Garden decking ideas and designs for plots both large and small

Explore our beautiful garden decking ideas to inspire your next garden project
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  • If you’re looking to carve out a zone for al-fresco dining, a well-designed and covered decking space or roof terrace can offer an all-year-round option. Taking your living space into the outdoors is very on-trend right now, so statement garden furniture coupled with cushions and throws will make the outside as comfortable and personalised as indoors.

    There’s a wealth of garden decking options to suit your lifestyle, budget and taste. You could opt for attractive wood, create imaginative patterns or go environmentally friendly with plastic- and wood-waste blends. Slip-resistant finishes are vital with our often-damp British weather, too.

    Love spending time outdoors? See all of our garden ideas

    Think about the lines of your garden, the amount of space you’ll need to make decking a truly useful addition to your garden and how you’re going to lay it. Don’t forget to complete the effect with dramatic garden lighting ideas for the perfect decked garden that will work well into the evening.

    Read on for more fabulous garden decking ideas.

    Garden decking ideas

    1. Add a decking area to a garden room

    garden room with decking area

    Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies

    Create a dedicated outdoor area for a garden room by laying a decking area beyond the retracting doors. The frontage provides a space to sit outside, making it an extensive of the extra living space. Frame the compact decking area with simple yet thoughtful planted borders, that separate the decking and the structure from the remaining garden.

    2. Carve out a cooking area with raised decking

    outdoor kitchen area

    Image credit: David Giles

    Give an outdoor cooking area it’s own raised decking, to add a signify a dedicated outdoor kitchen zone. The use of wooden flooring helps to give the add an indoor style element. Also from a practical point of view a wooden decking can be easily washed down and is less likely to be damaged as a result of kitchen accidents with dropped plates and more.

    3. Echo the aesthetics of a modern extension

    rear house extension with glass and wood design

    Image credit: Nick Huggins

    More than purely practical, decking can decoratively echo designs that feature throughout the decor. This 1930’s detached house features a modern extension on the rear with a statement glass wall, patio doors and wooden cladding. Beyond that we can see how the wooden touches are echoed in the interior decor too, with a wooden feature wall and surfaces throughout the kitchen.

    4. Raise the levels to meet the floor plan

    garden decking idea

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Raise a decking area immediately off the indoor living space creates an easy flow from indoors to outside. A great idea for a decking area being used for entertainment, making it a safer journey from one zone to another. The perimeter is the better place to stagger steps down onto a lawn area.

    5. Co-ordinate in a small space

    Image credit: Future PLC

    In a small courtyard or balcony-style outdoor space it’s best to keep the look uniformed to avoid overwhelming the space with different colours and textures. Choose a matching decking stain and fencing. While the planks don’t have to be the same in terms of finsih, the uniformed colour alone will be enough to create a seamless flow in the design.

    6. Create a rustic look with weathered decking

    garden decking ideas 2

    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    The dark weathered decking adds to the rustic appeal of this garden. Re-create a similar look by choosing a material that will weather well and surrounding the raised decking with perennials. If you have the space, consider building in a shallow pond below the decking for a truly striking garden.

    7. Build-in an easy care succulent garden

    Garden decking ideas 3

    Image credit: Jamie Mason

    Keep your decking looking fresh and modern by swapping a cluster of plant pots on the decking for a built-in succulent patch. Not only will it make a striking centre-piece to your garden, but they are also incredibly easy to look after. Aslong as they are planted into a light weight succulent soil mix, all they will need is a little watering during the hotter months.

    8. Cover your decking with a glazed pergola


    Image credit: Polly Eltes

    A glazed pergola on the deck provides an alfresco entertaining area that can be used whatever the weather – we find spaces like this especially inviting in the rain, when you can hear the soothing sound of rain drops hitting the glass. Train pot-friendly climbers like honeysuckle and magnolia to cover the uprights for heady fragrance.

    9. Make your decking weatherproof with an anti-slip treatment


    Image credit: Cuprinol

    Decking plus rain can equal danger, so it’s wise to treat yours with an anti-slip decking stain. A sail canopy will also keep the rain off your wood.

    Buy now: Cuprinol anti-slip decking stain in Urban Slate, £25, B&Q

    10. Lay a boardwalk

    Use decking to create a pathway through your garden – perhaps to a more solid decked area. This boardwalk-style route is given even more of a seaside feel with white pebbles, which help to keep weeds at bay.

    11. Build a decked bar area


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    This tiki bar is the star of the show in this garden, taking pride of place on a raised decked platform. It’s a good idea to lay a rug under bar stools so there’s a grippy surface to step onto after a couple of cocktails!

    12. Try a darker woodstain on your decking boards


    Image request: Cuprinol

    Decking is often quite pale or in warm natural woody shades, so this will lend a more unusual, contemporary look to your terrace. Dark, muted decking also allows the vibrant surroundings to steal the show – so if you want people to focus on the lushness of your garden, it’s the way to go.

    13. Level uneven ground

    Garden decking on split levels

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    Decking is absolutely ideal if your garden is uneven or on a slope. It’s great for levelling out awkward spaces, as it’s built on a structure. It can also have split levels and include steps. A little shelter has been built at the far end, which means that the great outdoors can be enjoyed even on the more drizzly of days.

    14. Be bold with colour

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Give a small decking area some special treatment. Block-coloured brights in various complementary hues are sure to make an impact. If you have wooden furniture you’re thinking of getting rid of, a coat of paint will give it a new look and repurpose it for the garden. Do make sure to choose a weather-resistant finish, though.

    15. Mix decking with flagstones

    Architectural garden with mixed decking

    Image credit: Annaick Guitteny

    Get an ultra-modern look for your garden by mixing wooden decking with stone paving. The combination of materials provides interest and a contrast between the light and dark colours. Without the lightening effect of the stone, the wood decking would look quite heavy in such a large garden. Architectural beds in the middle inject some greenery.

    Want more garden design ideas? READ: Small garden ideas to make the most of a tiny space

    16. Aim high

    Chalet balcony with wood deck

    Image credit: Mark Luscombe-Whyte

    This beautiful mountain chalet enjoys gorgeous views even when the cloud has descended. Decking is great for all kinds of outdoor spaces, from gardens to roof terraces, as it can be built off the ground. One colour of wood has been used here to tone with the all-timber chalet. Raised beds add uplifting flashes of greenery.

    17. Border decking with decked seating

    garden decking ideas

    Image credit: Richard Powers

    This urban rooftop has a lot of great design elements to it, from the pale-coloured decking to the carved Buddha-style statues. A 19th-century advertisement on the wall adds character to the space, too. Raised flower beds have been cleverly designed to include beautiful greenery, while providing seating at the same time.

    18. Section off your decking with railings

    garden decking ideas

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    If you’re using decking to section off a corner of the garden, adding railings will help. For a truly indoor-meets-outdoor approach, include a water-resistant rattan sofa and plenty of comfy cushions in a patchwork of bright patterns. There is a lot of vivid colour to be found in nature, so they won’t look out of place against the vibrant greens of surrounding trees.

    19. Make it flow from indoor to out

    Garden decking ideas

    Image credit: David Hiscock

    Make your garden decking an extension of your home. Decking can be easily levelled with your internal floor so that the boundaries between inside and outside are almost blurred. A trellis overhead adds some cover and shade, and plants can be trained up and over it to add interest. Outdoor kitchen cupboards make preparing outdoor meals a cinch.

    20. Paint raised beds white in contrast

    Garden decking ideas

    Image credit: Jake Curtis

    Plant raised flower beds to add interest to the centre of your decking. It avoids having a large area of open decking and also elevates the plants so that everything isn’t at ground level. The beds here have been painted white, which adds a striking contrast with the dark wood and the greenery. Choose plants with interesting shapes to create an architectural look.

    21. Build matching floating stairs

    garden decking ideas

    Image credit: Jody Stewart

    Soften the hard edges of your decking with an abundance of pretty flowers and herbs that creep right up to the door. Floating steps made out of the same material as the decking create continuity between the two levels and add a note of fun by bridging the water feature below.

    Need to know – Decking ideas

    Can I fit a deck myself?

    Yes, competent DIYers who are comfortable using power tools should be able to install a simple, ground-level deck. Having a second pair of hands is sensible if you plan to deck a large area.

    Where’s best to install decking?

    Think about access to the house, privacy, how much sun or shade you want, and if there are any existing posts or trees to work around. Mark out the site with pegs and string before you start.

    Where’s the easiest place to lay?

    You need a flat, level surface, so laying it onto an existing patio or concrete base is the most straightforward way. to build a deck into earth or grass, dig out to a depth of 5cm and cover with weed-suppressing fabric and gravel. Paving slabs are then laid on top to support the deck’s framework and prevent rot.

    How do I lay decking is my garden isn’t level?

    You’ll need to elevate the deck. This is a more complex job involving squaring off the site and concreting joist support posts into the ground before building the frame. a raised deck should have safety balustrades and, if it’s adjoining a structure or building, will need to be attached securely.

    How do you lay deck boards?

    Once the sub-frame is in place, boards are laid on top, horizontally at right angles to the joists, and fixed with screw. A gap between each board means they can expand and contract, and allows rainwater to drain. Leave a new deck to weather for about six months before staining or oiling.

    How do I stop my decking from becoming slippery?

    Use non-slip boards such as Gripsure (at Homebase), or fit non-slip inserts (these can be retro-fitted) – see Make sure that water can drain (flat, rather than grooved boards are better in this respect) and treat with a topcoat to prevent mould and algae.

    How do I keep my decking clean?

    Remove all furniture and start by brushing all dirt and debris from the decking before washing it with decking cleaner and hosing down with water. ‘It’s worth investing in a pressure washer to ensure your decking stays looking new, year after year,’ advices Ginevra Benedetti, Ideal Home Associate Editor.

    More landscaping inspiration: Pretty patio ideas for every garden space

    Will you be using any of these garden decking ideas in your outdoor space?

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