Creating an inviting outdoor dining and refreshment scene will likely remain a key priority for bars, cafes, and restaurants as they open for trade once again and look to attract customers now and keep everyone safe in the future. During lockdown, businesses increasingly built upon their out-of-doors dining areas ready for welcoming customers once more and leading Ecodek solid decking boards became a firm choice for restaurants and bars wanting an environmentally sustainable solution to accommodate their customers safely and stylishly. One stunningly located hospitality venture to put the Ecodek product in place has been the Lodge Bistro and Coffee Shop, a sustainably created eatery at the South Cerney Outdoor Centre, positioned on the edge of a 50-acre water sports lake in the Cotswold Water Park. Created by merging two recycled shipping containers to form a waterside reverie, the bistro has been clad in larch wood and includes feature bi-fold doors that open invitingly onto the lake’s vista. The Lodge also includes a cantilever deck dining area over the lake’s edge, which has been designed and installed using the Ecodek system. Having experienced first-hand the maintenance issues and potential slip hazards of installing hardwood decking in the past, South Cerney Outdoor Centre’s Managing Director Matt Pritchard wanted to consider alternative indoor and outdoor flooring options, with a wider vision of being able to create an indoor/outdoor space, with little transition between the two once the bi-fold doors were opened. Considering a composite deck solution to be a more durable and stable option, as well as capable of providing a suitable indoor and outdoor aesthetic and level of practicality, Matt was interested in the advantages of enhancing his project using the Ecodek decking system. He explains: “I was looking for a solution that would enable us to use the same board material internally and externally, whilst also bringing a complementary wood effect feel to the whole dining environment. It was important that any flooring solution chosen would echo with our project’s sustainability brief, and be made using recycled and sustainable materials wherever possible.” In ecological terms, Matt’s decking choice has been on brief, as the Ecodek decking solution is designed to be as green as it is long lasting. Purposely created to be repeatedly recycled, and available in lengths that are ‘cut to order’ in the UK at the fabrication stage, Ecodek production and sustainability credentials not only limit waste but help to reduce installation time and customer costs. Furthermore, as Ecodek is formed using a solid composition, water and moisture can’t penetrate the boards and cause rot from within, making the decking ideal for installation at the South Cerney Centre’s lakeside location. “The environmental advantages of choosing an Ecodek installation chimed well with our brand values,” Matt continues, “however we were also impressed with the product’s strength and its capacity to span greater joist centres more effectively than many alternative solutions; whilst remaining aesthetically attractive. “The grip texture of the decking surface presented us with the safety assurances we were looking for, and the speed of product availability helped us keep on track with project timelines.” The Ecodek system’s structure also offered Matt further product advantages over hardwood alternatives. Resistant to impact damage, its solidity provides greater noise absorption properties, so it’s quieter underfoot – an audible benefit in helping to reduce noise levels in dining environments. Simple to install, and with an impressive level of longevity, Ecodek is a reliable choice for commercial purposes as well as domestic projects, and is fully supported with a 25-year guarantee. “With more hospitality businesses keen to create attractive outdoor eating areas to ensure people’s safety, the increase in commercial decking development has been significant,” says Felicity Hodgkinson, Marketing Manager at Ecodek. “Furthermore, as growing numbers of bars and restaurants look to improve their sustainability credentials; either during the initial development stage or as part of a programme of refurbishment, the preference for decking solutions constructed using environmentally sound methods and materials has also flourished. “By choosing an Ecodek installation, hospitality ventures can achieve this ecological ethos, and select building products that are manufactured to last, whilst creating a beautiful decking area for customers to enjoy and return to, time and again.”
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