Decking is one of the most popular choices of garden landscaping material. Not only is it a budget-friendly and low maintenance option, it’s also highly versatile and lends itself to being used in a variety of creative, functional and aesthetically appealing ways.
Due to its natural look and ability to be painted or varnished, it can work so well in a range of outdoor settings and designs. And, with the right tools and know-how, installing a deck is also a great DIY activity.
Many homeowners love the idea of integrating decking into their outdoor space, but often wonder how and where best to use decking to get the very best out of their garden.
There are a few common questions that often pop up:
Will the decking take up too much space?
How can I use decking to create a space that we can use all year round?
How can I include a deck area if I only have a small garden?
These are all completely valid questions. But the fact of the matter is that there really are so many different ways that decking can be used across gardens of all shapes, sizes and terrains.
As with all things garden landscaping, it’s all about working with the space you have whilst including core design features and functional spaces that work with your own lifestyle, tastes and preferences.
If you’re looking for a touch of inspiration for an upcoming gardening or landscaping project and wondering how decking could work in your garden, take a look at a few of these simple, yet highly effective ideas.
The first important thing to mention is that you don’t always need to create a large decked area, or section off your garden to include decking within your landscape design.
Whilst some gardens are relatively flat, there are many homeowners whose gardens are split across multiple levels, or are sloped, and require steps to link together different sections of terrain.
Decking steps are a brilliant, cost-effective alternative to bricks or concrete paving. They are easy to install, as the timber decking boards can be cut down to the appropriate size. You also can include timber handrails that aesthetically match your steps.
Anti-slip strips can be fitted for additional stability underfoot, and if you’re feeling really creative, lights embedded into the decking steps are a great way to add texture and better visibility across your garden.
Add your own personal touch
And, of course, as with all decking products, the timber can be painted or stained, giving you more room to personalise and add your own sparkle to what may previously be considered just a functional aspect of your garden.
When we think of creative pathways in the garden, decking may not be the first choice of material that springs to mind.
But actually, decking is a fantastic pathway material, and there are a few reasons why:
When you create a pathway using a decked structure, you’ve got complete control over how high off the ground level you create your deck.
You’ll have the opportunity to add further depth and texture to your garden by creating a raised decking pathway, kind of like your own bridge or boardwalk through the garden.
It could be ever so slightly raised to create a subtle height difference, or higher off the ground, with a rail around the edge for added safety.
If you’re feeling extra creative, you could create a decking bridge to integrate a pathway over a pond or water feature. This adds a whole different dynamic to the garden, at a relatively small expense.
Alternatively, if you’re opting for something more linear you can install your deck to run flush to surrounding grass, flower beds and other garden landscaping features.
This type of pathway can be a superb way of creating better, more stable underfoot access, and is an ideal choice for family members and guests using wheelchairs, mobility scooters or pushchairs.
With decking pathways, you can also create ramps with supportive balustrades.
Decking pathways also help to offer balance and connection through different zones of the garden.
Just like with the steps, they can be customised with lighting, so that your decking pathway looks equally as stunning by night as it does by day.
We’ve talked about it before, but we’ll say it again; decking can be a fantastic way to break your garden up into different zones.
Zoning involves creating separate, functional areas within your garden, to give it a bigger and more versatile feel.
If you’re someone who loves spending time outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, reading a good book or newspaper with a mug of tea or a tipple of your choice in hand, a comfortable and relaxing outside space is a must.
Because decking helps to create the ‘zoned’ feel, it’s the perfect under-foot choice for designing the ultimate cosy corner.
It’s a material that offers an inviting look and feel, whilst working to mutually complement wooden or rattan outdoor furniture and soft furnishings including blankets, throws and even outdoor rugs.
By using decking, you really do have a blank canvas to work with. You could paint the deck – maybe in a tranquil white, a modern grey, something bold and bright or even stain the timber to create a completely natural-looking space.
From here, you’ll be able to customize your cosy corner to your exact tastes and preferences. You can also use spare or extra decking to create bench seating with a liftable lid for quick, easy and space-saving storage of all of your favourite cushions and throws.
The outside-in look is a growing garden trend that sees soft furnishings, bright colours and patterns and indoor comforts, such as vases, foot stalls, clocks and even coffee tables, being brought outdoors to create a natural, yet homely feel. Why not give it a go?
It doesn’t have to be an overly large area of space – the whole idea of a cosy corner is to create your own outdoor hideaway – but decking enables you to create a purposeful space on a relatively inexpensive budget.
For all you sun worshipers out there, we know that when the weather warms up and the sun breaks through the clouds, you want nothing more than to get your shorts on and get straight out in the garden to soak up your daily dose of vitamin D.
The relaxation of putting your feet up and feeling the summer sunshine on your skin is absolute bliss. You might just start to imagine yourself on a sunny beach somewhere tropical.
Whilst we can’t fully recreate the feels of being in the Caribbean, we can all but try by creating a garden sundeck. The garden sundeck is ideal for anyone who loves summertime relaxation in their garden.
It’s a simple, yet highly effective addition to any garden. Decking quite often gives off those beachy, boardwalk or marina vibes, making it the ideal material for a garden sundeck.
If you want to go all out and create the ultimate holiday feel on those warm days, plant the classic palm trees, aloe vera plants and opt for a tropical variety of decking, such as Yellow Balau decking.
Its warm appearance and smooth feel underfoot makes it the perfect choice for your garden sundeck.
Got a spare section of the garden that you don’t know what to do with or simply have a smaller garden with less spare space to work with? Let us introduce you to the dinky deck.
You don’t necessarily need to create a large decked area to incorporate decking in your garden.
The dinky deck is a superb way of featuring a deck within your garden, without taking up too much space.
You may be wondering what’s the point of having a small area of the deck. Well, it all comes down to texture and zoning to enhance your space.
The dinky deck creates the perfect spot for a small table and chair set, benches, special ornaments and features and even plant pot arrangements and bird feeders. A small space really can come into its own with some help from a little decking.
Are you the friends or family members that always host get-togethers, parties and BBQs?
If so, you’ll know just how much your garden gets used during the summer months, especially on those warmer evenings.
When inviting people into your home for such gatherings, you need an amicable space where you and your guests can chat, eat, drink and, even dance, comfortably, whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
For those late afternoon BBQs, family games nights or cocktail parties in the summer, a purpose-built entertainment area is the ideal addition to any host’s garden.
Decking offers the extra feel of added luxury, without the luxury price tag. It’s a great way to create a distinctive, visually stunning zone and the perfect atmosphere for entertaining, whilst being a low maintenance option underfoot that can be used all year round.
Just as with the cosy corner, by starting with the decking, you’ve got an open space free to customise to your tastes and preferences.
Add a dining table or sofa to create a comfortable seating area, and for when the sun goes down, festoon lighting and fairy lights are a great way to create a chilled-out ambience.
You could also incorporate a patio heater, or even a sunken fire pit (just make sure you surround the pit with non-flammable materials, creating a boundary between deck and fire), for those chilly evenings and winter get-togethers.
And if you want a spot of shade, you could opt for a large parasol, or for a more permanent and natural-looking feature, a timber pergola intertwined with climbing plants such as Wisteria or Clematis is a superb way of creating a show-stopping centrepiece in your garden.
The best thing about creating your own entertainment deck is that once you’ve taken your entertaining hat off, this outdoor space can also be used for a variety of purposes.
Whether it’s summertime alfresco dining, working outdoors in the summer, or simply just a spot for relaxation, it’s your space to love and use as you please.
Another garden trend that is set to continue is the garden hot tub.
2 years of restrictions and uncertainty around travel, lockdowns and self-isolation has meant that we’ve been unable to travel abroad, go on holiday or squeeze in the occasional spa day like we did pre-pandemic, so many of us have conjured up our own holiday vibes in our gardens.
The first lockdown sparked a huge wave in the number of people buying paddling pools, and hot tubs. Most people either know someone or is someone who is the owner of a garden hot tub or Lazy Spa.
And why not? A hot tub is a great way of creating your own spot of relaxation and tranquillity in your own back garden.
Just had a long day at work? Jump in the hot tub.
Looking for a cheap date night in with your partner? Grab a pizza and chill out in the hot tub.
Want to get stuck into a good book whilst soaking up some vitamin D? In the hot tub, you go.
They are great additions to the garden that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
But to get the very best out of your hot tub, and truly relax into the bubbly bliss, your garden has to reflect the mood that you’re going for.
Decking is a superb way of giving the hot tub its own purposeful space, whilst creating a mud and slip-free surface underfoot for when getting in and out of the tub.
No one wants to get out onto a hot patio floor, or muddy puddle on the grass; decking offers the ideal surface underfoot.
Either build the decking around your hot tub, or create a reinforced deck, and put the hot tub on top of the decking.
Because the decking is likely to be exposed to rather a lot of chlorinated water, opt for a hardwood decking for a longer-lasting structure.
You can add lights, steps, balustrades as well as plants and flowers to give your deck the ultimate holiday look.
Summer houses can be used for a wide variety of purposes. From chillout and games rooms, to home offices, garden bars and creative studios, they are a superb way to create extra indoor space, without the costs associated with building an extension or conservatory.
We often spend a lot of time and attention on getting the inside of our summer house right – whether that be painting and decorating, choosing furniture or adding heating and electricity.
But it’s also important to think about how your summer house looks from the outside, and how it blends seamlessly with the rest of your garden.
Decking is a great way of giving your summer house the cosy log cabin feel, whilst creating a balance between your garden and the summer house itself.
Decking is available in a range of timber finishes, and can also be painted and stained, so you can find something that complements your summer house.
Add potted plants, built-in lighting and even a bench or table and chair set to finish the look.