Designing a new garden? Creating a stylish outdoor space that's successful is largely down to defining zones within your garden, something you can do simply by identifying separate areas using different materials. This is exactly why garden decking ideas should be your starting point.
A deck gives you a great outdoor space for lounging, entertaining, outdoor dining, and simply enjoying some fresh air. But how do you make decking look like more than just a few planks of wood? Well, take inspiration from our brilliant ideas for making your deck look just the business.
Building your own deck? Find out how in our step by step guide.
1. Add a pergola for shade
If the sun ever does shine you’ll want a little shade from it, so why not add a covered pergola? You’ll also be able to flex your green fingers and grow a few climbers along the structure to break up the space and add some greenery. This homeowner has created a beautiful outdoor room area using an open weave seagrass along the pergola allowing just enough light to break through.
2. Keep the deck warm and cosy
The fire pit has become one of the most sought after decking accessories in recent years, and for good reason. Add one to your deck space, and instantly the area becomes accessible on cooler days and evenings, allowing you to toast marshmallows well into the night, as well as keeping you warm and cosy. Plus, fire pits look pretty darn stylish too. Protect the decking wood by placing the firepit on a large paving slab hearth.
The Garden Trading Idbury cast iron fire pit from Houseology is designed to rust over time and create a bespoke patina effect.
3. Fit decking railings
If you’re lucky enough to have a raised area in your garden, it's the perfect spot for a railed decking area. Edge your decked space with decking railings that suit your garden style to help it feel enclosed, to offer safety, and to achieve a zoning effect. Then start designing your space by adding pieces for outdoor living, making it suitable for you, your guests, and family.
4. Create a nautical theme for your deck
The nautical look never goes away, and each season is refreshed and renewed. It’s also an incredibly popular look for your outdoor deck; the wood and rich blue tones marry well together to create a stylish and on-trend feel. Add lots of soft furnishings in blues and creams, coupled with storm lanterns for an authentic vibe, and don’t worry if your wood feels a little worn, as that’s part of the charm.
5. Choose colourful outdoor dining furniture
The garden furniture on your deck doesn’t always have to be monochrome; by adding some colourful chairs you can really bring your deck area to life. Mix and match your colours – which is a big trend right now – and you’ll have the most fashionable outdoor dining space you could imagine. It’s fun, vibrant and maintenance-free, leaving you more time to sit, relax and enjoy.
The set of eight vintage chairs and teak table is available at Out & Out Original and is designed for outdoor use. With a table measuring 220cm and eight chairs in total, the Vintage Pop Colour Dining Set is perfect for hosting summer garden parties.
6. Light up your deck
One aspect of decking design which you’ll need to take into consideration, particularly in the UK, is the addition of decking lights. If you want to use the area later in the evenings, then adding some lights makes it much more useable, and adds a wonderful atmosphere too, of course.
It’s important to plan your garden lighting to help create the right mood for al fresco drinks and dining. Next, consider the type of lights you will use – solar decking lights are a popular – and eco-friendly – option, as are LED lights and candles.
7. Feed and protect your decking wood
If you love the look and feel of natural wood, then you must remember to use decking stain or decking oil – and do it regularly. Most decks do require maintenance of some kind or another, but why not use your stain or oil to make a feature of the space? In this garden, different coloured stains have been used on the decorative wood to create a very effective look which is easy to follow through to the deck itself.
This garden makeover features different ‘room’ areas within a Victorian garden and an interesting use of wood and staining to create a natural yet vibrant feel.
8. Keep to natural materials
While we might not always have a Mediterranean climate here in the UK, we can connect to past holidays by creating a vacation-inspired deck area. Choosing natural materials such as bamboo for furniture and accessories is just one way to create a summery vibe, while keeping colours muted can create a more sophisticated overall design.
This Arizona bistro set from George at Asda works well in a small decked spot outside the house.
9. Choose solar powered lighting
There are many benefits to solar lighting, the main one being the ease and simplicity around installation. Adding some solar decking lights will make the decking area functional and will help shape the deck into a fun-filled, welcoming part of the garden. With an abundance of styles and types on the market, do your research and find those within budget that fulfil your requirements. The more varied a selection you can install, the better the overall effect.
Just as you would use lighting indoors, consider how to layer solar lights on your deck. Add fairy lights, festoon lights and lanterns, as well as deck spots, all solar powered like this new collection from Lights4Fun to add layers of light.
10. Tidy the deck with good garden storage
Treat your outdoor deck area just as you would any indoor room. Remember how clever garden storage can be a great way to display your favourite possessions? Well, that’s no different out on the deck, and a storage shelf will showcase your best plants and herbs to great effect. Add some lights, and you’ve got the perfect practical look.
This B&Q garden shelving unit is part of the Rural Collection which includes products of a rustic, handmade aesthetic, combining farmhouse styling with a polished contemporary feel.
11. Build a summerhouse
Considering adding a garden room? While you’d need to lay a gravel base, many summerhouses are built with a deck platform, which can look sophisticated and blend well with the design of the structure. This homeowner has created a retro chic space at the bottom of her garden, making the most of the sun but providing shelter and shade from the elements when they get too much.
Find 15 gorgeous garden rooms here to inspire you further.
12. Add some colour by painting your deck
Decks don’t have to be bland and brown. There are myriad decking paints out there which allow you to jazz up your outdoors and splash a little personality onto your deck. If you want sleek and sophisticated go for greys; for bold and bright try an orange; or keep it more natural and choose a subtle green. The best news is the paint seals and nurtures the wood too.
Ronseal decking rescue paint comes in 10 different colours, smooths the rough surfaces and fills cracks, leaving your wood with long-lasting colour and protection.
13. Boost greenery with faux plants
Soften the look of your wooden deck with the addition of plants and foliage. If you’re green fingered, choose real, but there is a whole host of faux plants available now so shop around. Vary the height and style, and cluster your pots into groups for the best visual effect. Invest in good quality pots and don’t forget your watering can.
You can always find a good selection of outdoor plants at Wyevale Garden Centres.
14. Choosing your decking wood
Decking wood comes in many forms, and it’s always worth researching what will work for your garden and for those who will be using the area. Consider how much time and effort you want to spend on maintenance too. This beautiful decked garden room was created for BBC’s Getting the Builders In and features a composite decking material, in anthracite.
Sian Astley, interior designer and builder at Moregeous Design created this raised, covered area using composite decking. Available from retailers like Timbertech, composite deck boards don’t rot, warp or splinter, and require very little maintenance.
15. Decking works in a small garden, too
If space is limited but you’d still like to create a decked area, then let this stunning decked courtyard inspire you. Packed with all the essentials including a bistro table and chairs, bench seating area, colourful plant pots and lights, added flair comes in the shape of the canopy. It’s the perfect way to make use of an underused side return.
Blogger and interior stylist Maxine Brady has created this beautiful yet incredibly practical area at her sunny seaside home. Colourful plant pots are available at Homebase, and get a similar Bistro set from Wayfair.
More decking know how:
- Considering railings? Bear in mind that they’ll block your view of the garden beyond. If they will obscure an idyllic scene, consider a glazed balustrade. Richard Burbidge sells a wide range, from timber to glass and aluminium.
- Split the levels to create visual interest and define different areas.
- Hardwood or softwood? This depends on your budget, but even cheap softwood can look expensive if regularly cleaned and oiled.
- Grooved boards are less slippery when wet, but dirt will sit in the grooves; smooth boards are easier to keep tidy, but slippery.
- Like wood but want longevity? You can buy wood-effect decking with the durability of concrete, such as Marshalls’ Woodstone sleepers, from £4.90 for W20cmxL20cmxD4cm.