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Hard Landscape : Platforms and Decks

Sunken garden

Small changes of ground level in areas of flat ground can be very attractive, having the same ornamental value as terraces. Platforms are created artificially by building a raised level area of soil retained by low walls. Platforms can be covered with gravel or sand, but more usually they are sown down to lawn.

Lawn platforms in a small garden should be less than fifteen centimetres but they can be higher in a large garden. By being low, the flatness of the platform is emphasised. If the height is more than fifteen centimetres, steps will be necessary.

Wooden platforms or decks are akin to a viewing terrace, or balcony, in their effect. They are usually associated with a paved area close to the house, or a pond. Building a wooden platform, or deck, on a slope might be easier than building a terrace with retaining wall.

A wooden deck can be very effective built onto very steeply sloped ground, or where there is not enough room to excavate a terrace. Well made decking is very attractive in its own right, but it may become slippery with algae. This can be removed with a wire-brush when dry, or a power hose when wet.

Sunken garden

A platform, being raised, always has open sides, and a sunken area is always closed. If nothing else, the sides of the excavation close it off; it becomes a little garden in itself and can be very attrctive. Further enclosure with hedges and walls can be used to reinforce its individuality.

A sunken garden can be made by digging out the soil from a level area of ground and providing retaining walls on all sides. It can be of any depth, but small ones should be shallow, no deeper than forty centimetres.

The area chosen should have good natural drainage; otherwise, water seepage could be a problem and drainage becomes a major task. Like any garden, a sunken garden might have beds, paving, grass, ground-cover, water features, ornaments – a garden within the garden.

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