Marley timber decking case study: Huubie Build

  • 15 Mar 2022

Marley CitiDeck® timber decking is the perfect accompaniment to the whimsical treehouse designs and imaginative play structures made by Huubie Build.

Huubie Build specialises in imaginative play and natural fun, creating whimsical and unique treehouses and play structures – and they use Marley CitiDeck® to ensure safety and inclusivity.

CitiDeck® timber decking used for imaginative play 

With a focus on imaginative play and natural fun, Huubie Build has gained a reputation for creating unique play areas and treehouses for residential, commercial, and educational settings. The structures are works of art with a spirit of playfulness and deliberate ‘wonkiness’ that give a sense of fairy-tale magic. But they’re also carefully designed for safety – and to help ensure the safety of the children and adults who use these structures, CitiDeck® anti-slip timber decking is the flooring of choice.


Paul Prentice, founder of Huubie Build, comments: “The look of pure joy on faces when they are carried away in fun activities is something that ignites my passion.”

He started the company with an aim to get kids and their grown-ups more active and engaged in the outdoors. He wants to change attitudes about active play and its proven values, creating inclusivity so that everyone can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of imaginative outdoor play.

Anti-slip decking: safety first

Safety is essential, and Huubie Build’s play structures are designed to help ensure the wellbeing of those who use them. Surfacing is a big part of this, and various materials are used – from rubber to timber – depending on the situation. 

For example, a soft landing under a climbing frame typically calls for rubber safety surfacing. Meanwhile, decking, platforms, ramps and stairs all require slip-resistant textures and a beautiful timber finish that blends in with the rest of the wooden structure – and for this, Paul uses Marley’s CitiDeck® timber decking.


CitiDeck® is a non-slip timber deck board with a smooth profile and two-non-slip inserts of white-coloured aggregate. It has been independently tested and achieved average pendulum test values (PTVs) of 61 when wet and 73 when dry. These results are significantly higher than the minimum PTV of 36 required for a decking product to be called non-slip.

Safety is also essential for creating inclusive play environments that all children can use. Huubie Build has experience in designing and building for SEND applications. Their timber play structures are perfect for creating fun, stimulating experiences for those with special or additional needs, and the CitiDeck® anti-slip decking provides an extra sense of security

Paul explains: “After feeling the safety underfoot, customers have all said that CitiDeck® was the right choice. It also means fewer risk assessment worries for teachers.”

And children notice the difference too, as he says: “Even kids feel the safety underfoot.”

This is even the case when it’s wet, and this encourages them to run, jump and play more freely. 

Natural and sustainable

The style of a Huubie Build treehouse is one of natural whimsy combined with expert craftsmanship. The use of natural timber is a big part of this, and the finished structures blend in with their surroundings in an organic way. Some intentionally topsy-turvy details give the treehouses unique character.

Paul jests: “I’ve been told I ‘do wonky well’.” He explains that he works with many beautiful timber products – first cuts of cedar with the bark still visible, black locust, Robinia and acacia – to achieve his design aspirations.

He says CitiDeck® timber decking fits in with his architectural vision perfectly: “It reminds me of old millboard and blends in well with the products we build.”

Sustainability is also a key consideration, saying: “It’s more than just a word to us; it’s a true belief in what we’re doing.”

The company has won several awards for sustainable practices. They use sustainable sources wherever possible and use PEFC and FSC-certified timber

Reducing waste is also a priority, and they have even designed Block Bots – charming wood and rope robot toys made from leftover cuttings – to make the most of the materials they use. 

Marley’s CitiDeck® anti-slip decking is manufactured from European redwood, which is sourced from sustainable and ethical suppliers. Marley is certified to both FSC and PEFC chain of custody schemes. The company is also a member of the Timber Trade Federation, and all timber meets both CPET and EUTR directives.

Paul says: “We like wood over plastic. We like trees. If we didn’t like trees, we wouldn’t be in the job we’re doing – building tree houses.”

The company also plants a new tree for every completed project.

Decking for play areas

When family restaurant chain Hickory’s Smokehouse began looking to create play opportunities at their Nuthal location, they called in Huubie Build to repurpose an outdoor area with an American Deep-South theme. The aim for the restaurant was to establish an inclusive and enjoyable environment that attracted families and encouraged people with children to spend more time there.


Paul and his team designed and built a water tower play structure with a silo roof and stainless steel tube slide. All the ramps, stairs and boxes that led up to the water tower were made using CitiDeck®, which he says looked great and felt secure underfoot, even in the wet.

Paul says: “CitiDeck® did exactly what it says on the tin with this project.”

He explains that the timber anti-slip decking provided the safety and design flexibility he needed to match the brief.

A play area for the whole family

One recent project for Huubie Build, which was both complicated and incredibly rewarding, was for a family home in Godalming. They wanted to create an outdoor space that could grow with them as a family. However, the garden had a very steep incline, which meant there was nowhere the children could play safely, so the area went mostly unused. 

Huubie Build’s solution for the problematic space was to create a tiered garden that incorporated monkey bars, a slide, swings, a climbing wall, an outdoor movie den and a fire pit surrounded by curved seating. At the very top, overlooking the garden, they constructed a unique office/treehouse with a deck – a dream come true for parents who want to work from home while maintaining a distinct separation between work and family life.

Zig-zagging steps

In total, there were 122 zig-zagging steps to reach the top of the garden, and Paul says they took to calling the project ‘Godalming Heights’. Over the course of just the first two days, they calculated that the team of two did the equivalent of twice up and down the Empire State Building – and that was just getting the first batch of materials in!

A good portion of the materials they moved in was CitiDeck®. The anti-slip decking was used on the office deck, as flooring in the movie den and as the decking around the fire pit. It was also used to construct the various climbing walls, stairs and ramps that linked the different tiers of the garden. 


The anti-slip properties of CitiDeck® made it the ideal choice for this steep garden, and Paul says his clients are delighted with the result, saying: “It eased their mind in terms of safety for the children.”

CitiDeck® is a natural timber decking ideal for creating healthy landscapes. Suitable for a wide range of applications, from private homes to schools, playgrounds, restaurants, parks and public spaces, its smooth profile gives it a timeless style and makes it easy to clean. It is available in a choice of C16 and C24 grading, with both options carrying the UKCA mark.

To find out more about CitiDeck®, or discuss your next project with Marley’s decking experts, please contact the company today.  

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