10 clever decking ideas for small gardens

Love the benefits of garden decking, but have a small outdoor space? These clever decking ideas show you how to incorporate it into even the tiniest of gardens

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Looking for decking design ideas for a small garden? These clever decking design solutions show that decking could be the answer you've been looking for to make your small garden stand out from the crowd. 

Read on for design inspiration, and tricks and tips for choosing the best decking material, colour, finish and layout to make your small outdoor space feel bigger and better.  

And, once you've finished reading, get more practical advice on designing the best garden deck.

1. Combine decking with a mini patio area

To add design interest and visually enhance your small outdoor space, combining decking with a paved area. This will create an illusion of a larger, zoned space.

This decked area created by Anna-Carin McNamara benefits from a neutral patio area and a huge mirror, which makes the garden look twice the size. 

Mill Hill Terrace project by Anna Carin Design

(Image: © Anna Carin Design)

2. Use vertical space

Just because your deck is small, that doesn't mean you can't make the most of floral displays on it. The trick is to use the walls. Here, on this balcony deck by @j_habite, the decking has been continued up the wall to provide hanging space for containers. The wrap-around approach makes for visual continuity, which makes the area feel bigger and more cohesive too. Clever.

3. Take every opportunity to create extra seating

Small garden spaces call for clever seating and storage solutions, so take note of any space that could be used for a custom-built seating area. 

We like the way that the decking material is used to create a streamlined, wrap-around seating area in this decked garden by Norsu Home

Norsu Home entertaining area

(Image: © Norsu Home)

4. Stain your deck a light colour

We all know that light colours indoors make a room feel larger, and the same works outdoors with a deck, so choosing a light-coloured decking paint or decking stain makes good sense.

In this small decked area, the light wood of the deck stands out against the dark facade; the monochrome design scheme is completed with the Square Table And Chair Garden Set in Clay from Lime Lace.

Square Table And Chair Garden Set - Clay from Lime Lace

(Image: © Lime Lace)

5. Incorporate an outdoor kitchen

Talking of space and garden dining... just because your deck's small, that doesn't mean you can't incorporate an outdoor kitchen in yours, just like you'd squeeze in a perfectly functional kitchen indoors. We love this neat idea by @seqdecks.

Find out everything you need to know in our guide to creating an outdoor kitchen.

6. Go wall to wall to exaggerate the garden's width

In small gardens you have to use all the design tricks up your sleeve. One is to exaggerate the garden's width with decking. You can do this by laying the boards widthways – their lines will draw the eye across the deck's width, making it seem wider – and by laying them right up to the boundary on both sides. You can soften the finished look by creating a green vista in the near distance – this will prevent your small garden from looking boxed in. 

This enclosed garden in London has been designed by Honor Holmes Garden Design and benefits from a green space at the bottom of the garden that contrasts with the decking. 

Honor Holmes Garden Design Chelsea 3 project

(Image: © Honor Holmes Garden Design)

7. Save space with compact, multi-tasking garden furniture

If you do want some garden furniture out on your small deck, pick a set that has a small footprint. Dual-purpose pieces or built-in storage is a bonus, too.

The St Mawes Drinks/Planter Bar Table from Garden Trading has a steel trough in the middle - perfect for cooling drinks, or creating a green display. 

Garden Trading St Mawes Bar Set

(Image: © Garden Trading)

8. Liven up the decking area with container plants

Decking and container gardens were made for each other, and you can fit in a plant or two in even the tiniest of decked gardens, balconies or terraces as this lovely decked area shows. Building a raised bed like this is a great idea for small decked areas – the streamlined nature of the container will make the area feel larger, and can be made to raise the height of the plants significantly, upping their impact.

Small garden with container planting

(Image: © Maayke de Ridder)

9. Include a change in decking levels

If your small garden is on a slope, you've actually been handed a golden opportunity. Rather than trying to level it or dividing it into lots of different zones, creating decking on different levels will make it more usable and enhance the feeling of space.

Read more about designing a sloping garden to get the best from your deck design.

Decking with built in planting

(Image: © Sadolin)

10. Turn your small deck into an outdoor room

A small deck is usually the perfect size for creating an Insta-worthy outdoor room, just like this one from one of our fave influencers, @deecampling. It doesn't need a roof like Dee's but you'll get more use out of it with some element of shelter. (And, yeah, we know this isn't actually a deck, but you get the drift...)

Find more inspiration for designing your outdoor living space in our guide.

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