters which made it completely unsafe for use. It looked terrible in itself, but it overlooked the whole garden.”

“The first year we lived here I tried to ‘make do and mend’ – replacing broken boards, staining the rotten wood, but it was beyond repair and we taped it off from our 4 year old. In the end, the boards caved in just leaving the exposed rotten framework.”

How did the decking come together?

garden decking construction

Image: Melanie Lissack

“I had come to terms with the fact that we were going to lose the original deck space. It was under a very big tree in the corner of the garden and I knew if we laid another timber deck it would rot again in a few years, as well as all the maintenance a deck brings every year. With the space being 5×6 metres I didn’t have the time to work on this area every summer sanding and staining it.”

“As we live on a hill, the garden is on a slant (which is why the deck was previously built raised from the ground), and has very bad access so we could never get a digger in to remove all the soil and lay paving slabs as an alternative. Instead, I was going to create an unrequired raised flower bed in the empty space, losing our only outdoor seating area. However, a short while before we started to rip out the old deck we found out about composite decking.”

What materials and finishes did you use and why?

drinks trolly and biege sun lounger on dark brown wooden decking

Image: Melanie Lissack

“We decided to replicate the deck that was originally here using Trex composite decking rather than timber. Trex is made from 95% recycled materials, namely plastic, and does not rot, resists algae and does not need painting or staining. It looks like deck, but is completely robust and is very low maintenance.”

“We chose deck boards in Lava Rock colourway, which has a warm auburn tone, and had durable powder-coated aluminium railings added around the edge as it was raised. Basically the new deck is bullet proof from all the elements of a UK winter!”

How did you style your decking?

garden decking with wooden garden table decorated with flowers cake fruit and fairy lights

Image: Melanie Lissack

“I really wanted this space to work for all occasions – family meals, a party area, plus a place to relax. I added an extendable garden table central to the space with benches all around the edge. We carried on the sustainable, eco theme started with the Trex boards by DIY-ing the four benches from salvaged sleeper wood that we found just on the verge of rot. I placed a deck chair in the corner to catch the last of the sun’s rays in the evening, and added what I think is a very sophisticated drinks trolley in beech and ash wood by LSA International for parties!”

“As the deck and railings are a deep colourway, I contrasted the accessories in light wood and white to lift the space. I placed two large white planters full of my favourite English country garden flowers at the front of the deck to merge the deck in with the rest of the garden. A large fern tree in the darkest corner of the deck gives a great big green colour pop to an otherwise shadowy space. I then added in lots of festoon lights which reminds me of festival evenings when I was younger and helps me and my friends re-live our hazy summer youth!”


Are you a fan of Melanie’s garden makeover? Let us know by tweeting us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.



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