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Garden decking ideas – wooden and composite designs for plots of all sizes

Explore our beautiful garden decking ideas to inspire your own garden project

There’s a wealth of garden decking ideas to suit all lifestyles, budgets and tastes. 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 to improve your garden idea.

Garden decking ideas

Think about the lines of your garden landscaping, 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.

Garden decking is quick and relatively cheap to install, if garden landscaping costs are on your mind. The ground beneath doesn’t require levelling, so you can cover an uneven surface, or even an existing terrace. It’s warm underfoot and good for roof gardens.

Wooden decking needs regular oiling to maintain its colour and be aware that cheaper woods tend to warp and move over time. Consider spending a bit more of your budget, to prevent having to spend more further down the line.

Alternatively consider composite garden decking – made from resin and reclaimed wood fibres it doesn’t need to be stained or sealed. ‘It’s fine in shady areas as algae can’t grow on it, and it’s UV stable so won’t change colour,’ says Katrina Wells of Earth Designs.

Read on for more fabulous garden decking ideas.

1. Zone dedicated garden areas

Image credit: Future PLC/ Alisdair Mcintosh

Zoning our outdoor spaces is a popular way to make a garden reflect how we live indoors, an outdoor living room idea of sorts. Using two different flooring choices helps the give the garden a sense of purpose, a clear indication of a different zones.

A dedicated dining area benefits from an easy clean decking, a play area lends itself to be on a lawn to cushion play and a relaxation zone complete with fire pit is most suitably finished with paving slabs.

2. Add a decking area to a garden room

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

Don’t forget to complete the effect with dramatic garden lighting ideas for the perfect decked garden that will work well into the evening.

3. Carve out a cooking area with raised decking

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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 add an indoor style element to an outdoor kitchen idea. 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.

4. Echo the aesthetics of a modern extension

Image credit: Future PLC/ Nick Huggins

More than purely practical, decking can decoratively echo designs that feature throughout the decor. This 1930’s detached house features a modern kitchen extension idea on the rear with a statement glass wall, sliding 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.

5. Raise the levels to meet the floor plan

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

6. Co-ordinate in a small space

Image credit: Future PLC

When planning grassless garden ideas, like a small courtyard or balcony garden idea, it’s best to keep the look uniform 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 finish, the uniformed colour alone will be enough to create a seamless flow in the design.

7. Stage an area dedicated to entertaining

Image credit: Forest Garden

Chose a hearty composite decking to provide a protective area on top of a patio, perfect for entertaining and garden party ideas. Forest Garden’s Ecodek Heritage composite deck kit provide san instant, stylish area that is quick and easy to build. ‘Made of a wood & plastic composite, it’s designed to have the look and feel of natural timber with the additional benefits of a material that will not stain, warp, split or flake, has minimal fade and is easy to maintain.’

Practical and pretty, the grey finish is idea for styling your outdoor area to perfection – matching the colour with bistro dining tables, soft furnishings and accessories.

8. Build-in an easy care succulent garden

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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. As long as they are planted into a light weight succulent soil mix, all they will need is a little watering during the hotter months.

9. Cover your decking with a glazed pergola

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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 easy climbing plant ideas like honeysuckle and magnolia to cover the uprights for heady fragrance.

A well-designed decking space or roof terrace can offer an all-year-round option. Taking your living space into the outdoors is a hot trend right now, so statement garden furniture coupled with cushions and throws will make the outside as comfortable and personalised as indoors.

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

Image credit: Cuprinol

Decking plus rain can equal danger, so it’s wise to treat your decking with an anti-slip stain. A sail canopy will also keep the rain off, to further limit the slippy potential of the surface.

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

11. Lay a boardwalk

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

12. Build a decked bar area

Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore

Enhance your garden bar idea with a stylish decking solution. This tiki bar is the star of the show in this garden, taking pride of place on a raised decked platform. Adding lighting as part of the decking set up feels to add ambience to an outdoor bar area. It’s also a good idea to lay a rug under bar stools so there’s a grippy surface to step onto after a couple of cocktails!

13. 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.

14. Level uneven ground

Image credit: Futre PLC/ Darren Chung

Decking is absolutely ideal if your garden is uneven or on a slope. It’s great for levelling out awkward spaces or sloping gardens, 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.

15. Be bold with colour

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

A hit of bold colour is great way to enhance small garden ideas, to make more of a statement with a tiny space.

16. Mix decking among flagstones

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

17. Section off your decking with railings

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

18. Make flooring flow from indoor to out

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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 idea 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.

19. Paint raised beds white in contrast

Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

20. Build matching floating stairs

Image credit: Future PLC/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.

21. Using decking to reinforce an incline

Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

Decking provides a sturdy flooring solution for a sloping garden idea. Level off the different areas and use a supportive floor option to give the space structure. This hillside garden benefits from an even wooden floor framed by wooden balustrades to enclose the slope safely.

22. Create a rustic look with weathered decking

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.

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, whether you want to add any garden shade ideas like a pergola, 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.

image credit: Cuprinol

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 gripdeck.co.uk. 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.

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