Western Red Cedar timber decking from Leisuredeck Ltd, 311 Marsh Road, Leagrave, Luton, 01582 563080, costs from pounds 50 to pounds 300 per square metre, depending on design, specification and installation.
If what is underfoot outside your back door would look equally at home in the kitchen (or possibly look even better than what's underfoot in the kitchen), congratulations! Timber decking, posh outdoor wooden flooring, is the patio surface to be seen lounging on. Americans and Canadians have had it for years, but it is catching on in this country, too. To complete the look, plunder trendy American catalogues for the right down- homey, faded-distressed, Shaker-style patio furniture (though be prepared to run out to rescue it every time it rains). Timber decking, though pressure- treated and preserved to within an inch of its life to stop it falling in/rotting away, has that coveted rustic look, as though the patio-owner had felled a few trees and whacked down the planks with his own hand in a macho, pioneery kind of way. The same cannot be said of concrete, which lies at the far end of the patio spectrum. This is the favoured choice of busy builders, who slap down their unwanted rubble at the back of the house, disguise it under a thin layer of cheap concrete slabs and run away. Concrete au naturel is bad enough, but grimmest of all are patterns laid out in coloured slabs of pink, green or red. Hire a skip to cart it away immediately.