What to consider for child and pet-friendly deck projects

small child and dog on decking

In the world of decking and patio projects, there is no shortage of ideas, designs, or styles. But, people with children or pets know building a deck isn’t just about what you want — it’s about building something that functions for everyone, even the furrier members of the family!

So, if you’re sizing up your space ready to build a child and pet-friendly deck – or replace an existing one – here’s what our experts recommend.

The complexity of the design

Above all, keep it simple.

Before you start, it’s a good idea to first think about what elements of the patio are absolutely necessary and keep them. It’s best to look at the most sturdy and proven-secure designs first — as experimenting may not be the safest patio design and could put you or your family at risk of injury. We offer a range of easy fit decking kits if you are looking for a quick and cost-effective solution!

Another part of the design you’ll need to think about are the steps. Every step you add to the patio can create the potential for additional accidents and injury. Not just for children, but additional stairs can be difficult for pets to manage as well — particularly pets in their ‘winter’ years, as their joints are more fragile.

Fit Your Own Decking

If a tall design is unavoidable, consider adding safety rails that way no one can take a nose dive off the deck. We’d recommend trying to keep your project to two steps high or build a ramp instead, to help keep your patio and garden fully accessible to everyone.

For large dog owners and some medium-sized dogs, having a 6ft fence might be a priority especially if they are clever or escape artists. To this end, make sure the placement of your new decking will not compromise the security of the fence. The last thing you want is your pup using the new patio as a launch pad to leap over the fence and explore your neighbour’s garden.

Open space

If you’re building a new patio, the best way to start off marking out the space is to use wooden stakes and string. You’ll find this handy in helping you to visualise how much of the garden your new decking area will occupy.

Try a test run. Keep the string and stakes up for a few days or hours and let your children and or pets run around them — under a watchful eye of course! See how they interact or use the space with the decking outline. Generally, it should be pretty obvious if there isn’t enough room for normal play and activities — adjust your design as necessary.

decking artificial grass


When it comes to selecting materials for your new garden decking area there is a lot to think about like maintenance, costs, replacements, safety, wear and tear, which is why lots of people are drawn to composite decking.

Composite decking doesn’t rot, chip, or splinter and requires very little maintenance when compared with timber alternatives.

Additionally, composite decking can be fitted using secret fixings. This means pets and children are less at risk of hardware (screw or nail) related injuries and it makes for a nice clean finish.

No matter what you decide, it’s very likely you have enough to take care of with your pets and children so leave the decking to us! Our range of decking solutions can help put your mind at ease and free up more time for your loved ones.

At Savoy Timber, we have the largest stocks of garden decking in the UK including a range of DIY garden decking kits to save you time and money. If you need help or advice, we offer a free expert planning service to help you sort out your outdoor project, just get in touch or come by our DIY stores in Preston, Blackpool, and Wigan.

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