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Local Deck or Fence Solutions

What are my options when it comes to Decks and Fences?

There are many options when it comes to decks and fences in your garden, and Cedar and Trex are just a couple of options for your Victoria BC home and garden.

Whether your looking for a new deck for relaxing and entertaining, or a fence to give privacy for your landscape, we are here to help. We also build arbors and trellis’s for shade from the heat of summer or even planting support.

Do you have some deck and fence ideas – call us today to discuss them.

What you need to know about fences and/or decks…

Regardless of where you live in Victoria, BC, when it comes to your home’s outdoor spaces, one of the most important decisions to make is about the type of fence you need. There are several elements to consider when installing a new fence or repair and/or replacing an existing one.

Your fence will significantly impact the curb appeal of your garden and, therefore, its value since the safety, privacy, usability and aesthetics of your home’s outdoor space will significantly depend on choosing the best fence for your garden.

Now that you decided that you need a fence, the question is, how do I pick the perfect fence to fit my needs, budget and space?

The first thing you must consider is the bylaws that regulate the type of fencing you can use in the specific location of your garden. In Victoria, BC, formally

known as Capital Regional District, there are many regulations that you must follow in any building or renovation project. The undeniable beauty of Victoria’s British colonial past shows in its architecture, bring into place Heritage Conservation Areas. If your property is Heritage Designed or is listed under Victoria City’s Heritage Register, you will have to apply for the appropriate Development Permit or Heritage Alteration Permit. These require Council approval.

Based on the magnitude of the renovations planned, some fences, gates, or shutter installations might also require a Building Permit. Some of the guidelines provided by the City of Victoria, BC are:

Fence, gate and shutter proposals must:

  • Complement the character of the street and not result in a fortress-like appearance
  • Integrate with building design, architectural finishes and materials for a

cohesive effect

  • Not be the dominant feature of the building façade
  • Maintain transparency of windows and doors, and not result in opaque or blank surfaces
  • Be constructed of high quality, durable materials that weather gracefully
  • Acknowledge colours within the building or immediate context. Contrasting colours may be considered if it contributes to pedestrian interest along adjacent public sidewalks
  • Respond to important safety considerations by meeting BC Building Code and fire egress requirements.

Fence, gate and shutter proposals are encouraged to:

  • Not encroach onto adjacent public walkways. If gate encroachments are proposed, applicants must demonstrate to the City that the gate can be secured in the open position and does not negatively impact the public realm. Fence, gate and shutter proposals may include lighting schemes for consistency with CPTED principles. If proposed, lighting is encouraged to:
  • Illuminate garden or building entrances that are proposed to be gated
  • Avoid lighting overspill to neighbouring properties
  • Be compatible with adjacent street lighting.

Fence proposals may incorporate plantings or other garden features.

If proposed, plantings must:

  • Be accessory to the fence structure as an accent feature.
  • Not create entrapment spots
  • Be selected carefully and maintained well to ensure that plantings do not encroach onto public walkways or obstruct views

Now, beyond the bylaws, you must think about the look and materials that you would like to use to suit your practical and style needs while fitting your budget.

Pressure-Treated Wood Fence

One of the most versatile options is pressure-treated wood. First, the wood is treated to help extend your fence’s life and look as it deters insects, fungus, and rot. It provides you with many options to suit your style and complement your garden’s existing wood structures since it can be painted, stained or left natural. Pressure-treated wood comes in a variety of styles, such as privacy fences and lattice fence panels.

Vinyl Fence

Vinyl fences are an excellent option for our rainy Victoria, BC’s weather! Vinyl is a perfect option for decorative fencing since it comes in a wide range of styles and colours. Vinyl fencing may be a bit more expensive than pressure-treated wood fencing, but you will never need to worry about painting it or staining it! Vinyl fencing is an excellent choice for looking for a fence that will offer you privacy, security, durability, low maintenance and style!

Composite fencing

Composite fencing is one of the most prominent choices for those looking for an environmentally friendly option, although it is one of the most expensive materials. Composite fencing is an extremely versatile material that will provide alternatives to suit almost every style and need, including security, privacy, ornamental and garden. Composite fencing is usually made of recycled plastics and wood and can be made to look like natural wood or stone.

Ornamental fencing

If your property is Heritage Designed or is listed under Victoria City’s Heritage

Register, ornamental fencing may be an excellent choice for you. Ornamental fencing primarily aims to beautify your outdoor space and can be found in a variety of materials. Metals like steel or aluminum are a common choice as they are durable and low-maintenance. Lattice fencing can be made of wood, vinyl or composite materials, offering you a wide selection of colours and styles. Bamboo fencing is a distinctive style that is also environmentally friendly. Many decorative fences include details that enhance your home and garden’s look with scrollwork, post caps or post caps with lights for a more functional yet polished look.

Lattice Fence

Another versatile and functional garden choice that is the perfect balance between

decorative and privacy fencing is lattice fencing. It can be found on a variety of wood species and pressure-treated wood as well as vinyl and composite material (a combination of recycled plastics and wood). One of the best lattice fencing features is that the open design provides airflow, shade and a solid structure for climbing plants.

Chain-link fencing is affordable and functional, easy to install, low-maintenance and durable. Made from rust rust-resistant galvanized steel, chain link fences withstand the elements, provide airflow, a structure for climbing plants, and keep pets and kids in and animals out of the garden. Chain link fences may not be your primary choice for perimeter fencing, but it is an excellent choice for home fruit and vegetable gardens. Chain-link offers a wide range of heights, roll sizes and wire thicknesses.

Decks

Adding a deck to your front or back garden is one of the best ways to expand your living space, increase your property value and enjoy the wonderful climate that Victoria has to offer. The location, shape, features and size of your deck should primarily consider the outdoor activities you enjoy the most.

Some of the questions about decking, that you should ask yourself are:

  • What are the regulations, bylaws and zoning implications that you must comply when building a deck?
  • What are the safety features that should be considering or special needs of accessibility that your family will need?
  • How are you planning on using your deck?
  • What factors should you consider to be able to make use of this space yearlong?
  • Do you like to host big backyard parties, or you prefer to sit down quietly and relax on your backyard?
  • What style, materials and future plans you have for your outdoor space?

One of the great advantages of hiring a professional landscaping company like Avant Garde is that our design and installation team can help you assess the possibilities to really maximize the use of your space and budget, consider issues like drainage, consideration of bylaws and regulations, etc.

Like with fencing, there are a number of materials to choose from to fit your needs, style and budget. Here are some of the most popular options.

Pressure treated wood Deck

Pressure treated wood is one of the most popular deck building materials sold today. The reasons for its popularity are simple: affordability, durability, availability, and versatility of style as it allows you to stain it on pretty much any colour. The downside of using pressure treated lumber its tendency to swell, shrink, crack, cup, split, and warp when exposed to the elements which means that will require more maintenance that other deck building materials. A yearly power washing is a must, every two or three years is important to apply a new coat of stain or wood preservative to ensure its durability. Also, it is not usual needing to replace a board or two after just a couple of years because of severe warping.

Cedar and Redwood Decks

Western red cedar is one of the most popular options in places like Victoria, BC. Cedar’s rich colour, undeniable beauty and natural resistance to root, decay and insects makes it a great option for deck building that provides the durability of pressure treated wood without the chemicals.

The maintenance required, is very similar to pressure treated wood but also, if you wish to maintain its original red colouring, you must  apply a stain that’s specifically use on cedar or redwood. Another important aspect to consider when it comes to durability and maintenance is the quality of the cedar being used. The durability (weather and bug resistance of the wood) will depend o the level of concentration of heartwood in the boards. The lumber that comes from the center of the tree, has a higher concentration of heartwood, which also makes it more expensive. A professional gardener like Avant Garde will be able to suggest the best materials to use for the different parts of your deck.

Composite decking

Composite decking is the most environmentally friendly, low maintenance and durable option when it comes to deck construction and although it is the least affordable, it may be worth your investment when you consider the cost of time and money associated with yearly maintenance of other decking materials.

Composite decking is made of recycled plastic and wood dust shaped into long, dense boards that look like natural wood. This material withstands the elements and doesn’t require staining or sanding.

Quick guide to looking after your Deck

Colder, darker winter nights and piles of fallen leaves often add up to some seriously slippery decking in your garden.

We might not be able to convince the Victoria, BC weather to become a constant Malibu sunshine. But we can make sure that our decking stays safe to walk on all year round.

Here are a few basic things you can do to keep your decking safe and dry:

How does decking become slippery?

Let’s start with the basics. What causes slippery decking?

Wood is porous

Most wood isn’t a sealed substance. Many types of wood can quickly become impregnated with water as liquid gathers between the fibres of the material.

To prevent this, wood needs to be treated either by your supplier or by you or your garden landscaper after it’s been put in place. You also need to be sure that there are no areas of your decking where water might naturally pool.

Algae, moss, mould, and other growth

If water or even moisture regularly collects on your decking, it can lead to ideal conditions for algae, moss, and other growth to form.

This is often exacerbated in winter conditions, which tend to include less sunlight and lower temperatures.

Leaves and other debris

Debris which builds up on the surface and in the corners of your deck is one of the leading causes of slippery decking.

Leaves and debris are a potential source of slippery danger in and of themselves. But they can also encourage algae, mould, fungus, and other growth to appear. Especially when they get wet and are allowed to remain in place.

How to stop decking being slippery

It’s not possible to make decking non-slip by waving a magic wand. However, there are some simple steps you can take in order to improve the slip-danger levels of your decked areas.

Always clear leaves and debris

The simplest step is the regular removal of leaves and other wet debris which are the major cause of slipping accidents. The build-up of these elements tends to start in autumn. If they are allowed to continue accumulating into winter, that’s when you’re going to start seeing more serious problems.

Luckily, the solution to this is simple. All you need to do is use a brush with stiff bristles to clear away the dirt and leaves every week or two.

Tackle algae and moss

Algae and moss can be a big problem if they’re allowed to get a foothold on your decking. Most modern decking boards have grooves which make it more difficult for moss and algae to get a hold of them.

But whether you have grooved boards or not, it’s a good idea to:

  • Regularly run a quick sweep of your deck to check for green speckles or markings.
  • Apply a good moss or algae killer to any areas which look to be affected.

Put down rubber mats

A quick and easy solution which many decking owners resort to is to put down rubber mats to protect their decking during the winter and autumn months.

Mats are a pretty basic idea – as opposed to other anti-slip decking treatments you can get – but they have the advantage of being simple to apply and simple to remove whenever you want.

All you need to do is put down the weatherproof mats, allow them to take the brunt of the winter weather for your decking and then remove them when spring comes around.

Remove ice (safely!)

Any water or moisture which collects on your decking can lead to one additional slip danger when the weather turns much colder: ice.

It’s obvious enough that ice needs to be removed from decking. But most people’s go-to solutions – either putting down heaps of grit or attacking it with a shovel or another metal gardening tool – are not the best ways to proceed.

Even the most careful use of a metal tool can lead to your decking being damaged. Meanwhile, grit contains chemicals which can damage both the metal and wooden components of your decking – unless it’s made of a composite material.

Be sure to safely remove any ice using a plastic tool or by using a very small amount of grit and carefully rinsing it away after it has done its job.