The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Beekeeping

Thursday, Apr 01, 2021

A Beginners Guide to Beekeeping

Essential Equipment, Ordering Your Bees & Tips for Getting Started


So, you’re interested in becoming a beekeeper? Beekeeping is one of the most rewarding activities that you can do. Not only are bees a fascinating species, but South African bees are under threat and beekeeping is an excellent way to help combat this issue. Also, think of all the fresh honey you’ll be able to enjoy!

Whether you’re thinking of taking up beekeeping as a hobby or want to throw yourself into it full time, this is the guide for you. In this article, we look at how you can go about becoming a beekeeper, the equipment you will need and some tips for getting started. Read on to find out how to start on this exciting journey!




Beekeeping in South Africa - Types of Bee Species

There are two bee species that live in South Africa called the African honey bee (Apis mellifera Scutellata) and the Cape bee (Apis mellifera Capensis). Both bees can be found across South Africa although Cape bees are more common in the southwest whilst the African honey bee is more commonly found in the north and central South Africa. 

There are some slight differences between the two bees which might help you decide which species you want to farm as a beekeeper. The African honey bee is a more aggressive bee (more likely to sting) capable of producing larger quantities of honey. The Cape bee is more docile although can sting if it is provoked. However, this type of bee has the ability to parasite other bee colonies, especially African honey bee colonies. 


How Does a Bee Colony Work?

Each bee colony is made up of a queen, her drones, nurses and worker bees and each has a specific role to play in producing honey and new bees. At the heart of the colony is the queen bee who is larger than the other bees and the only one with the ability to lay eggs. A drone bee is a male honey bee, whose only role in the colony is to mate with the unfertilized queen. Worker bees are female bees and they carry out different tasks in the hive including housekeeping, feeding the queen, drones and larvae, collecting the pollen and nectar, and making the wax. The job of nursing the unhatched eggs is left to the younger worker bees and once they mature, they are responsible for larger tasks such as building honeycomb from beeswax.

Choosing and Setting Up Your Beehive

The hive is where your bees will live so it is arguably one of the most important pieces of equipment you will buy! If you are planning to take up beekeeping as a hobby, then you might need a slightly different hive to someone who wants to start a beekeeping business. The three main types of beehives are Langstroth hives, Top Bar hives and Warré hives. They have some fundamental differences that differentiate them, so be sure to do some wider research before choosing the type of hive you want. 

As a quick overview, however, Langstroth hives are the most commonly used hive and probably the best one for a beginner to start with. These are modular and expandable beehives that are easily accessible by the beekeeper. You can also expand the hive as you need to if your colony grows in size.

A Warré beehive is quite similar to the Langstroth hive as it is another modular hive made from stacking boxes. The key difference is that new boxes of the Warré hive are added underneath the preexisting boxes instead of on top like they are in a Langstroth setup. This means existing boxes need to be moved up every time a new one is added, which could potentially be off-putting to some beekeepers.

Top Bar hives are quite a different design to Langstroth and Warré hives. They are individual frames of comb in one single, long box meaning there are no heavy boxes to lift or adjust. They are also at a convenient and comfortable height for the beekeeper to access. Their non-modular design does mean that they can’t be expanded in the way that Langstroth and Warré hives can be. However, they have a more simple design that makes them an attractive option for many hobbyist beekeepers.


Key Beekeeping Equipment You Will Need


Frames hang inside of your hive for bees to build their honeycomb in. It is here that they will live, lay offspring and make honey. These frames are removable units to make it easy to harvest the honey.



The smoker allows you to fumigate your hive with smoke to make sure that your bees stay away from you whilst you remove the trays of honeycomb. 


Hive Tool

Hive tools are a critical piece of equipment that you’ll need to detach the honeycomb from the sides of your hive. A hive tool is required for this because bees glue everything in their hives together with propolis. They’re usually very affordable so you shouldn’t have an issue finding one that fits within your budget. 




In the summer, bees gather pollen to produce honey however in the winter when plants and flowers aren’t in bloom, they’ll need your assistance and this is where a feeder comes in. Mix equal parts sugar and water to create a solution. Add this to your feeder and clip onto your hive to feed your bees during the winter months.


Bee Suit

Your bee suit is worth investing in - a higher quality suit is going to offer more protection and better ventilation. Remember, beekeeping can be difficult work so a comfortable suit is a must! Make sure to get yourself a jacket with a veil to keep your face protected.



Beekeeping gloves are normally made of soft leather or another tough material to protect against stings. They are an important safeguard to keep your hands protected whilst handling your beehive. More experienced beekeepers might feel confident enough to approach a beehive without gloves but we wouldn’t recommend this to beginners! 


Queen Catcher

A queen catcher is a tool used for moving the queen without losing her. You might want to keep her inside of the catcher whilst going through the hive. You can also use this tool for catching a swarm since the rest of a hive will usually only stay as long as the queen does. 



You need to make sure your feet are properly covered when approaching a beehive, which is why having good quality and protective footwear is important. A good pair of boots or wellies are your best choice to protect your feet without interfering with your beekeeping suit.


Ordering Your Honey Bees

The most common ways to order honey bees are in the form of package bees or a nucleus hive. Package bees can be ordered through your local beekeeper or local beekeeping organisation. Your package bees will include a queen, some workers and a feeder. Your bee supplier will be able to advise you on how best to introduce the queen to the workers in the colony. 

A nucleus hive (nuc) is a half-size colony that will usually include five frames of honeycomb, bees, a queen and brood. A nuc allows you to jump ahead with the growth of your colony however you do risk the honeycomb spreading pests and disease from the donor beehive to your hive.



Some Tips for New Beekeepers!

Connect with local beekeeping organisations

When beekeeping, there might be information specific to your local area and the bees most commonly found there. The best way to keep on top of this information is to connect with your local beekeeping organisations. These organisations will become your first point of referral if you ever have any questions about beekeeping or assistance managing your hive. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people passionate about nature and the environment!


Attend a course

When you’re new to beekeeping, the amount of information you need to take on board can be overwhelming. You might find you have lots of questions or feel nervous about handling bees for the first time. A beekeeping course is a great way to ensure that you have a good overall understanding of the practice. It’s also likely you will get advice and information unique to your local bee species too.



Read up on the subject

There is so much to learn when it comes to beekeeping - one of the reasons it’s such an exciting hobby! There is a ton of information out there both in books and online so be prepared to dive in. Bees are a fascinating topic and learning about their biology, evolution, and behaviour will give you a new-found appreciation for nature. 


Notify Your Neighbours

There is no legal requirement for beekeepers to inform their neighbours that they have bees, however, if you’re planning to keep bees in your back garden, then it is the considerate thing to do. Otherwise, you could end up with a very unhappy neighbour on your hands if they accidentally get stung. As long as you have enough space in your back garden, your bees shouldn’t be an issue however you should still tell your neighbours to be cautious, especially if they have young children.

Remember to Give Your Bees Water

Just like humans, bees need to drink water to survive. Make sure that there is a clean supply of water near to the hive. It’s a mistake to assume that your bees will find their own water. Colonies on average require a litre of water during warm days. If they have to seek water sources for themselves, they may become accustomed to another location and once this happens, it will be difficult to divert them to another location closer to the hive. You can avoid this entirely however by providing your own water source. 
















20 Ways To Transform Your Outdoor Decking This Summer

Friday, Nov 20, 2020

With Summer fast approaching, many of us will be looking forward to spending more time in the garden. In 2020, due to the Covid19 pandemic, people are pottering around at home and in their outdoor spaces more than ever before. If you can’t go anywhere else this Summer, or you are going to be in your garden more than usual, now is a better time than ever for a decking transformation! There’s nothing worse than being stuck in messy or dull surroundings, so why not take a look at some outdoor space ideas to brighten up your patio and create an oasis of calm.

1. Use A Pergola to Frame the Decking

One excellent patio design idea is to add a pergola to frame the decking area. Pergolas are very ‘on trend’ for 2020/21 and are a dramatic and beautiful addition to your outdoor space. They create a shaded walkway or help to create and section off a shaded area of your patio deck. Perhaps a pergola could be incorporated to box off your seating or dining area from the rest of the garden? Pergolas are also a great patio design idea as they can be decorated beautifully with string lights, foliage or climbing flowers. Not only do they frame your outdoor patio area, but they also act as a stunning centrepiece themselves!


2. Add a Bar!

Who doesn’t love a bar? During the Coronavirus pandemic, popping down to your local bar or restaurant for a few drinks was completely out of the question in South Africa! Even stocking up on drinks at your local shop was unfortunately banned. Now things are starting to get back on track, there is still understandably an element of caution and uncertainty around this subject. With lockdown measures changing almost daily, there is no real guarantee of anything. 2020 has therefore seen a huge rise in home drinking and people installing bars into their gardens! Genius! There are so many clever and low-cost ideas online for creating your own home bar, for example, converting a standard garden shed, installing drop-down drinks cabinets, or even having a simple drinks trolley. Get yourself your own bar and get stocked up now to ensure you don’t go without this summer. Cheers!


3. Create an Alfresco Dining Space

One of the best things about summer in South Africa is outdoor dining. We are blessed with beautiful weather, clear skies and spectacular scenery so why not make the most of it? Invest in some quality outdoor furniture and set up a dedicated area just for dining on your decking. Placing this space in a covered area under a pergola or sunshade is a great way of making sure it is protected both when in use and not.


4. Add an Outdoor Rug

Outdoor rugs are all the rage in 2020! They are an effective way to improve your decking area and give the whole space a more homely and cosy feel. Rugs are also a super simple way of adding an instant pop of colour or pattern to your decking.


Will a rug damage a wooden deck? - Most genuine good quality outdoor rugs are made using woven polypropylene so that they do not absorb water. As long as the rug is regularly lifted, cleaned under and the decking is dried, the rug should not cause damage. It is when an insufficient or poor quality rug is used, or damp and mould is left to develop underneath the rug when there can be damage to your decking.


5. Add a Fire Pit for the Evenings

One of the most dramatic and showstopping deck improvement ideas is a roaring fire pit! Despite being blessed with generally sunny and dry summers in South Africa, a fire pit can be an impressive patio design idea for adding light and a bit of heat in the evenings. Not only are these great for us in the Summer nights, but outdoor decking fire pits can also be used through the winter months too.


6. Paint the Decking

Why not add some extra colour to your decking by giving it a lick of paint? Painting is a relatively cheap but incredibly effective deck improvement idea. Patio decking can either be stained in a natural finish, or it could be painted using an exterior decking paint. One fun idea is to paint stripes on the decking or use stencils to create some interest. Get creative with your outdoor sitting area!


7. Set the Scene with Furniture

When choosing your outdoor furniture, it is important to think about how it will look as a picture. Does the furniture match? Do the chairs complement the colour of your decking? What kind of ‘feel’ does it give the outdoor sitting area? Make sure that all of your furniture matches, and it does not clash with the colour of the decking or railings. Think carefully about what sort of vibe you want your outdoor decking area to have. Do you want it to be classy and moody? If so, choose sleek black minimalist furniture. Or perhaps you want it to be light and bright to invoke tropical vibes? In that case, take a look at rattan furniture and white furnishings instead.


8. Decorate with Greenery

Plants, plants and more plants! Greenery is the ultimate way to dress an outdoor decking area and fill an empty space. Plants are a great way of adding a pop of colour, whilst also tying the decking area into its outdoor setting. Foliage can be used to decorate pergolas or to highlight or hide decking edges or sharp corners. Choose exotic palms or monstera plants for a tropical look!


9. Create Cohesion

It is important that your garden or outdoor decking area does not clash with the rest of your house. The goal is to create a ‘flow’ leading through the house and out onto the decking area. Think about ways you can coordinate your outdoor space with your indoor space and vice versa. Take a look at your outdoor sitting area from afar - does the area look unusual next to your patio doors for example? Plants or matching cushions are a great way of tying the two areas together.


10. Add Colour

Everything's better with a bit of colour! Although grey has been on trend for the last few years, nobody wants their surroundings to be completely void of fun. You can either go to town with bright and wacky upholstery (ensure it is suitable for outdoor use of course), or just add some vibrant scatter cushions, rugs or ornaments to add a bit of life to your patio space. For patio decor ideas, take a look on sites such as Pinterest for some creative solutions.


11. Build an Overhang

One absolutely essential decking improvement idea is to build some sort of shelter or ‘overhang’. With recorded highs of up to 50 degrees celsius in some parts of South Africa, it is wise to invest in some shade! It will also help to protect the area from rain and wind all year around, in turn protecting your investment.


12. Add Bench Seating

Bench seating is a neat but functional decking improvement idea that not only provides additional seating but can also be used to encase or mask unsightly structures or pipes. Bench seating can be made using the same decking materials as the patio to create a tidy and seamless look. Why not try making seating out of upcycled crates?


13. Glass Railings

If your patio is raised and needs railings, have you thought about opting for modern glass panels instead? Some decking railings can be ugly and intrusive and be a stark contrast to the rest of the outdoor space. Glass railings or panels are not only modern, but they disappear into the background meaning your view is not disturbed.


14. Make it Cosy

An outdoor seating area or dining space shouldn’t be hard or cold looking just because it’s outside. Treat the space exactly as you would your living room. Decorate the furniture with scatter cushions and throws, and add little decorative details such as ornaments and candles. There are cushions that are designed especially for outdoor use so you don’t need to worry about them getting ruined!


15. Add Some Light

Yet another crucial and extremely effective decking improvement idea is to add lighting! There are lots of different ways that this could be done, from lower budget options such as string light and solar lanterns to built-in LED strip lights in the decking. Not only is lighting essential for evening use, but it’s also an excellent patio design idea to create ambience and set the scene.


16. Add a Swing Bench!

Why not? If you have the height and a solid structure from which to hang the swing, why not add a cute swing bench or loveseat? This will be a big hit with couples and the kids too. For a stylish and breezy look, search for rattan swing chairs!


17. Add a Hot Tub

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without adding in a hot tub! A hot tub or jacuzzi is the perfect addition to a patio deck that can be enjoyed all year round - especially in the summer.


18. Decking Sun Shades

If you’re not sure about establishing a bulky permanent structure, why not look into sun shades? Sunshades or garden ‘shade sails’, are triangular or rectangular waterproof fabric shades that can be hung above the area of your choice. They are subtle, sleek and modern, and can provide both UV and rain protection.


19. Incorporate a Water Feature

Water features are a beautiful way of adding some interest to your decking area or outdoor space. A relaxing and aesthetically pleasing decking improvement idea, water features are also a great talking point!


19. Add Levels

Levels are an effective way to immediately make a space look more visually inviting. This can be achieved by physically adding higher or lower platforms to your decking, or by adding raised planters of flower beds. Having everything on one level can make the space look flat, so putting things at different heights is a great way to break things up.


Top Tips for Purchasing Outdoor Decking

Here are our top tips for choosing the perfect outdoor decking to bring your vision to life:

★ Not sure whether to invest in hardwood decking? If regularly cleaned and oiled, lower-cost softwood can look expensive too! If you’re looking for something less high maintenance that is guaranteed to look top quality, opt for hardwood.

★ Is it better to get grooved or smooth decking boards? This entirely depends on the area and usage of the decking. Grooved boards are great by pools as they are less slippery when wet, however, dirt can settle in the grooves. Smooth boards are much easier to keep clean and tidy however they can become slippery if wet.

These 20 Ways to Transform your Outdoor Decking for the Summer should give you plenty of food for thought and may even help you to come up with some deck improvement ideas of your own!
At 4ever Deck, we are here to answer any questions you may have about decking and are happy to help assist with patio design ideas. Just get in touch!


5 Eco-Friendly Building Materials That Are Changing Home Design

Thursday, Apr 30, 2020


For many years, the construction industry has been known as one of the most wasteful and least sustainable industries; the materials used to construct buildings, the equipment used for demolition and the transportation required of materials to the site, all have a huge carbon footprint. More recently and particularly in South Africa, the construction industry has begun to catch on to the necessity of more sustainable building practices, which has led to the emergence of new and more sustainable building materials. As buyers have become more environmentally conscious and more young people start entering the housing market, the demand for eco-friendly homes and buildings has increased. This has led to the emergence of new types of homes, everything from sandbag houses to houses made of bamboo and straw bales are now completely viable housing alternatives that are far more sustainable than traditional homes.

At 4 Everdeck, we’ve looked into the rising popularity of new eco-friendly building materials in South Africa and how this might change the types of homes people live in in the future. This infographic looks specifically at the new types of building materials that are now available to us and why they are so much more sustainable than brick and mortar.






What Would Your Garden Look Like Around the World?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The earliest gardens were cultivated for practical reasons including for food or to create shade in hotter countries. Over time, gardens have become more about decoration and a means of self-expression, as well as a way of respecting traditions. A residential garden will tell you a lot about a person and their cultural background. What would your garden look like if you lived in another country?


The Negative Effects of Artificial Light on Wildlife

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2018


Artificial lighting is everywhere; we use it to brighten our homes, offices and even the streets outside. However, we’re not always aware of the negative effect that rising light pollution is having on the environment around us. In 2011, LEDs made up just 9% of the global lighting market in 2011 but it’s predicted that this will rise to 68% by 2020. Of course, this rising demand for LED lighting will not occur without consequence. As we continue to illuminate our homes and communities with artificial lights, we are causing serious disturbances to the wildlife outside our doors.
The majority of wildlife depends on natural lighting to regulate mating and feeding habits, sleeping patterns, pollination and travelling routes. Sources of artificial light interfere with these patterns and routines and are greatly disorientating for many species of wildlife, often with fatal consequences. For example, thousands of birds die from collisions with buildings every year because they divert from their usual flight paths after becoming disorientated by building lights. Darkness at night is necessary for a lot of animals, although we don’t consider this when we accidentally leave a light on throughout the night.
If the right actions were taken, the amount of damage caused to wildlife could be greatly reduced. We should be working to protect wildlife by being more considerate when adding lighting to our homes and gardens and there are various ways that we can do this.
This infographic illustrates the extent of rising light pollution as well as the issues it is causing to wildlife across the globe. It also presents some viable solutions to the problem, so that we can continue to enjoy the benefits of modern lighting solutions whilst also being considerate to the needs of the wildlife around us.











Patio And Deck Furniture Trends For Modern Spaces

Monday, Oct 31, 2016
With design ideas galore and minimum investment requirements, well-selected patio and deck furniture are the answer to any exterior design dilemma. The perimeter of a home deserves just as much attention as the rest of the property, in order to create an all-around harmonious living environment. From the foundation to deck furniture and decorations, a backyard or garden can be transformed into a sanctuary of tranquillity or the most exciting activity area in the house. Get inspired with the latest outdoor furniture trends and ideas to complement your modern home below.

Patio and deck furniture trends

Chapter Navigation

1. Why Invest in a Patio or Deck?
2. Patio or Deck?
3. Best Solutions for Decking
4. Patio and Deck Furniture for Endless Fun
5. Patio and Deck Furniture Set Designs
6.Ask the Professionals!

Chapter 1: Why Invest in a Patio or Deck?

When designing a house from ground up – or redecorating a recently-bought home – patios or decks often go overlooked. Initially, homeowners believe that it would be an additional, unnecessary investment in an already costly process. However, with just a small budget, a dash of creativity and a multi-purpose approach, you can make your front or backyard just as radiant as your interiors.

1. Minimum Investment for Great Results

a) Increased Outdoor Space
If you live in a residential area, you already have a yard around your house. Why not make the most of it? Summers easily turn into a source of endless fun or relaxation, provided you put some thought into exterior home improvement. You can extend your living area and turn the space you already have outdoors into the family’s favourite chill spot.
b) Easy Maintenance for High Quality Products
As long as you make a small initial investment in quality decking materials, maintenance will be minimal. Long gone are the days when you had to spend hours on end replacing deteriorated planks in your wooden deck. Nowadays, plastic deck tiles are designed with antifungal solutions in their core structure and only require a bit of water to wash the surface.
c) Advice for Long-Lasting patios & Decks
If you truly want to keep your deck shining for years and years, all you have to do is follow a few simple maintenance guidelines:
  • If a decking tile was stained, try to clean it as soon as possible.
  • Use protective caps on the legs of any metal furniture so the deck won’t be affected by rust.
  • Do not drag any heavy objects on the deck in order to prevent scratches.

2. Best Solutions for Outdoor Activities

a) The Benefits of Garden Decking
One of the most popular solutions for improving your backyard in recent years is garden decking. While it maintains the vibe of wood and even looks like it, garden decking is made from weather-resistant materials that don’t require hours on end of scrubbing or replacements. Not only are there numerous shades available (like charcoal grey or chocolate brown), but you can also put your garden deck to multiple uses.
b) Railings for Style & Safety
We’re all for refinement, but we also want to highlight the importance of safety. Railings are a must for high decks, especially if the homeowner has young children. Appropriate also for balconies or verandas, railings add to the general aesthetic of your exterior, all while maintaining security.
c) Customisable Pool Decking
Any residential pool deserves a deck that’s just as chic. Regardless of shape, size or location, professional pool decking can provide the perfect frame. Owing to the durable, waterproof materials involved, a pool deck will not only stand the test of time, but it will also be a beautiful addition to your backyard oasis.
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Chapter 2: Patio or Deck?

1. Patio - Designs, Trends, and Maintenance

a) Increased Privacy with Cladding
If you prefer an intimate environment instead of a setting out in the open, a patio with cladding is the best way to go. To put it shortly, cladding means adding fascia boards to your patio, similar to walls. It is a natural way of ensuring privacy without completely closing off your patio area. Fascia boards come in shades like cocoa brown or oyster, ideal for blending into the surroundings.
b) Latest Trends for the Whole Family

Creme de la Creme

Crème de la Crème

Those who want a patio with a more rustic feeling to it can go for a warm, beige colour pallet. Feel free to play around with tones of light brown and white until you get the perfect mix to match the colours of your house.

Wrought iron finishes

Wrought Iron Finishes

As far as patio furniture is concerned, wrought iron is an excellent choice. It works amazingly with the blue stones typically used for patios while contrasting with any wooden finishes your house might have.

Green paradise

Green Paradise

If you have a soft spot for nature, you can combine your patio and garden for the ultimate green lounge. Choose white furniture for a stunning contrast with your surrounding plants and trees.
c) Maintenance Tips for Long-Lasting Patios
Maintenance tips for patios vary depending on the materials used. Here is some advice according to the type of patio you have:
  • Wash with garden hose.
  • Use dishwashing liquid as the cleaning solution.
  • Wait for the surface to dry before applying any sealer.
  • Polish your patio periodically.
  • Re-seal the stones every 1-2 years.
  • Clean the patio thoroughly 2-3 times a year with water and slate cleaner.
Plastic tiles
  • Wash with water.
  • Use warm water mixed with a bit of bleach to remove any mould.
  • Sweep when performing regular maintenance.

2. Deck - Create Space in the Garden

a) Original Deck Furniture & Accessories
We’ll talk a lot more about options for materials, styles, and accessories below, but we first wanted to let you know the main options available. Even though these aren’t the only solutions you have at hand, they are some of the most popular:
Deck furniture materials
  • Wrought iron
  • Wicker
  • Classic wood
  • String lights
  • Hammock
  • Bird bath
b) Best Tips for Lighting
Like we just mentioned, string lights are a lovely way to make any evening on your deck glow. Not only are they inexpensive, but they can be strung around your deck, in nearby trees or anywhere else in the perimeter. Post lights are also recommended if your deck has railings – not only for aesthetic purposes but also for safety. An XXL floor lamp can also brighten your nights while maintaining cosiness.
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Chapter 3: Best Solutions for Decking

1. Composite  Materials: Modern Alternative to Wood

Decking tiles not only look breath-taking, but they are also an environmentally friendly solution for the wooden decks that were used not long ago. They are made from recycled materials, promoting the reuse of resources instead of throwing them away. In addition to this, they are easier to maintain all year round.

2. Decking Tiles - Original Style & Design

Aside from their eco-friendly origins, decking tiles are also absolutely beautiful. They come in distinct colours that cater to even the strictest of preferences, all while maintaining balance with the home. Even more so, they’re so easy to use that you can even set them up yourself.

3. Decking Types for Your Space

a) Sun Decking
If the designated area is uncovered by any roof and is directly exposed to the elements, you’ll need sun decking. Make sure you use durable materials that won’t wear and tear due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.
b) Eco Decking
Instead of using regular wood, go for composite tiles like the ones we mentioned before. You will be protecting the environment while installing a strong, weather-resistant deck.
c) Synthetic Decking
Even though it isn’t as eco-friendly as composite deck tiles, synthetic decking is also an option you have at hand. PVC is the most common, but you can talk to your local decking professionals for any detailed inquiries.
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Chapter 4: Patio and Deck Furniture for Endless Fun

1. Outdoor Oasis with Dining Sets

Outdoor oasis

Why stay cooped up indoors during the summer when you can enjoy your family meals on the deck? One of the greatest benefits of having a deck is being able to easily change your settings when spending quality time with your loved ones, from meals to meetings.

2. Leisure Area by the Pool

Leisure area by the pool

Go for a quick swim and then have a seat for some chit-chat with your friends on the deck. If you have a pool in your backyard, a deck becomes almost necessary for maintaining safety and comfort outside of the water.

3. Sports & Outdoor Activities for Children

Sports and outdoor activities

Give your kids the outdoor playground they have always dreamed of. A deck cannot only border a pool full of accessories, but it can also provide a safe surface for other outdoor games. Here are just a few ideas that will get your little ones excited:
  • Hide and seek
  • Jump rope
  • Blind man's bluff
  • Slip and slide
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Chapter 5: Patio and Deck Furniture Set Designs

Most companies sell patio or deck furniture as a set, so you won’t have to do any extra shopping. These sets all vary in size, materials, and shapes. Therefore, you will certainly find an option to blend in with your deck area.

1. Stylish Outdoor Dining & Sitting Area

a) Metal Sets for Traditional Design

Metal patio furniture

The best part about choosing a metal deck furniture set for your deck or patio is its traditional and modern mix. While metal deck furniture has been used for centuries, it still has a modern feel to it that makes it perfect for recent architectural trends.
b) Wooden Sets for a Vintage Look

White wooden garden furniture

Remember what we said about deck tiles mirroring the image of wood? Well, another benefit is that you can pair your composite deck with wooden deck furniture to make the look complete. You can get white deck furniture or paint it yourself for an immaculate glow.
c) Wicker Sets with a Rustic Feel

Wicker garden furniture

Wicker combines practicality with elegance quite like no other material. It is a cost-effective solution for pretty deck furniture without compromising your design. Furthermore, wicker sets allow you to change pillows as often as you’d like.

2. Don't Forget the Accessories!

a) DIY Ideas for Outdoor Spaces

bucket plant pot

Bucket Vase or Plant Holder

Transform an old bucket from your garden into a vintage plant holder. Even though the example above is simple, you can embellish your new accessory with colours that match your deck furniture. Even more, turn it into a vase to house the latest flowers from your garden.

DIY string lights

DIY String Lights

To make your very own lighting, get a string of white Christmas lights and surround the tiny bulbs with opaque globes. It’s the easiest way to make outdoor party lights without having trouble shopping for them.
b) Pillows, Covers & Decorations

patio pillows

Fluffy accessories are a must if you want your family and guests to feel comfortable while lounging on your deck. Make sure that you have plenty of pillows, blankets and other comfortable accessories you can curl up in.
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Chapter 6: Ask the Professionals!

1. Present Your Project

No matter how far-fetched your ideas might be, you should present it to a team of professionals that can turn your dream into reality. Contact an experienced company for any questions you might have; they’ll be more than happy to lend a helping hand.

2. Get Tips & Cost Estimates

A quality company will provide useful tools like a decking calculator to see how much material you will need. Also, they should have plenty of resources for current and future customers regarding maintenance, benefits and more. Learn more about a beloved team in your area and start creating the deck or patio you have always wanted.
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Revive Your Outdoors To An Oasis

Wednesday, Aug 03, 2016
Looking to turn your outdoor space into an enjoyable haven to make the most of being outside? Home decking can give your garden a new lease of life and turn your space into an entertaining area for family and friends, al fresco dining and some might even go all out and include a designated fire fit or hot tub for a ski resort-inspired oasis.
Decking is certainly an investment for your house and will add a luxury touch to your garden. The below infographic guides you through some of the key benefits of decking and the main points to consider when carrying out your home renovation, including costs, patio versus decking and different styles of decking you could choose from. Enjoy!
Don't forget to credit the infographic to 4everdeck if you want to share on your site...




The definitive guide to decking ideas for a small garden

Friday, Jul 22, 2016
So you’re considering about adding some decking into your outdoor space but there’s more outdoor than space and every corner is as precious as gold. We’ve put together a definitive guide to decking ideas with a small garden in mind, with the aim of helping you utilise your garden and the key things to focus on when tailoring your outdoor space to your personality and lifestyle. The key areas covered in this guide are as follows - deck railing, creating space, clever planting, choosing a colour scheme, seating area, accessorising, creative lighting and DIY garden projects. 


1. To rail or not to rail

Putting together plans for your decking, it’s important to consider whether you want to include railing or not. This is completely optional and all depends on how much space you’ve got to play around with and whether you’re looking to create designated areas in your garden or looking to keep it all as one open space.
If your decking will be taking up most of your garden then railings can actually make your outdoor space seem smaller, however if you have space for a mix of decking and garden then railing can be an effective way of creating a partition for a designated dining area for example. If you’re after a truly contemporary feel to your outdoor space, then curved decking along with no railings is ideal.
Take a look at some of the links below for information on different types of deck railing and some current decking trends.

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2. Creating space with your decking

Once you’ve chosen your desired area of decking, you then need to think about how you can create space for your small garden. The main aspects to consider for your plans are whether to include decking steps or raised decking and whether you’d prefer straight or curved decking. It’s also important to consider how you want to define certain zones as this will also help in creating space.
When it comes to creating space, decking steps and raised decking is perfect for adding height. This is particularly relevant if you’re looking to lead your decking area into your garden. Adding some height will make your outdoor space aesthetically pleasing with different eye levels, create interest and could also create under-deck space, perfect for storage.
In regards to shaped decking, straight panels are much easier to install but curved decking is considered more contemporary and more relaxing to the eye. Curved decking can also be great for designating a spot for the grill or a fire pit. Need some more decking ideas around creating space and enhancing your outdoor space? Take a look at the links below.

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3. Clever planting for your decking

Now you have your decking plans (or atleast made a start on them) you’ll want to start blending your decking area into your garden by using clever planting methods, or maybe the decking is your garden and that’s no problem either. Start by incorporating pots and containers on your decking, which will mean that you can change them and move them around as often as you like, without too much hassle... perfect for a busy lifestyle! This will also allow your small outdoor space to have variety and incorporate some natural colour. Box hedging plants are great for a minimalist appearance and great for acting as partitions. By focusing on light green, grey and silver foliage colours will also create the illusion of a bigger space.
For some further reading on clever planting for your small garden, take a look at some of the links below.

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4. Choosing a colour scheme

This is probably the most under-estimated yet the most effective way of making an impact in your outdoor space. Having a colour scheme will instantly add some character, which can be found in the decking itself or with the plant, seating and accessory choices you make.
The first and best place to start is noticing whether your garden receives mostly shade or sun. For example, if your garden is mostly shaded then you’ll want to steer clear of the cooler spectrum such as blues and purples and instead opt for warmer colours like oranges, reds and yellows. You should then think about which colours will complement your decking, for example citrus colours work really well for darker decking and darker colours like purple and navy work best for lighter decking. From then onwards it’s mostly down to your personality and whether you want to choose clashing colours which will complement each other, or keep your colour scheme simple with greens and neutrals but choosing an accent colour for added interest.
The below links provide some further reading for adding colour to your garden.

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5. Defining your seating area

To make the most of your decking you’ll need to choose seating which is both creative and practical. Think of your decking area as an outdoor room and consider what you’ll be using your space for. Are you someone who wants a relaxing space where you can read, someone who wants to grasp the morning sun whilst having a quick breakfast al fresco, or are you someone who will be regularly entertaining and therefore need a variety of seating options?
With having a small garden, you simply can’t wrong with choosing a simple table and chairs option that you can store away easily and move around as often as you like. There’s also sofa-style seating which will turn your small outdoor space into a sociable hub for entertaining, as well as many other seating options. It’s all down to your lifestyle really, so take a look at some further reading in the links below and discover the best seating options for you.


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6. Accessorise your decking

When it comes to decking trends and home improvement, the simplest way of creating character in your garden and making your outdoor space more inviting is by accessorising. Bold pick-me-ups are an instant winner for creating a tropical feel, whilst cooler blue tones can be great for introducing a nautical vibe.
If you want to keep things simple then focus on colourful rugs, bright cushions and outdoor blankets for your seating area for an effortless update. If you’re feeling creative then you can take your colour scheme to your plant containers and outdoor furniture, as previously mentioned, as well as making your own accessories to add a personal touch.
Take a look at the links below for some inspiration and ways to improve your deck.

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7. Decorate with creative lighting

Looking to light up your decking area or garden on a summer’s evening? Whether it’s lighting within your decking or lighting around your decking, set the perfect mood for your outdoor space. For a sleek and minimalist option, deck lighting is great for adding ambience and making your space feel bigger. Although you’re working with a smaller space, you can still be as creative as you want which is where fairy lights come in. Fairy lights are a simple and versatile way to lighting up your outdoor space and can be decorated on trees, plants, fencing or even your deck railing. Lanterns are the new fairy lights so there’s also that to consider as well. There’s also solar lighting to consider, being the more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.
Check out the links below where you’ll find tips and ideas on how to decorate your outdoor space with lighting.

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8. DIY garden projects

Give your outdoor space some character and let your personality shine by creating a DIY garden piece (or two) for your decking. Whether it’s an outside bar for entertaining your friends, bird features for attracting wildlife, creative seating, walkways or unique plant pots and decorations, DIY garden projects can be fun to do when given the patience. The beauty of DIY is that you can tailor the project to your own needs and even consider up cycling some old indoor items to save some costs.
Below is a list of some great DIY articles providing inspiration and tutorials for various garden projects.

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The Ultimate Guide to Deck Maintenance and Cleaning

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Deck maintenance isn’t exactly a piece of cake for those who aren’t professionals in the field, but two good annual sessions of deck cleaning with the best deck cleaner can leave you with a clean deck all year round. Regardless of whether or not you have a wood deck or a composite deck, you should never underestimate the power of proper deck cleaning for your home’s general aesthetic. Building a deck in the first place is quite the investment, so homeowners should pay extra attention to deck care so they don’t end up paying more than what they bargained for. Composite and wood decks alike deserve the best deck treatment to shine throughout the year, so homeowners are encouraged to stock up on deck cleaning tips and deck maintenance tips whenever they can.

We’re well aware that the fast-paced society we live in doesn’t allow homeowners to spend as much time as they’d like for composite or wood deck maintenance research. Instead of scouring the internet for wood cleaning tips or painting decking tips or just deck tips in general, you can consult our Ultimate Guide to Deck Maintenance and Cleaning. Not only will you save time you would have spent for background info, but you’ll also get insight into the best methods of maintaining composite and wooden decks. We have the answers to any questions you might have about deck cleaning and staining, such as:

  • How To Seal A Deck
  • How To Prepare A Deck For Staining
  • How To Clean a Stained Deck or How to Remove Decking Stain
  • How To Stain Decking
  • How To Maintain a Deck
  • How To Clean Decks Built With Various Materials and More

You’ll also find several options so you can find the best way to clean a deck that applies to your home. Furthermore, you will learn about the best time to stain a deck, as well as the options for the best wood deck sealer and the best deck wash for your set up. Without any further ado, here is your complete manual for deck maintenance.


Thursday, Feb 18, 2016

how to build a deck in south africa

If you want to upgrade your backyard into the best place for leisure time with your family and friends, a well-designed and well-built deck is definitely the option to go for.

Decks are an excellent way in which you can arrange garden furniture, backyard lighting, and other outdoor objects to create a peaceful environment for spending quality time with your loved ones.

If you want to start investing time and creativity into your outdoor space, you will need to start with a deck. Without a deck, pieces of furniture like a table or chairs won’t be as easy to set up.

A deck provides a flat and secure surface for garden furniture to be assembled, without sinking into your sod. However, building a deck – and home decking in general – is an intricate process that requires the right materials and the right background knowledge to carry out properly.

In this regard, we have put together the ultimate guide for home decking, which will teach you everything you need to know about how to build a deck.

We will explain what materials you will have to buy for a quality deck, what to look for in a professional decking team, how much building a deck will cost you, what common mistakes occur in the process, and more.

Gather information and pave your way to the deck of your dreams!

Table of Contents

how to build a deck: the basics   building a deck materials list   how to build a garden deck step by step   cost of building decking   common mistakes when building a deck   how to build a deck guide

How to Build a Deck: The Basics

Even though building a deck is indeed complex, it is not impossible. The process becomes even easier if you have the materials you need and the professionals to aid you in your home improvement project.

As you will soon find out in our thorough guide, sometimes an extra pair of helping hands that possess the necessary expertise will do a world of good.

Even though you might be a bit apprehensive if you’re planning to build your deck on a budget, you would be surprised to find out that professional assistance isn't as costly as you would first imagine. We’ll get more into this topic a bit further on.

how to build decking

As far as the basics of building a deck are concerned, the most significant aspects you need to take into consideration are:

 Project planning

 Building space

 Choice of materials

 Sizing frames

 Allocated budget

 Finesse with details

 Height of deck, stair options

A critical part of preparing for your deck is planning the project. You will need to sketch up a building plan, a layout that will set your construction guidelines.

One of the most important parts of the planning process is determining the size of your deck. You need to consider the width of your house and how long your deck out into your backyard will go. 

Even though you might dream of having a luxuriously large deck, you need to consider your budget every step of the way.

Naturally, the more materials you use, the more expensive your project will be, so treat your planning with seriousness and with finances in mind.

Numerous ambitious home owners go through planning their project without paying too much attention to the amount they will have to pay for materials and labour. They end up exceeding their budget and not being able to finish their project.

After planning and budgeting, the most significant parts of the process you will need to consider will be the materials you use, how you can work with a pro team, and a few price estimates for your project.

List of Materials You Will Need


While home decking projects vary, depending on the size of the deck, there are a few common aspects that everyone needs to be aware of.

There is a list of core materials that you will need for any deck project, which includes:


Together with beams, posts are fundamental materials that will secure your deck’s weight. Posts need to be thought of before beams, as they are the vertical materials that will keep the horizontal beams pushed up and secured.

Posts also establish how high your deck will be; the longer the posts, the taller your deck will turn out. What you need to be sure of is the installation of posts; if posts are not secured tightly, the weight of your deck might not be supported properly.

This is yet another reason why you should consider a team of professionals for helping you build your deck.


As we previously mentioned, posts and beams go hand in hand when building a deck. These are the horizontal materials that will go over the posts and contribute to the foundation of your deck.

In this regard, it is recommended that you go for a screw-built deck instead of one put together with nails.


Even though joists might be associated with the floorboards of a deck, you need to know that these materials go under floorboards and support them.

They are also made of wood, but what sets them apart from floorboards is that they get connected directly to beams.

If you will personally be shopping for joists, make sure that the joists you choose are as defect-free as possible, as to not affect the long-term structure of your deck.

 Floorboards (wood, stone, or composite)

The most well-known material in the deck-building process is the floorboard. As their name suggests, floorboards are the basic planks of wood that will serve as the floor of your deck.

While the most popular and accessible decks are made from wood (like cedar, pine or redwood, to name a few options), you can also build your deck from stone or composite material (recycled materials).

If you’re building your deck on a budget, lumber is the best value you can get.


Railings provide safety for your deck, from all points of view. Homeowners with limited money can go for classic posts as railings, while those with a more generous budget can choose glass and cable as to not block the view of their backyard.


Posts and beams are irreplaceable materials for your deck projects, but piers are the truly essential parts that will keep your deck together.

These materials are secured into the ground and hold up your entire deck. Without piers your deck has large chances of sinking, so make sure that you pay special attention to this aspect of your project.


Even though not all decks require ledgers, the ones that are connected to a house will not be able to function without them. Homeowners who choose to have detached decks don’t need to consider this aspect.

Those who want to have their decks attached to their homes need to have a well-installed ledger to the side of the house that they are planning to build into. If not built in well, your deck has chances of being destroyed and harming both those standing on it and your home.

Just like with all the materials on your shopping list, a team of builders will help you make sure that your construction is safe.

 Stairs (optional)

Another optional part of your deck is a small staircase. A deck doesn’t require stairs to be well-built, but they will help your family and your guests explore the rest of your backyard on your sod with ease.

Keep in mind that building stairs will add to the final costs of your project, so weigh your options and see if you really want to have them incorporated into your plan.

In addition to these, you will also need a few tools to help you put them together safely:


Saw (power meter, hand, circular)


Safety Glasses





Pry Bar

Ratchet Wheelbarrow
Levels (line, water)

Bolts (j-bolts, carriage bolts)

Joist hangers

Caulk & caulk gun


How to Hire a Reliable Team to Help with Construction: Recognizing Quality Services

As promised, we will continue with guidance on how to find a great construction team you can count on for building your deck. Like we explained when describing the materials you will need for your deck, all of these require extended care and attention, not only for aesthetic purposes, but most importantly for safety.

To get a better grasp of the situation, think about how many people will be passing on your deck throughout the years. You want to build a quality deck that will withstand weight, weather, and other conditions, so you should really consider getting professional help.

Nevertheless, how can you find a team you can really rely on? What makes a good construction team? Here are some tips that will help you make the right decision:


As with any other professional service you want to buy, it is highly recommended that you do your fair share of research before hiring a team for your deck project.

Apply the journalistic rule of checking through at least three sources and always do a bit more digging, even if you feel you have found the ideal team.

Write down the pros and the cons for all of your options and see which team meets your requirements the best.



Even though you might find an amazing company to work with, it might not help that much if they’re far away from you.

It is best to search for companies that are closest to your area, especially to save up on transportation costs.

By choosing a team from your city or community you will also be supporting your local economy.



The more benefits a construction business offers, the more credibility it has on the market, and the more they care about the customers they are working with.

For example, if a company has an extended guarantee, you know that you will be working with quality materials and professionals that get the job done right.

Free estimates, discounts, or additional promotions are also perks to look out for when choosing a reliable team to help with construction.



A well-respected construction company will always offer you a variety of choices when making your purchase for their services.

You won’t be pressured into buying a specific material or labour option; you will be encouraged to look through their plans and offers and choose the one that is best for you. 



Another aspect you should keep in mind when choosing a construction company to work with is their availability and flexibility.

If you can clearly see contact details posted throughout their website, it means that they are open to being contacted on your time.

This is really important to keep in mind as you will need to work with the team on your time, not theirs. 

Cost Estimates for the Entire Deck Building Process

Before you get started with planning your deck, you should know that considerable costs will be involved.

Even though you can shop for inexpensive materials, we highly recommend that you invest in quality ones that will guarantee a long-lasting deck.

You will be making an initial investment, but the better the materials and services you buy are, the more durable your deck will be.

As an average, a good, solid deck should hold up for several decades. 

Moreover, decks can be planned and designed in an infinite amount of ways.

It all depends on how much building space you have at hand and what base materials you want to use (composite, timber, stone, etc.). Of course, costs are directly proportional with size, so a larger deck will subsequently require a larger budget. 

As an example, most of our decking systems (slats and boards) cost R 745.00 per board and are 5.8 metres long, 150mm wide, and 25mm thick.

An average deck size can be 3.7 m x 7.3 m, 7.3 m x 4.9 m or 4.9 m x 3.7 m, just to name a few.

To find out how much the materials for your custom deck will cost, use our convenient decking calculator.

Common Mistakes When Building a Deck

Now that we have covered all of the basics you need to know when building a deck, it’s time to go into the fine details of the process.

As the saying goes, the difference truly is in the details, and this general rule will always be applied for home decking. 

By far, the most important aspect of all is getting all of the materials put together properly.

We really can’t stress enough the seriousness of this aspect, as terrible accidents can occur when all of the pieces of the puzzle aren’t placed together the way they should.

A poorly-built deck can lead to dangerous situations in which the exterior of your house can be ruined or.

This fact can also lead to your guests getting hurt if a deck sinks or collapses.

Professional help is always recommended when building a deck, especially for the reasons mentioned above.

An expert deck builder will know how to assemble the piers, joists, posts, beams, floorboards, and other parts of your deck so they will fit securely.

For your information, we have included a few of the frequent errors that occur when decking below, as well as several frequently asked questions and additional tips and tricks.

Top 5 Errors in Decking

Lack of Planning & Design

Planning is as vital as decking gets. Even though you might not possess the necessary knowledge to put together a deck design for yourself, you can contact a professional and work together to plan your dream deck.

Sizing & Spacing Miscalculations

You could purchase the most expensive materials on the market and they would be useless without proper sizing and spacing calculations. Make sure that you buy the right amount and length/ width/ height materials that go hand in hand with your deck plan.

Connected vs Detached

While this aspect is debatable, most professionals would recommend a connected deck instead of one that is not attached to a house. Not only is it more practical, but it is also more durable and built to resist throughout years and years.

Missing Maintenance

You might be head over heels in love with your deck at first, but you need to keep in mind that you will need to maintain it as time passes.

On this note, be careful with your choice of materials regarding durability and find a team of maintenance professionals in your area that can help you with any issues that might come up along the way.

Simple Steel

Untreated steel will lead to maintenance problems and additional costs in time that could have been avoided. Not simple steel, but galvanized steel is required for your deck to avoid rusting and other effects of being directly exposed to the elements.

FAQs on How to Build a Deck

How Large Should My Deck Be?

The size of your deck is directly connected to the width of your house and the length of your backyard.

However, many homeowners choose to build decks anywhere between 28 and 37 meters, as a general average.

Will I Require a Permit for Building My Deck?

Whether you require a permit or not depends on the area that you live in.

The official website of your city should have a section dedicated to building permits that will inform you about requiring one for building decks or not. 

What Is the Best Material for My Deck?

Materials for home decking equally depend on preferences and budgets. If you don’t have a large amount of money you are willing to spend for your deck, you will most likely choose timber.

If so, it is recommended that you choose cedar for durability in time. However, cedar will need to be stained every few years, while composite decks are easier to care for.

Recycled or composite materials require the least maintenance and will withstand the test of time.

Can I Build My Deck on My Own?

Nothing is impossible, of course, but it is always recommended to get assistance when dealing with complex construction projects like decks.

A reliable team will point you in the right direction and guarantee that your deck is safe and sound for decades.

How Can I Prevent My Deck from Being Destroyed by Weather Conditions?

The key to maintaining your deck in time is to periodically clean it.

You should clear any algae, moss, or dirt that might lead to the ruining of your deck.

While composite materials don’t need to be stained, any type of wood will require this every two or three years.

Extra Tips and Tricks: What to Watch Out For

As a final note, we suggest that you put a lot of thought into your decking project before you get started.

The concept, planning, and design are clearly the most important parts to consider and will determine the positive or negative outcome of your deck project. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – that’s what professionals are there for. Reliable companies will always be open to brainstorming for your projects and working around your existing budget.

In the end, enjoy the process, and enjoy the results even more with your loved ones!


Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

15 Renovations to Add An Exotic Touch

Monday, Nov 02, 2015


Do you know what the most useful and value-adding renovations are for your home? Would you know which are the best return on your investment is when the time comes to sell your property on? We've compiled this useful infographic to offer you an insight into the best way to improve the overall value of your home, and also to just generally make it more aesthetically pleasing.

Renovations to your home not only make it a more enjoyable place to live, but they are likely to augment its long-term value. The average renovation can add as much as 10% to the value of your home. 




7 Gardening Experts Tell Us How To Bring Life To Your Garden

Monday, Oct 19, 2015

In South Africa there’s been a real push in recent years towards maximising garden space in all walks of life; as both home ownership increases and as part of a concerted government drive to alleviate food insecurity by encouraging people to become more agricultural in the home (particularly in urban areas) as a means to become more self-sufficient. So with the role of the garden increasing to the point where to many it’s more akin to an outside room or workspace, then it only seems fitting to treat its design with the same care and attention to detail that you’d use in any other room in your house.

It may seem daunting, but with a little foundational work and a solid work ethic you can transform your garden into a self-sufficient agricultural hotbed with a thriving eco-system that looks absolutely gorgeous to boot. How, you might ask? Well, we wanted to know too, and that’s why we got in contact with 7 of the most notable gardening experts on the web and asked them one simple question:

What are your favourite tips & tricks to help bring a garden to life?

Here’s what they told us:

Trish Taylor - Life Retreat
 1) Lawn care always revives our lawns. Every spring I hire a roller with spikes, and aerate the lawn (this can be done by digging in with a garden fork). I purchase a lawn fertiliser, and spread it everywhere. I cut back any trees that are preventing sunlight, from shining onto the lawn. I mow the lawn to a healthy height of about 2 1/2 cm. And, year after year, we are guaranteed of a beautiful, lush, green grass.

2) Herb gardens not only bring our gardens back to life, but they but they help us to live a healthy life. We have had an assortment of herb gardens over the years. At the moment we have little pots in the garden with herbs growing in them. The most important thing for me, apart from nurturing them, is ensuring that they are labelled. This way we instantly have access to a variety of herbs for cooking, healing and cosmetics. Twice a year I sow seeds for herbs we don't have.

3) The sound of water soothes our souls. If you are fortunate enough to live by the sea, or a river you will be blessed, with the ongoing sounds of nature. If not, a water feature is a good option. I love the sound of rain, and there is nothing more relaxing, than lying in bed during a thunder storm. Not only is rain the most beautiful sound, but it guarantees us a living garden.  Water is essential for our gardens, in the right quantities of course. I have a timer on my irrigation system, which ensures that the garden is always watered. On hot summer days, our plants often cry out for more water, and it is so relaxing to stand with a hosepipe, and water the plants. This is the best way to ensure that we have a dose of Vitamin d, every day
Dani Nieckau - Eco-Footprint SA

There is not much I do to bring a garden to life - because it all depends on the rain that falls. No rain - no veggie garden. I don't have flower beds because all our available water must go towards providing for us, rather than being wasted on keeping "cosmetic" items alive.

Naturally, using winter to feed and prepare your veggie beds is critical. We are blessed with 7 X 5 000lt tanks which collect the rainwater which falls on our roof. Apart from water in streams / rivers (which we don’t have access to), rain water is the best way to water plants which you're growing for food.

Being fortunate in having a worm farm, and alpaca's, who provide me with the very important nutrients with which to feed my beds I do not even have to consider using chemical fertilizers. I wouldn't in any case. Why add chemicals to you foods if you're trying to grow wholesome food to benefit your body?

Mulch is also of critical importance. Water is too precious to waste - the mulch helps to retain the moisture for the plant's benefit, and prevent it from evaporating due to high temperatures / excessive wind.

Similarly, any pests which arrive are dealt with in as eco-friendly a way as possible. Chickens to eat the crawling, flying insects, and companion planting to keep other pests at bay. My blog also details an eco-friendly recipe for spraying which I was given by a manager at a Starke Ayres Garden Centre in Cape Town.

Ethnee Hepburn- Ethnee's Blog


Here's my three tips for bringing your garden to life:

1. Use lots of compost to attract earthworms so that your soil remains well fertilized.

2. Try and focus on cultivating plants that attract bees and birds as this will save you a lot of time and energy on pollination, weed control and spreading seeds around the garden. It also helps keep pests at bay!

3. Invest as much time into your garden as you want to get out of it. Make sure you know your routine like clockwork- when to water the plants, when to pull out weeds, when to harvest your veg etc and just get on with it with a bit of old fashioned hard-work

Catherine Hughes- Growing Family

My tip is to choose plants that stimulate as many senses as possible; this makes your garden work on many different levels which really adds interest.  We tend to automatically think of choosing beautiful flowers and colours to delight the eyes, but it’s also worth considering texture, sound and smell when choosing and positioning your plants.

Ornamental grasses are a fabulous way to bring a garden to life; they move in the wind which creates wonderful sounds and gives a point of interest for the eye, they are also very tactile so you can enjoy running your hands through them if you plant them within easy reach. And for scent my top pick would be lavender; it smells fabulous and it’s also fantastic for pollinating insects and looks wonderful.

Alexandra Campbell- The Middle Sized Garden

My top tip on garden design is to approach it differently if you live in town than you would if you were living in the country. In town, you need think about the garden as you view it from the house - what will you see out of the windows, for example? Then think about what the house will look like when you look back at it from the other end of the garden. Whereas if you have a country garden with views, then you need to start thinking about how they will work with your garden design. You don't have to choose a garden design that matches your architecture or your view - just remember that either factor will affect the atmosphere of your garden in a major way.


At this time of year with fading light and falling leaves, the garden can start to look a little stark. An easy way to brighten it up a bit is with some strategically placed spotlights. Place beneath a tree or another tall structural plant and as the sun disappears the lights will bring new life to your garden, creating interesting and illuminating displays that allow you to see your plants in a new way.

Eddie DeJong - Vita Gardens
I'm always astonished at the way the earth works, and how many of life's living and lifestyle issues can be solved simply by nature.  Take composting for instance.  Nature has made a way to not only help reduce our consumable waste by 1/2 but it also does something much better - and that's convert that waste into the richest soil imaginable.  It's not a new thing, as it's been around since the beginning of time.  Also throughout the spring and fall, I try to save my yard waste to use in my gardens for future compost.  I used to bag everything up and leave it for the city to dispose of.  Now I keep it for myself - and it's a simple way to reduce our household waste and replenish our gardens.

Comparing Composite wood decking vs traditional Wooden Decking

Thursday, Jul 09, 2015

Probably the most common question when deciding which deck material you're going to use is do you go for the traditional wooden deck material or do you go for composite wood decking. Below is a great break down describing the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Wooden Decks

Wooden decks have been around for as long as there have been buildings & with good reason. Wood decks are economical, durable and abundant in material.

In South Africa some of the most common wooden deck material is balau decking at the coast and as we head inland can also include Massaranduba, Garapa & Rhodesian teak. Pine decking is also used sometimes as it’s the cheapest decking material but with good reason, as it does not handle the weather well and has much shorter lifespan than other decking materials.

Cost wise wooden decking varies greatly depending on the material used. A garapa deck fully installed can cost up to R1300 a square metre including material and installation. So let’s say you’re looking to do a 5m x 4m deck you could be looking at R26000. But keep in mind that wooden decks require constant maintenance. Each year you will have to sand and seal the deck or else it will begin to rot. This can add to the cost tremendously. Professional installers will generally charge +- R150-R200 a sqm to do this each year. So now our 20sqm is going to cost us an additional R4000 each year that is 15% of the overall deck cost!

Wooden deck advantages

Cost Wooden decking material requires a slightly less upfront cost then composite decks. Pine decking will cost substantially less but then might only last 3-5 years at the coast. Premium woods such as Teak or Grappa cost a similar amount to the composite.

Lifespan Timber Decking constructed with a premium wood can last anywhere from 5-7 years depending on the maintenance and weather. Pine decking may last from between 3-5 years at the coast.

Look Wood decks appear authentic because it is real wood. It feels like natural timber and looks just like wood.

Wooden Deck disadvantages.

Maintenance – Any wooden deck requires constant maintenance. This will need to be constantly sanded cleaned and sealed almost every year which as discussed above adds exponentially to the cost. This is also a constant time consuming activity that you can’t get away from when you could rather be relaxing on your deck instead of looking after it.

Safety - Wood is a natural material that can warp, rot, as well as be eaten by termites or wood bore. This can create a safety hazard if a board breaks while you are walking on it or your deck collapses. Splinters are another concern especially if you have children who are running barefoot on your deck.

Installation – Wooden decks require you to drill through the boards, not only is this more time consuming it also creates a weak point in your deck where water can seep in. 4Everdeck Installers say that an installation of a composite deck can also be up to 35% quicker than a wooden deck.

Sustainability – It is very difficult to trace where exactly your timber came from. Quite often natural rain forests are stripped for their wood and the forest permanently damaged.

Composite Decks

Composite wood decks are a synthetic decking product that has grown tremendously in popularity over the past few years. Generally they are all made with a combination of wood fibre and different plastics mixed in various quantities. 4Everdeck is made up of 60% wood fibre and 40% recycled High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Some composite decks are made up with pvc which gives a more plastic look and feel to the composite wood.

How much does composite wood decking cost.

Composite wood deck costs vary depending on your brand but 4Everdeck will generally cost about R1400 a square metre fully installed. So let’s say you’re looking to do a 5m x 4m deck you could be looking at about R28 000. Keep in mind that this excludes things such as stairs, handrails & cladding.

Composite wood deck advantages.

Maintenance – a good quality composite deck requires no maintenance besides the occasional clean with a brush and some water. There is no need to sand seal or stain.

Durability – Composite wood will not rot, splinter or warp. It is also immune to termites.

Installation – Composite wood is far quicker to install (up to 35% faster) than traditional wooden decks as each decking board is perfectly straight and the same size. The hidden fastener system also makes the installation far quicker as well as looks more professional since there are no screws through the deck board.

Lifespan – 4Everdeck comes standard with a 10 year guarantee but has an expected lifespan of 20-25 years!

Points to note.

As you can see composite wood is the ideal material for your decking project especially once you factor in the cost savings from no maintenance. Using our calculations above the maintenance on wooden decks accounts for up to 15% of the overall cost each year!

Not all natural woods nor composite woods are the same. You should only purchase your decking material from a trusted supplier with a proven track record. Some wood composite deck materials can look very artificial and will not look anything like natural wood. We encourage you to view decking samples before making your final decisions. 

Contact us today to discuss your decking project. -

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Composite Decking Installation Tips

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015

While it is not too difficult to install a wood composite deck, installing it correctly will ensure that it not only looks great it will last many years without giving you any hassles.

Having been involved with building and construction for over 30 years we have certainly picked up a few tips regarding decking installations.

Not using enough clips.

We recommend using 21 of our standard plastic clips with screws for each square metre. Where two boards but up against each other we suggest that each board has their own clip at the join and do not share the clip.

Adequate Joist spacing.

The joist spacing (the beams the decking shall sit on) we recommend that your joist spacing be no more than a maximum of 350mm apart centre to centre.

Water Drainage.

When installing a composite deck you should make sure that you have a very slight slope in the overall deck so that the water can drain otherwise you will have large puddles on your deck that won’t evaporate.

Allowing for expansion.

 You must allow a minimum of 1 mm per linear metre for expansion and contraction over the length of the board – in other words if you had two 5.8metre long boards butting up against each other, you would allow 3mm on either end of each board, so this would give you a gap of 12mm where the two boards join. Another tip is to run a breaker board perpendicular to the rest every 5.8m.

When installing your L-shaped skirting that covers the edge of your deck the hole you drill for the screw should be 1mm bigger than the screw to allow for expansion and contraction.

Raising the fascia off the ground.

One of the most common problems is the fascia board running directly into the ground. This almost guarantees future problems as the fascia board will be damaged by weed eaters or water damage. To correct this we suggest you raise the fascia slightly off the ground and alternatively also install a small concrete curb just below it. 

Staggering your boards. 

Even though 4Everdeck synthetic decking boards are supplied in 5.8m lengths on a large deck you can still have a row of joins, we prefer to see the boards staggered, so that the joins are not all in the same line. This is purely from an aesthetic perspective and has nothing to do with the quality of the installation. 

Incorrect joist size.

It is very easy for an installer to save money and time by not using a large enough joist in the substructure. To ensure that your deck has an adequate substructure and will not move or sag once your composite decking is installed we recommend that you use a large enough joist that will be relatively stiff and not be springy when you walk on it.

Contact us today to discuss your decking project. -

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Alternative uses for 4Everdeck - Outdoor storage area

Saturday, Jun 13, 2015

With such a great looking synthetic wooden surface it can be easy to leave all your cushions, braai kit and garden gear all over your composite deck. Previously your only other alternative was a large unsightly plastic storage box that is until 4Everdeck came along. From hidden trap doors for pool pumps, outdoor cupboards for the braai & even boxes for pillows and pool toys our aesthetically pleasing products can be adapted for a number of uses depending on your needs no need to have the generic industrial cheap outdoor solution.

Don't let your outdoor storage needs be an afterthought, with the help of your local decking contractor all of your outdoor possessions can be stored in a safe and protected environment that not only looks great but is maintenance free. 
Combine any of our composite wood products for your outdoor needs; the only limit is your imagination.

Some of our 4Everdeck storage solutions include.

  • Outdoor kitchen Cupboards
  • Pool Pump cover
  • Trap Door in your deck.
  • Storage box for pool toys and cushions

 outdoor cupboards and storage box

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The professionals use 4Everdeck & so should you.

Tuesday, Jun 09, 2015







Planning on adding a deck to your home is a big home improvement project. From what size do you want to build, what design you want to go with, to which composite decking product you should use.

So when investing in your home you should go for a tried and tested product & rely on a name you can trust. You should choose a composite decking material that has been around for a long time and has a proven track record of a high quality product that lasts. No one knows this better than architects & professional decking installers; they do not want to install a product that will require them to keep heading back to service it. That kind of defeats the point of using a composite decking product if it’s not hassle free.

4Everdeck has a proven track record. Since 2002 we have been involved with wood plastic composites so for the last 13 years, and have over 30 years’ experience in the building industry. We are one of the only decking suppliers in South Africa that has actual experience in the manufacture of the product not just importing it. 4Everdeck was developed specifically for the South African market to withstand our harsh weather conditions from the icy cold Cape winters to the scorching hot summers in the Karoo. When speaking to your decking supplier, ask them how long they have been around for, chances are not as long as us.

4Everdeck works with a large base of installers and architects country wide that use our product on a daily basis, we can assist with designing and installing a composite deck for you. We use an extensive range of transport companies to ensure we can deliver anywhere in Africa. We can generally get your decking to your door within 24-48 hours no matter where in South Africa you are. We not only do composite decking but also do DIY deck tiles, railings, wall cladding and fascia boards.

4Everdeck has been used by some of South Africa’s biggest companies such as Vodacom, Investec, Nedbank & Ocean Basket. You can stand assured that when you are looking for the ultimate decking material, look no further than 4Everdeck.

So when you start planning that new outdoor living area, have a look at what the professionals recommend, and you will see it is 4Everdeck.

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Great accessories for decking

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015

As soon as you lay your new decking you’ll want to start enjoying it right away and make use of your new social area. That’s understandable, so what features can you buy to transform your deck from a great looking base into the perfect al fresco area? Read this article for tips on accessories that your decking is going to love.

  • Sun lounger: No decking is complete without a sun lounger or two. After all your hard work it’s good to take things easy and there’s no better way than to lay on a lounger with an ice-cold drink in your hands. Be as lazy as you like on a lounger, it’s a top accessory for a decked area.
  • Canopy: Enjoy the sun by all means but if the glare becomes too much why not invest in a canopy that'll protect you from the intense heat? Invest in a good canopy, a sail shade or a decent parasol and you can sit back on the decking or laze about on your lounger without the sun blinding your eyes.
  • Mood lighting: Subtle lighting looks amazing when the sun starts to sink from the sky and it’s the perfect way to show off your decking at night. Buy coloured lighting, go for the eco-friendly approach with solar powered lighting or simply light a few lanterns that have tea lights or candles flickering away for a romantic look.
  • Braai: You’ve got the decking laid so why not invite your mates around for a braai and show them your new look garden? The whole point of having decking is to enhance your outside living area so buy a new Weber and enjoy cooking all your favourite meaty treats in the perfect outdoor setting.
  • Patio heater: Why spoil the evening just because there’s a slight nip in the air? Switch on a patio heater and you spend as long as you like on a decking solution from 4 Ever Deck. Add a little heat and party long into the night, a patio heater lets you enjoy socialising outdoors regardless of how chilly it becomes.

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Decking design and how to get it right

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2015

It’s exciting to start a new decking project but it can also be a little bit intimidating too. On one hand it’s a great way to reconfigure the look and the functionality of your garden, on the other there’s plenty of things that could go wrong. Get the design of the decking right from the beginning though and you shouldn’t have too many problems. Read on for tips on how to succeed when you begin to deck out your garden.

  • Draw up a planned outline of your garden: When you first start to make plans for your decking it’s a good idea to draw up a rough plan of your garden. Create a bird’s eye view of the plot and print off a few copies so you can play around with a few design ideas.
  • Be imaginative with decking shapes: You have free range to create any shape of decking you like as long as you have room in the garden. Squares are okay, rectangular decking looks great but so does round decking in smaller types of gardens. You can use different sections of decking to break up the blandness of the garden just put some thought into the shape of the decks you want to use.
  • Don’t be afraid to use raised decking: Raised decks are good options to highlight certain sections of your garden, you can use them for eating areas or areas where you simply want to lounge about. Raise the profile of the decking in key areas and you really bring the garden to life.
  • Use clever lighting solutions: Sink colour changing LED lights into the top of the decking and you can create fashionable and functional social areas that look stunning at night. Lighting should be a major part of the decking design and you’ll be glad you took the time to get the lighting right once you use the decking for the first time.
  • Add features to funk up the decking: Accessories will give your decking the homely feel so add plants in designer containers, contemporary garden furniture, even add bunting to the area if you like. You can think about the features you want to add when you are working on the design of the decking and this should help you get the layout of the deck right.