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Garden decking ideas to inspire your next garden project

Whatever your reasons for creating a deck, it’s only natural that you would want it to look its best. The good news? The possibilities for garden decking design are endless.

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No matter the size of your garden, a well-designed decking area is both an attractive landscaping feature and a great way of extending your living space outside.

But where to begin?

Whether you’ve just moved house and have been blessed with an outdoor decking area, are looking to build your own decking or are simply in need of inspiration to get you started, we’ve pulled together some of the best garden decking ideas out there.

Decking design ideas

First things first, if you’re hoping to add fresh decking to your garden, you’ll have a lot of choices to make – from the material of the decking to its size and layout. Here are a few ideas to start you off.

1. Choose low-maintenance decking for a low-maintenance garden

composite decking ideas

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when you’re installing decking is which material to choose. Not only will this vastly impact your garden decking costs. It will also affect its longevity, aesthetics and perhaps most importantly, how much time you have to spend maintaining it!

Investing in a low-maintenance garden decking material is a great shout for busy homeowners who want long-lasting decking without having to spend hours painting, staining and resealing it every year. Composite decking is a good option that’s especially suited to high-traffic areas.

2. Experiment with decking configurations

decking configuration ideas

Most homeowners opt to lay their decking in a uniform horizontal or vertical configuration. But there are countless variations as to how you can lay out your decking boards – from diagonal to zig-zag and more.

The decking in this image features vertical and horizontal deck tiles that have been laid out in an unusual chequerboard configuration. It’s an eye-catching look that levels up this cosy decking area.

3. Add a special touch with circular decking

circular garden decking

It’s no secret that most decking in the UK is square or rectangular in its shape. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.

By incorporating circular decking you can create a natural gathering place in your garden, perhaps centred around a table or fire pit. Circular decking often fits beautifully into the other curved features of a garden too, such as flower beds and walkways, and there’s no doubt that it will make your garden will stand out from the crowd.

4. Think about how it will look in relation to your house

garden decking ideas and house
Garden decking idea concept

When you’re getting decking installed, it’s important to consider how it will look in relation to your house itself – as well as other garden features such as fencing. Do you want your decking to blend in? Or do you want it to stand out?

For a consistent look, use your decking to echo design features in your home and garden. Here, the decking’s horizontal layout blends with the timber cladding on the property’s exterior, while its purplish tone ties in with the surrounding lavender. If you have large windows or bifold doors at the back of your home, you could even incorporate features that link to your interior design choices!

Raised decking ideas

Whether made from timber or composite materials, raised decking creates a regal aesthetic that acts as a focal point for your garden. If you want to take advantage of the views while relaxing outside, this type of decking is ideal.

It’s worth noting that raised decking is typically trickier to install than ground decking and usually requires the help of professional tradespeople to get it looking perfect. If you are new to DIY we recommend you call in the Checkatrade professionals.

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1. Reclaim a sloped garden

Decking ideas for a sloped garden

From a logistical point of view, raised decking is a great way to reclaim space in a sloped garden. So, if the uneven ground in your garden is putting you off building a deck, don’t lose hope just yet.

Your sloped garden is a fantastic invitation to work some visual magic and build decking with different levels. By doing this, you create the illusion of a bigger space and also define different zones in your garden – whether you want to use them for eating, entertaining, or chilling out under the stars.

2. Add steps to your raised decking

Completed raised decking

Adding garden steps to a raised decking area is a great opportunity to level up your garden (literally!). Steps can give a raised deck a real sense of destination, making it feel more inviting and sophisticated.

When it comes to adding steps, your choice will typically depend on how much space you have, the aesthetic you want to achieve and how you plan to use your deck. You could use steps to build a staggered patio area that stretches across the whole exterior of your house, or opt for a more contemporary feel by adding composite deck steps to the side of your raised decking. Complete the latter with panel lighting for a modern yet sophisticated look.

3. Consider balustrade decking ideas

Decking ideas - Raised

Frame your patio with decking balustrade or railing to create privacy. Decking plus rain can equal danger, so a balustrade will also be a welcome addition from a safety point of view (we’d also advise considering an anti-slip decking treatment, as well as attempting to keep rain off your deck using features such as a sail canopy).

With a range of styles to choose from, the railing you opt for will ultimately depend on the aesthetic you want to achieve as well as potential safety considerations. Composite spindle railings can add a touch of luxury to a contemporary garden deck that is raised from the ground.

Meanwhile, a smaller deck intended as a cosy reading nook may be more suited to privacy screens made with metal and sandblasted balustrade panels.

Cheap decking ideas

You don’t have to break the bank to build beautiful garden decking. With a few quick fixes, you can keep to a low budget and bring your decking area to life.

From potted plants and hanging planters to upcycled crates for creative patio storage, there are plenty of ways in which you can add character and comfort while keeping the costs to a minimum.

1. Add a colour scheme

garden decking ideas colour scheme

A splash of colour can go a long way in giving your patio personality. If you’re feeling bold, introducing bright and eye-catching contrasting colours can really turn a dull deck into the centrepiece of your garden. Alternatively, you could choose an accented neutral colour palette to complement wooden decking and furniture.

To give your decking the wow-factor without spending an arm and a leg, consider buying a stencil and using some decking paint to create a playful pattern. Remember to keep to a set colour palette to ensure the overall look is consistent – our decking colour ideas have got you covered here!

2. Add flowers and foliage

cheap garden decking ideas

For a low-cost way to add character, frame a raised deck with potted plants, as well as a flower bed blooming with colour.

We recommend sedum, as these flowers are rich in colour and easy-going in nature, but you might opt for more of a pastel feel with lavender, rosemary and sage. Coralbells are also a brilliant choice of decking foliage as they bring bright colours with low maintenance.

3. Recycle old furniture

Decking ideas - Small garden

If you’ve recently upgraded a room in your house and are pondering the costs of furniture disposal, consider instead how your unused furniture could work outside.

With a little bit of love (and a dash of creativity), an old chest of drawers could become a potting station while an upcycled shoe rack can make for the perfect place to display a budding herb garden.

4. Have fun with styling

garden decking styling ideas

When it comes to transforming your garden decking, styling can go a long way.

Use outdoor rugs to create a cosy, layered look that makes your outside space feel like another room of the home. Outdoor lighting such as festoon lights and tea lights are a must, along with plenty of cushions and blankets. It’s the perfect entertaining space on a shoestring budget!

Decking ideas for large gardens

If you’re fortunate enough to have a large garden space, why not take advantage of it to build a luxury decking area? If your budget allows, the potential is vast. From creative water features and swimming pools to adventure playgrounds, large gardens offer space for the imagination to run wild.

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1. Go low with a sunken decking space

sunken decking ideas

A lot of homeowners will simply add decking on top of the existing level of their garden. But in large gardens, digging down to create sunken decking can create a striking feature.

Building a sunken deck not only creates a perfect area for entertaining, it also means the view of your garden will remain completely unobstructed – so you can enjoy the full beauty of the rest of your garden space.

2. Create a glamorous swimming pool deck

Decking ideas for large gardens - swimming pool

With warmer summers in the UK, swimming pools are becoming increasingly popular features in large gardens.

And a swimming pool area wouldn’t be complete without slick pool decking surrounding it. It’ll give you the ideal space to add sun loungers and other garden furniture to enjoy poolside vibes.

3. Build the ultimate entertainment decking

Decking ideas - Large garden

If you have the luxury of having a large garden, you can install decking and create the ultimate entertainment space. Think built-in seating areas on different levels, a fire pit, a barbecue area, mood lighting, and any other features that you need to create your own personal entertainment haven.

This garden has been transformed into that summer resort you’ve been fantasising about. The expansive decking areas lend themselves perfectly to sun loungers, outdoor sofas and sheltered areas. Depending on your set up, you could even choose to build your decking around an in-ground hot tub – dry off under a covered pergola complete with sophisticated dining furniture for the full holiday experience all summer long.

4. Cover your decking with a pergola

pergola on garden decking

If you have the luxury of a big garden, you won’t need the whole thing for sunbathing. Instead, why not build a pergola over your decking to create some shade?

We love this louvred pergola roof, which acts a bit like your own personal sundial. Simply adjust the angle of the louvres to control how much sun or shade hits your deck!

Decking ideas for small gardens

Just because you’re limited in size, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the space you have. Make your decking area work for you by opting for creative storage solutions and simple touches to add character.

Even a small dining area can be brought to life with stylish design: think potted plants, matching cushions, sail shades, solar lighting and ladder shelving for a start.

1. Make it multi-purpose

multi-purpose garden decking ideas

If you’re short on space in your garden, the key to great decking is to make it have multiple functions. For example, you could incorporate garden furniture that doubles up as storage.

Your decking area can be a charming hub for relaxation by adding storage benches where you can keep picnic blankets, throws, cushions and dining sets to free up some space indoors. Plus, it’s a great spot for keeping those cushions clean and dry in the winter!

2. Less is more

small decking less is more

As with many things in life, less can certainly be more when it comes to small decking areas. Don’t over-clutter your decking with too many items, and stick to straight lines for your decking to elongate the space.

This small deck boasts three characterful wooden deck chairs – it’s all the decoration that’s needed as the stunning scenery surrounding them takes centrestage.

3. Embrace indoor-outdoor living

small garden decking ideas

One clever way to create the feeling of more space is to create a deck that flows seamlessly from the inside of your home. By teaming your decking with bifold doors off your kitchen or living space, for example, you can turn an indoor room and your garden into a single, larger space to enjoy.

This decking concept has levelled the outdoor decking area with the internal floor, serving to blend the boundary between indoors and outdoors.

Ideas for how to use your decking

Giving your decking a set purpose can be a great starting point for thinking about how to kit it out. Plus, it will allow you to use your decking to solve a wish or need you have for your home and garden – making it all the more valuable!

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1. Build an outdoor bar

garden decking ideas with bar

If you’ve got the space, don’t hesitate to make the most of it. One raised decking idea that we love is to turn it into a fully-functioning garden bar, complete with barstools, parasols and patio heaters.

To save on costs, you can even get creative by upcycling wooden crates and palettes into display cases for bottles. Custom signage and bunting can help to bring the design of your outdoor bar together.

2. Create the perfect play area

playground decking ideas

If you want to take advantage of your outdoor space to create an area for children’s activities, a custom-built composite deck could be it. Multi-leveled decking can make for the perfect foundation to build a play shed with a slide leading down to the ground level.

The list goes on: from basketball hoops and climbing walls to garden swings and tipis for camping outside in the summer, custom decking can open a world of possibilities for children’s play. Just make sure any hazardous areas are dealt with before they run wild!

3. Create a gathering space around a fire pit

fire pit garden decking ideas

If you want to use your decking as a space to gather your nearest and dearest together, why not go the whole hog and plan it around a warming fire pit?

It’ll be the perfect focal point during summer parties, and the ideal spot for toasting marshmallows and snuggling beneath blankets all year round. Just make sure to build your fire pit in a spot clear of trees and other overhanging structures, for everyone’s safety.

4. Create an outdoor kitchen

outdoor kitchen decking area

Decking is the perfect base for an outdoor kitchen – it’s easy to clean and durable enough that it won’t be damaged if you make a mistake like dropping a plate.

Here, the homeowner has opted to give their outdoor cooking area its own raised decking. Not only does it differentiate this zone from the rest of the garden, but it’s also reminiscent of the wooden flooring you might find in an indoor kitchen. In this way, it’s perfect for contributing to that indoor/outdoor effect.

Theme ideas for your decking decor

When it comes to decorating your decking, it helps to come up with a theme that can tie all the elements together. Would you like your decking to be ultra-modern? Quaint and rustic? Calm and peaceful?

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking.

1. Build an ultra-modern deck

garden decking

Enhance the visual appeal of your garden decking by breaking up large areas of wooden slats with stone paving. The contrast in light and dark colours makes a standard raised deck a focal point in any large garden and opens the door to new design possibilities.

For example, the stone paving could be the perfect place to install a garden fire pit, with the raised wooden decking surrounding this area for seating. Architectural beds in the middle of a wooden or composite deck can also help to inject some greenery.

2. Add mood lighting

garden decking ideas with lighting

Ambient lighting can make any decking more appealing. Fairy lights are a small investment with a big impact, while paper lanterns can be made by hand to create a romantic warming glow.

For a more contemporary look, try exterior lights such as solar lights or LED light panels to make a statement. Clever under-lighting can illuminate your decking in the evening, allowing you to extend your evenings outside as the sun sets.

3. Get creative with water features

Water feature with ceramic fountain

A large ground-level decking area is an opportunity for creativity: why not take advantage of the space to build an eye-catching water feature?

The options are many – a modern fountain with rectangular steps and stones is the perfect addition to a contemporary patio, while a garden pond filled with life can work well as a creative edge for your decking.

Garden decking ideas key takeaways

  • You don’t have to have a big garden or a large budget to make an impact with your garden decking.
  • Find a clear purpose for your decking, and then furnish and decorate it with that in mind.
  • Think about how your garden decking connects to your home, and consider whether you want it to blend in or create a primary focal point in your garden.

Ready to bring your garden decking ideas to life? Simply find a trusted landscape gardener to get the ball rolling.

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