10 decking edging ideas to create a decorative border

How to give your decking a premium finished look

Decking area with built in corner sofa
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Decking is oh-so-popular, but what sometimes stumps people is finding decking edging ideas. While often the focus is on the size and type of decking, think about how to edge your decking too, coming up with creative deck edging ideas to make the space both functional and stylish. 

When it comes to landscaping, garden decking ideas not only create a stylish platform, they're also good for tackling an uneven or sloping plot. By installing decking you can make the most of the space, creating the perfect area for outdoor dining or lounging. 

'Decking is a popular outdoor feature for a lot of modern homes,' explains John Dempsey, garden expert from review site Housetastic.co.uk. 'It can enhance both the look and the functionality of your garden or patio, by creating dimension with separate zones.'

'To make the most of your decking, there are a wide variety of options to choose from, such as, edging, fencing and rails, and garden greenery.' 

Decking edging ideas

To make your next project easier, we've spoken to the garden experts and used our years of expertise in the field of design both indoors and out. Using these, we've sourced the best garden decking edging ideas to help turn your garden into a stylish outdoor space. 

1. Install a handrail around the edge

Exterior of house with raised decking area

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Although a key safety feature if your decking is high off the ground, a handrail can also be a stylish decking rail idea to finish off the space.

 'Edging your decking with a rail has many benefits,' says Dr Aidan Bell, founder of sustainable construction brand Envirobuild. 'It improves the safety of your deck and prevents any falls, creates a defined and polished look while offering a place to hang lights, ornaments of plants.' 

It's a good idea to choose a design that doesn't block your views of the garden. 'Adding glass to your rail is a great way to add a subtle boundary and improve safety without compromising on your aesthetic. It can create the illusion of space and allow you better enjoy the view from your decking area.'  

2. Create a bed of succulents

Succulents in stones inset into decking edging

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason)

If you have awkward gaps or spaces, using small border filled with succulents for your decking edging ideas is an easy way to disguise the space. 

Not only that, but succulents don't need a lot of water so are easy to look after, just surround them with gravel or slate chippings to help with drainage. Alternatively, create a small herb garden, with fragrant varieties like rosemary and thyme – handy for cooking if it's by your back door. 

3. Build in seating with handy storage

Decking area with built in corner sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

Adding built-in seating is another of the decking edging ideas that helps to utilise every inch of space. 'If you’re adding built-in seating around the edge of your decking, why not build in some useful storage and combine it with planters or even a small bar area?' suggests Fiona Jenkins, garden expert from Myjobquote.co.uk

Creating a storage area under the outdoor seating means you have a space to keep cushions, toys etc within easy reach, freeing up the garden shed for gardening kit. 

When building seating it's a good idea to use long-lasting materials. 'Make sure to choose materials that are easy to clean and maintain, and that can withstand the elements over time,' advises John from Housetastic.

4. Build around a fire pit

Decking area with built in fire pit

(Image credit: Future PLC)

 For a modern feel, break up a large expanse of decking by including a sunken area for a firepit to help stay warm on cooler nights. For safety, make sure the firepit is well away from the edges and sit it within gravel to prevent the risk of fire and never leave a fire unattended. 

Add deck lighting to the edges to highlight decorative features or plants, and to make using the area at night easier. 

5. Use a combination or materials

Exterior of house with glass and steel doors leading onto glass and wood decking area

(Image credit: Future PLC/Siobhan Doran)

 When building a decked area, soften the look by adding a section of paving. Using different textures together can help prevent it from dominating the space. 

'Incorporating both paving and decking into your garden design is a fantastic way to add depth, dimension and texture,' advises Dr Aidan from Envirobuild.

'Both are great low maintenance options and complement each other perfectly.' You could choose a patterned tile and deck around it to help frame the design. 

6. Add a tranquil water feature

Garden water feature coming out from wooden raised beds

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

A water feature is another way to add interest to your decking edging ideas, while also giving your garden a relaxed tranquil feel. 

'Adding a water feature to decking can be a great way to enhance the overall look and feel of your outdoor space,' explains Dr Aidan from Envirobuild. 'Water features help to create a tranquil and relaxing space for you to enjoy and attract wildlife into your garden.' 

If incorporating a pond or water feature within your decking, choosing a composite material is advised. 'When choosing what decking to pair with a water feature, composite deckings' water resistant qualities make it a great choice and the non-slip properties help make it family-friendly for any spills or leaks.'

7. Pair decking with a pergola

Black decking area covered with pergola

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

For a modern, relaxed take on decking edging ideas, adding a pergola makes a stylish feature.

'If you haven’t got a deck yet, the easiest solution is to buy a decking kit that includes a pergola and handrails,' explains Fiona from MyJobQuote. 'Pergolas are a good way of creating a secluded area for relaxing or socialising.' 

A pergola also can help to create more privacy on your decking.  'A pergola can add shade and privacy to your decking while also creating a visual focal point within your garden,' advises John from Housetastic. 

'You can use climbing plants like wisteria or clematis to grow up and around the pergola, creating a natural green screen, offering privacy from neighbours.' 

8. Add decorative fencing with hooks and shelves

Outdoor bath on decking area

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Run some decorative fencing panels alongside the edge of your decking and add a few small shelves and hooks so you can display decorative pieces for a subtle feature wall. 

Think about what you use the space for and add items accordingly to make these decking edging ideas work harder. For example, a hot tub decking area would benefit from space for towels and perhaps a bar shelf.

Pop a few trailing plants on the shelves and hang a mirror to make the space feel bigger by reflecting images of the garden. 

9. Make a relaxing hangout

Hanging chair on porch

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

If your decking gives you the best views of the garden, add a few support posts and beams and suspend a hanging chair for a relaxing space to sit and read or unwind with a G&T. 

Wrap some string lights or hang some festoon lights around the area so you can still enjoy the space come night time. A few lanterns at ground level will add to the atmosphere too.

10. Used raised beds for a tropical border

Brightly coloured seats in front of raised beds

(Image credit: Future PLC)

To prevent decking edging ideas from feeling cumbersome, lining the area with raised beds and planting helps to soften the look and blend the decking into the garden. 

'For edging a deck I think you want loose, billowy, soft plants to counter the rectangularity and straight lines of a deck and create some movement and curves,' explains garden expert Sarah Raven.

'My favourite plants for that are Stipa gigantea, the tall and elegant golden oats grass which (as an evergreen) has a presence all year and looks so good from May until November once the flower spikes erupt. If you want something shorter, go for Stipa tenuissima which will give the same effect, but at half the size.'

'And then last but not least, I love a whole line of Gaura ’The Bride’ which survives the winter here happily and is pretty, billowy and cloud-like, so ideal for just this role. It’s drought-resistant too and hugely long-flowering.' 

What can I edge my decking with?

Getting creative with leftover materials is an interesting way to approach decking edging ideas. 'Most decking projects leave you with leftover boards and these are ripe for making raised planters around the edge of the deck,' says Fiona from Myjobquote.co.uk.

'Alternatively, try decorative screening panels which throw lovely patterns onto your deck when the sun shines through it. If you want something unintrusive, recessed lighting is a good idea for edging decking. It increases safety and usability but also makes your deck more of a feature.'

An alternative way is using contrasting materials or colours for edging. 'You may consider using the same decking materials but in a contrasting colour,' Trex landscaper Karl Harrison

'You may find that the more adventurous of designers choose a different material altogether. This may be gravel, metal sheeting or a laser cut aluminium panel in a colour that works with the decking.' 

What do you put between a deck and grass?

Different materials like gravel help to divide up the space between the decking and a grassed area. 'Decorative stones not only make a great border between a deck and grass but also help keep the weeds in check,' advises Fiona from MyJobQuote. This can help to make maintaining a tidy look easier. 

Amy Hodge

Amy Hodge has been working on interiors magazines for over 11 years. She's a freelance writer and sub editor who has worked for some of the UK's leading interiors magazines including Ideal Home, Style at Home and Country Homes & Interiors. She started at Style at Home just after it launched as food editor and is now chief sub editor for Ideal Home, Style at Home and Country Homes & Interiors.