Our decking ideas are just what you need to elevate your plot – quite literally speaking. And, if you haven't considered adding a deck before, now's the perfect time to do so. Decking is super versatile as a landscaping material for your garden and there are plenty of brilliant styles to choose from to fit your theme.
In fact, with decking ideas, the options are almost endless. You could create a fabulous outdoor zone complete with pergola to use all year round, design a decked pathway to the bottom of the garden, or even use it as a sturdy platform to host an outdoor kitchen area.
If your garden is set out on different levels with sloping sections, deck ideas can also be a great way to create more practical and useable areas for dining or outdoor living. And for small gardens, opting for a decked terrace can be a stylish and low-maintenance option for your landscaping ideas.
Decking ideas: 32 stylish solutions for your plot
Whether your garden is big or small, these deck ideas will help to transform your space, creating an area for dining, relaxing or simply connecting different sections of your plot.
1. Opt for a wrap-around cover
For extra shelter from the sun or the rain, covered deck ideas are a must-have. Sure, you could opt for a parasol for an easy and relatively cheap fix. But a more permanent solution like this can be more impressive, and defines a garden 'room' more clearly.
The wrap-around, slatted design of this cover works perfectly alongside a modern dining set-up and pale grey decking. We love the use of climbing plants too, for a soothing shot of green.
2. Go dark to make a statement
There's no need to go for natural wood tones for your deck if you don't want to. Choosing a deep hue can bring a dramatic touch to an outdoor space.
Grey and black shades have contemporary credentials but they aren't just for modern garden ideas. Combine them with vintage-look furniture as seen here and they'll work in cottage-style gardens too. We also love the way the colors and shapes of the chairs have been mixed and matched here, creating a casual eclectic look.
And, if your pick of the best decking doesn't come in a moody tone, you can always update it with a stain or lick of paint.
3. Get creative with curves
If you're looking to go all-out with your decking ideas, then a design like this might just be the way forward.
We love how the sweeping curves divide up different zones of the space – from the comfy sofa area up top to the sunken zone down below with its bordering bench. It's a great set-up for relaxed garden parties or for large families, as will allow everyone to spread out comfortably. And, the central fire pit will keep things feeling cozy well into the evening.
If your garden is on a slope like this, then our gallery of tiered garden ideas will provide plenty more inspiration.
4. Surround your garden building
This sleek deck makes a great chill-out spot away from the main house, and complements the exterior of the garden building well. Note the matching planter too, which enhances the sense of cohesion.
5. Create a cinema set-up
Want to try something a little different for your backyard? Setting up an outdoor cinema is a surefire way to create special evenings with loved ones, and a sturdy deck will provide a good solid base.
All you need is the best outdoor projector and an old sheet hung from a fence or wall nearby. And, if you opt for a cover overhead, you can snuggle down and enjoy the movie uninterrupted even if it's pattering with rain. Just make sure you fill the space with lots of comfy cushions, perhaps an outdoor rug, and some low, glowy deck lighting ideas for a welcoming vibe.
6. Go for a tiered approach
If you're levelling out a hilly garden then there's bound to be some garden steps ideas involved. Well, why not use a decked design? We told you decking was versatile!
These smart stairs are complete with sleek recessed lighting – a crucial addition for illuminating the way when night falls. We also love how the design extends across to define raised beds. Here, they're filled with rockery-inspired planting which is a great low-maintenance option. But for an alternative approach, you could fill them with billowing flowers, or even veggies and herbs.
7. Use decking for a stylish roof terrace
If you're an urban dweller, you might be lucky enough to have your own private roof terrace. As you can see in this gorgeous example, decking makes a fine choice for this sort of space. Go for a soft hue for a contemporary feel. Then, pair your deck with neutral garden furniture ideas accented with pops of colorful cushions for a sophisticated scene.
Large potted plants will also make a good addition. Just ensure that you opt for ones that can handle being so open to the elements. Drought-tolerant olive trees, lavender, and ornamental grasses are good choices, but avoid Japanese acers and ferns. Plant them up in wide planters which match the look of your decking for harmonious results – they'll offer an extra boost of privacy too.
8. Create a private hideaway
Speaking of garden privacy ideas, take a look at this tucked-away decked area. The sofas and streamlined bar provide all the comforts of a living room. However, plenty of fresh air, beams of sunlight and a fragrant lilac offer that indoor-outdoor living experience we all dream of.
Modern decking in a warm tone is ideal for this type of low-maintenance space. Meanwhile, an open, wooden structure overhead will shield you from some of the sun's rays and will look extra lovely when adorned with pretty solar-powered pendants.
9. Provide plenty of seating
If you're looking for a clever alternative to deck railing ideas then a design like this could be just the ticket. Not only does it define the perimeter in style, but it also doubles up as a generous space for seating – ideal if you love to throw garden parties.
The curved line adds visually-pleasing interest, whilst opting for a slightly different color from the decking itself makes for an attractive contrast. And if the stylish parasol has caught your eye, don't forget to check out our best garden parasols buying guide – they're a great way to quickly update a space.
10. Enjoy the view of the pool
A decked area can make a lovely spot to relax and take in the view of your backyard pool ideas, like in this stunning scene above. Due to its shape, two different zones are formed – one for lounging and one for cooking and dining.
Going for such an elevated height will allow you to enjoy the best views in the house (and means you can keep an eye on the kids whilst they splash about). Just make sure you go for a sturdy rail to surround it, to keep everyone safe from the edge.
11. Use curves to surround a pond
Wooden deck ideas look stunning when paired alongside water, and it also provides a spot to sit and admire any fish, pond life, or aquatic plants.
Use a softly curved edge around the water for a feeling of space. A pale hue will lift the area and add to the soothing vibe, as well as helping to bounce the light around.
Surround with lush greenery, a candle or two, and a string of festoon lights and you have yourself the perfect haven for relaxing.
Want to learn how to build a garden pond so you can create a similar set-up in your space? Head over to our guide for our practical advice.
12. Paint it grey for a budget-friendly revamp
If you're on a tight budget but want to give your existing decking ideas a revamp, then consider finding out how to paint decking and give it a lick of paint or treat it with a woodstain. Not only will it give your decking a refresh, but it will protect it over the winter months too.
After a few years decking can suffer from wear and tear and show signs of green algae and mould. So rather than investing in new decking, spend a few hours one weekend giving yours some TLC and following our top tips on how to clean decking.
Apply a couple of coats of anti-slip decking stain, and look for one that gives a touch of color too. Grey is a versatile shade that will go with any color scheme, but we think it works particularly well with modern garden furniture.
13. Add a shade sail for year-round entertaining
Rain or shine, you can still use your deck ideas if you incorporate some sort of shelter or cover above your space. This could be a fixed structure such as a pergola with a roof, or something as simple as a patio shade sail or awning that attaches to the wall.
In the summer months, covers like these will give you plenty of shade from the sun. Then, when the weather turns in autumn and winter, you can add a patio heater and still enjoy being outside on the decking as the awning will help to contain the heat and keep you cozy and snug.
14. Incorporate a water feature (or two)
For a super sleek garden makeover, take inspiration from our water feature ideas and incorporate one into your new decked terrace. We love how this contemporary take on a garden pond blends seamlessly with its surroundings, helping to break up the expanse of decking and prevent it from dominating the space.
Deck ideas can be a good option to have near water features as they're durable – and the best composite decking designs are non-slip too. For a thoroughly modern scheme combine your decking ideas with smart stone paving for added interest.
15. Make a backdrop for an accent piece
Use your decking ideas as an integral part of your garden's backdrop, by working them into a bold color scheme. Here, narrow, pale boards are juxtaposed with the dark-colored wall, yet cohesion is maintained by the lines following the same direction.
Together, they provide the perfect setting for the focal piece of this area – an oversized, bright red lamp. A minimal seating set finishes this striking look perfectly.
16. Create a deck for small spaces
Small deck ideas can make just as much impact as larger decked areas, and building a deck can be an easy-to-achieve method to create a level area in a small garden.
If your deck’s small, take a lead from this design and build benches in. It will allow you to fit in more seating than you could with individual chairs and you can ensure it’s comfortable by adding seat pads and cushions.
Team with a garden table and everyone can reach their drinks. Outdoor paint will complete the deck design.
Wondering how much to budget for your new decking ideas? We've got all the answers to how much does decking cost in our guide.
17. Improve a long narrow garden with decking
Typical town gardens often have wasted space at the far end that we don’t bother to use. Add a deck to yours, though, and you can turn it into a destination for your outdoor dining ideas or simply a spot for relaxing. This deck is slightly raised, which helps to make it even more of a focal point.
Our tip? If the shed’s located there too, give it a quick spruce up so it doesn’t let the side down.
18. Consider the outlook from the deck
You can take advantage of the view from raised deck ideas – even if the vista is not of your own garden – with a balustrade you can see through when you’re seated. There are plenty of options to suit the style of your plot and your budget.
Metal railings like these have enduring style, or think about a glazed balustrade for a contemporary-style garden.
Our garden screening ideas have lots of alternative options for extra shelter.
19. Give your decking ideas a border
Creating a border in a contrasting color can make your decking ideas more of an eye-catching and individual feature. The reversible boards in toning colors give it a decorative finish. At a higher level than the garden, it offers a relaxing space with a view, too.
This decking is composite, made using 100% FSC certified hardwood timber and recycled plastic, and is a low-maintenance option that doesn’t require staining, oiling or painting.
20. Go vertical with a pergola
Teaming your pergola with deck ideas can add to the impression of the space as an outdoor room, whether you use it as a living area like this one, or as a dining zone.
You can add natural shade by growing the best climbing plants on the pergola, and they can even bring wonderful fragrance to the space. Match deck and pergola colors for a pulled-together look. You can find the right shade for your scheme in our guide to the best exterior wood paint.
21. Build in planting
You can gently soften the lines of your decking ideas by creating space for planting within the overall design. Here, spiky architectural foliage as well as blooms spill over onto the deck from the beds that are part of the split-level feature.
Raised planters on the deck complete the look, and as they're only slim, they leave space for circulation on the upper level.
22. Use color to make your decking ideas feel bigger
If you're also searching for the best small garden ideas to make your space feel bigger, try finishing your decking ideas in a pale hue that will reflect the daylight to space-expanding effect.
Wooden decking needs maintenance in any case, so all you need to do is use the brightening shade of your choice rather than re-treating it in a wood tone.
It’s a good idea to brighten surrounding walls and fences to unify the space.
23. Match your decking to your home's architecture
If you're planning a new extension, why not consider extending the roof structure to create a sheltered spot for your decking? Match the decking color to the timber used on the underside of the roof for a smart and cohesive look.
This fabulous patio area shows you how to make it work successfully – the timber-clad walls are painted a dark grey shade that ties in with the dining table and chairs, and creates a striking contrast to the warm wood tones of the decking and ceiling. Plus, the outdoor lighting ideas ensure this space can be used just as much after dark as during the day.
24. Stay on the deck for longer with a fire pit
Adding heating to your decking ideas will extend the months of the year during which you can use your outdoor space. We love the fire pit on this deck, which creates a cozy nook surrounded by seating built into the decking.
Need something smaller? A patio heater could allow you to fit more furniture into your space. You can even get tabletop designs to put on the dining table.
Our fire pit ideas have plenty more inspiration on how to add warmth to your deck.
25. Keep your decking ideas private with planting
Feeling overlooked by the neighbors isn’t going to result in relaxed outdoor living, so consider planting that can shield you from the gaze of onlookers. If there’s room, you can design your decking ideas with a border beyond that will screen the space. Or, if space is tight, or you want to be able to take plants with you when you move home, use tall planters for your greenery.
We like the idea of choosing jungle-like foliage as seen here – perfect if you're looking for a touch of tropical garden ideas. Not only is it great for additional privacy, but it can make you feel transported from an urban garden to more exotic locations.
The cool grey color of the decking balances the hot shades of the planter, table runner and cushions.
26. Comfy up your deck
Why not add the decorative touches you would inside your home so your decking is equally pleasing to the eye and your sense of touch? Start by layering an outdoor rug on top of the deck. This one complements the wood beautifully with its silver colorway. Plus, it’s easy to roll up and store away in winter, or use indoors for the duration.
Choose the best garden furniture that would look as good indoors as out, too, and add comfort with cushions. Simple touches like a vase of flowers can also help turn your deck ideas into a real outdoor living room.
27. Draw attention to a dining area
Use height and vertical elements and you can turn a deck designed for outdoor dining into a centerpiece. Raising the deck ideas just a little can help zone it as part of a larger decked area or assist in distinguishing it from other landscaping materials.
Incorporating pergola ideas can help to frame the space and allow you to add outdoor pendant lights or festoon lights to ensure the dining area is atmospheric at dusk and beyond.
Don’t forget that in the UK, if you want to create your deck under the permitted development regime and thus avoid having to gain planning permission, it can’t be more than 30cm above the ground.
28. Plan an outdoor kitchen
Why not super-size your decking ideas to make space for some stylish outdoor kitchen ideas so you can take cooking and dining outside for the summer? It will keep you talking to your guests rather than tucked away in the house while they’re enjoying the sunshine.
And, if you opt for a full outdoor kitchen as well as the best BBQ, you can incorporate a sink and fridge, plus storage and preparation space that’ll avoid the need to go back and forth to the house.
There’s also a fire pit in this garden, to provide warmth and atmosphere. It has a custom hardwood tabletop, so it can double up as a table when the heat of the fire isn’t needed.
29. Link to the interior
Choosing decking in a similar shade to the flooring immediately inside your home can create a continuous look that blurs the boundaries between inside and out and can make your home feel bigger. To get the look, you’ll need to lay the decking with the boards running in the same direction as the flooring.
To ensure your decked area doesn't become dangerous during winter when a combination of poor weather and a build up of fallen leaves can make the surface slippery, follow our tips for slippery deck solutions.
30. Deal with a sloping garden
If you're looking for sloping garden ideas, decking is a top solution, turning areas too steep to use into level spaces everyone in the family can enjoy, and on which outdoor furniture can be positioned – like this chic table.
The different levels of the decking will also naturally create different zones for the garden, which can help with the overall design.
Remember that a deck above ground level will need a balustrade for safety. Make sure yours complies with building regulations in terms of both the balustrade and steps between the levels.
31. Use your decking ideas as a design feature
We love how this decking is used to contrast beautifully with various grey shades in the rest of the scheme. Crafted from durable polyurethane it has a higher non-slip safety rating than many types of conventional composite decking. If you want to create a cohesive look you can choose accessories that also feature similar tones, such as the light grey seat cushions used here.
Want something bolder? Choosing contrasting colors for your accessories always makes for a more dramatic and eye-catching look and it’s a design trick that’s not simply reserved for interiors – use it to your advantage in your garden too.
32. Blend your decking with the background
For a laid-back look, choose decking that will blend into its surroundings. Light-colored wood gives a fuss-free feel, and will help to widen even a narrow space.
It goes to show that sometimes, less is more when it comes to decking ideas. Have fun experimenting with lines, natural materials, and the subtle details. For example, add a pair of outdoor seats in a different shade of wood, or nearby wooden edging using a different direction of line to your decking. When brought together, it will result in a rustic yet considered aesthetic.
What can I use in place of decking?
There are lots of options you can use in place of decking ideas. If you've got the budget, try natural stone slabs or porcelain pavers – as long as the ground beneath is flat, they're a great alternative for a chic surface. Our paving ideas will have you feeling inspired.
You could also use gravel – a cheaper option but still effective. If you're looking for something more temporary, then take a look at Ikea's easy-to-lay outdoor flooring. It's a quick way to jazz up a space.
Can you lay decking on soil?
'You shouldn’t build a deck directly on the ground for a normal installation,' says Karl Harrison, Trex Pro decking installer and founder of Karl Harrison designs. 'Even on level ground it will move when wet and your platform will become unstable. If the posts and beams that support the deck are made of wood, they are likely to deteriorate long before your deck does if in contact with the ground as water soaks into the wood and can’t dry out quickly.
'If you want a quick deck, you may lay a 50mm [2in] depth of gravel over a weed membrane and use plastic joists,' Karl continues. 'These are recycled and won't rot either – they are called HDPE which stands for High Density Polyethylene.
'Be sure to use stainless fixings when building your deck frame,' he adds. 'This type of construction would be suitable for a small decking with light loads and only occasional use.'
'For a more sturdy decking project, If you can, support your decking posts over concrete pads and make sure the frame doesn't touch the ground. These posts fixed to your beams will help to stabilize your deck and can also mean your deck will last longer as the substructure is not exposed to the problems when touching the ground.'
It's handy if you already have patio ideas or a paved area under the decking, Karl adds. 'This means you can use plastic pedestals to raise the joists off the ground.' This would be a long-lasting decking structure, he says, and it's quite a bit quicker to install.
How can I do decking cheaply?
If you're feeling handy with the toolkit and have some DIY skills up your sleeves, why not head over to our guide on how to build decking? It will save you some cash and is a great activity to do out in the fresh air. Plus, you'll have ultimate bragging rights every time you entertain alfresco.
You can use timber from a nearby DIY store, or, for an extra saving, check out your local wood reclamation yard. You can also create decking out of pallets – see if any are going spare in your neighborhood or online and you might be able to grab a bargain.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She's spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens – long enough to see interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement, both indoors and out, and it's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, so she's a serial house revamper.
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