Decking ideas: 42 stylish deck ideas for your backyard, patio or garden

Whether your plot is big or small, these decking ideas will take your outdoor living experience to the next level

decking ideas in a modern garden
(Image credit: Havwoods)

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, the options are almost endless. You could create a fabulous outdoor zone complete with a cover to use whatever the weather, design a decked pathway to the bottom of the garden, or even use it as a sturdy platform to host an outdoor kitchen area. 

Decking can also be used around pools or for outdoor living zones. And, if your garden is set out on different levels with sloping sections, deck ideas can be a great way to create more practical and useable areas for dining, entertaining, or lounging. And for small gardens, opting for a decked terrace can be a stylish and low-maintenance option for your landscaping ideas

42 decking ideas for your plot

Whether your garden is big or small, these deck ideas are sure to provide plenty of inspiration to help transform your space.

1. Opt for modern comfort

dobbies sofa and fire pit on decking

A cozy space featuring furniture from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

A sleek deck is the perfect base for an array of the best garden furniture, and how's this for a sophisticated scheme? 

A rattan outdoor sofa is on our list of must-haves this year as is timelessly chic, while a matching coffee table offers additional practicality and style. Then, pop an outdoor rug in a subtle pattern underfoot, for extra visual appeal and coziness.

If done with safety considerations in mind, a fire pit can make a lovely addition to a deck too, allowing you to make the most of the space and transition from daytime to night with ease. A spark screen, as seen here, will keep flying embers contained.

2. Create a feature wall

blue garden wall with shelves and potted plants

A bright and cheery decked space, created by Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Bring a burst of vibrancy to your decking ideas by painting your nearby garden wall in an uplifting shade. This vivid blue is gorgeous and adds bags of personality to the zone, although a terracotta, ochre yellow, or perhaps even a shocking pink might be more your style.

Installing sturdy shelves will allow you to personalize the wall even further with jolly planters, garden decor, and perhaps a lantern or two. Pick plants that pop against the backdrop – like the yellow and orange flowers seen here.

3. Cozy up a covered deck

bridgman sofa on decking

The Ascot Modular B sofa set from Bridgman is the perfect match for this inviting space

(Image credit: Bridgman)

With the addition of deck cover ideas, you can use your outdoor living space no matter the weather.

This rustic set-up would certainly tempt us outdoors even in the depths of winter, what with its layers of soft textiles, wood burning stove, and glowing lanterns. And the timber walls tie into the scheme beautifully, adding a cozy cabin-like vibe while keeping chilly winds at bay.

4. Go for non-slip decking around a pool

gripsure patterned non-slip decking around pool

Gripsure's anti-slip decking range is practical as well as stylish

(Image credit: Gripsure)

Both composite and timber decking can be a great choice for surrounding a pool, offering a laid-back yet still smart look.

However, when it comes to pool deck ideas, it's vital to ensure that the one you pick doesn't become too slippery when wet for safety reasons. This one shown above has integrated non-slip inserts around the pool's perimeter, and not only will they offer a study grip underfoot, but they also add a decorative accent to the scheme, too.

5. Layer up the details

dobbies furniture on decking with sofa and festoon lights

This backyard is full of cozy finishing touches from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

One way to instantly give your outdoor seating space added appeal is by introducing some deck lighting ideas. Whether you go for lanterns, strings of the best festoon lights, or even a freestanding lamp combined with a heater, they're a surefire way to boost the ambiance and keep conversation going well into the evening.

For the best effects, layer them up so you have low, twinkling light on different levels. Other accessories, such as soft outdoor cushions and potted plants, will add homely finishing touches.

6. Offset a muted scheme with flower-filled planters

gripsure decking with furniture and planters with cosmos

A simple yet chic scene featuring decking from Gripsure

(Image credit: Gripsure)

If you prefer a more pared-back look, then how's something like this? The muted scheme of soft creams, grays, and a touch of blush is wonderfully harmonious and soothing, and we love the duo of planters, too, bursting with late-summer cosmos.

Look closely at the decking itself and you'll spot the subtle strips of non-slip inserts too. It's a brilliant slippery deck solution without sacrificing on style.

7. Keep warm with a luxe heater

bridgman furniture on decking with patio heater

This smart heater will keep everyone on the 6-piece Kensington Modular H sofa set from Bridgman feeling warm and cozy

(Image credit: Bridgman)

Nowadays, when it comes to the best patio heaters, there are so many designs available. So, you can really pick one that fits your space – whether that's a paved area or a decked one.

This pyramid design with a central flame tube is totally chic and a stylish feature in itself, besides keeping everyone warm. But if you don't fancy a gas-fuelled design, there are lots of plug-in, electric options on the market that are super convenient.

8. Build your own furniture from pallets

pallet furniture on gripsure decking with chiminea and festoon lights

Decking from Gripsure provides a sturdy base for this seating zone

(Image credit: Gripsure)

If you're looking for decking ideas on a budget, or simply fancy a project for the weekend, consider building some pallet furniture. Often you can get pallets for a very small cost (sometimes, they're even free), and they're a super versatile material for getting creative with.

From coffee tables to chairs and sofas, or even an outdoor bar, the possibilities are almost endless. And with a lick of exterior wood paint, you can really customize them to suit your space. Cushions and throws will add extra comfort, then consider a string of lights overhead and a cozy chiminea nearby to complete the welcoming scene.

9. Pep up a small deck with clever and colorful furniture

dobbies furniture on decking

We adore this pretty table and chair set from Dobbies

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Don't let a less-than-large backyard hold you back – there are plenty of small deck ideas that are practical and beautiful.

Take this table and chair set, for instance, which features a built-in planter that's perfect for herbs or flowers. The teal hue offers an instant summery feel that will lift even a shady space, and we like the addition of potted plants nearby too for extra greenery and texture. 

It's the perfect spot for a morning coffee or an impromptu lunch served alfresco.

10. Dress up a decked courtyard

cult furniture on decked courtyard

This backyard includes garden chairs from Cult Furniture

(Image credit: Cult Furniture)

Speaking of smaller decked spaces, have you perused our courtyard garden ideas yet? Decking can make a brilliant base for small, walled plots – just look at this on-trend yard, for instance.

The use of a neutral palette feels calm and considered, and we particularly like the woven details on the rug and chairs. Small details, such as a potted cacti and elegant candlestick, add pretty personal touches.

Painting decking is also a good way to make it suit your scheme. Here, the pale tone helps to brighten the space and blends with the surrounding walls.

11. Opt for a wrap-around cover

BoConcept torino table on decking under slatted cover

This stunning scene features furniture by BoConcept

(Image credit: BoConcept)

For extra shelter from the sun or the rain, pergola 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 gray decking. We love the use of climbing plants too, for a soothing shot of green.

12. Go dark to make a statement

decked area with garden table and chairs

Decking Stain & Protector in Ebony from Sadolin gives a statement finish to this zone

(Image credit: Sadolin)

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.

Gray 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.

13. Get creative with curves

trex decking with circular design

This stylish yard features decking by Trex

(Image credit: Trex)

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.

14. Surround your garden building

trex decking in tiers with garden building

This decked area by Trex complements the garden building well

(Image credit: Trex)

Whether you've gone for she shed ideas or garden office ideas in your backyard, a stretch of decking is a great way to expand the zone and create an easy indoor-outdoor solution.

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. 

15. Create a cinema set-up

outdoor cinema on Sadolin black painted decking

This zone has been updated with the help of Sadolin's woodstains

(Image credit: Sadolin)

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 lighting for a welcoming vibe.

16. Go for a tiered approach

wooden steps, decking by trex and rock garden

These smart decked steps and raised beds are by Trex

(Image credit: Trex)

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.

17. Use decking for a stylish roof terrace

roof terrace with decking and furniture by BoConcept

This chic set-up is completed by stunning BoConcept furniture

(Image credit: BoConcept)

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.

18. Create a private hideaway

trex decking in private garden with pergola

An exclusive outdoor oasis with decking by Trex

(Image credit: Trex)

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.

19. Provide plenty of seating

trex decking with round edge

We love the curved details of this deck by Trex

(Image credit: Trex)

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.

20. Enjoy the view of the pool

decking overlooking pool

An elevated deck by Trex

(Image credit: Trex)

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.

21. Use curves to surround a pond

decking around pond

Introducing curved lines to the edge of this garden pond helps to soften the overall effect and create a calmer feel – featuring lights by Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

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. 

22. Paint it gray for a budget-friendly revamp

decked terrace with an outdoor dining area

(Image credit: Swift Direct Blinds)

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. Gray is a versatile shade that will go with any color scheme, but we think it works particularly well with modern garden furniture. 

23. Add a shade sail for year-round entertaining

decked terrace area with sail shade overhead

This composite decking by Dura Composites is light, bright, and summery

(Image credit: Dura Composites)

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. 

24. Incorporate a water feature (or two)

large decked area with integrated water features

(Image credit: Havwoods)

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. 

25. Make a backdrop for an accent piece

red outdoor lamp from nest on decking

Create a minimal palette to let an accent piece stand out – this lamp is from Nest

(Image credit: Nest)

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.

26. Create a deck for small spaces

Garden decking ideas with built in bench seating

Here, the bench is painted in Seagrass to complement foliage, and the fence in Dusky Gem, both Cuprinol Garden Shades

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

A small decked space 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 on how much decking costs in our guide. 

27. Improve a long narrow garden with decking

Decking ideas with a raised grey deck

This deck was created with Ecodek Signature AT in Pebble Gray

(Image credit: Ecodek)

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.

28. Consider the outlook from the deck

Colourful bistro set on small decked balcony

This folding bistro set from Dobbies brings a ray of sunshine to the deck even when the weather’s gray, and is sized to perfection for any small outdoor space

(Image credit: Dobbies)

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.

29. Give your decking ideas a border

grey decked area with contrasting border

This design is created with HD Deck Dual from Composite Prime

(Image credit: Composite Prime)

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.

30. Go vertical with a pergola

Decked area with matching wooden pergola

This deck and pergola combination is by Fleur Ward Interior Design and the composite decking is from eDecks

(Image credit: Fleur Ward Interior Design)

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

31. Build in planting

Sunken decked area with garden seating

The rich color of this decking was created using Decking Stain & Protector in Golden Brown from Sadolin

(Image credit: Sadolin)

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.

32. Use color to make your decking ideas feel bigger

pale grey decked area with matching painted fence

Here, the deck is painted with Decking Rescue Paint in White Wash from Ronseal available at B&Q

(Image credit: Ronseal)

If you're also searching for the best small garden ideas to make your space feel bigger, try finishing your decking 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. 

33. Match your decking to your home's architecture

decked dining terrace underneath a building canopy

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

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 gray 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. 

34. Stay on the deck for longer with a fire pit

Sunken decked area with a fire pit

Trex Transcend in Island Mist decking from Arborforest Products is used in this chic scene

(Image credit: Trex)

Adding heating to your decking 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. 

35. Keep your decking area private with planting

Decked area with garden dining table and benches

The decking is painted in anti-slip Decking Stain in Urban Slate from Cuprinol, available at Homebase

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

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 gray color of the decking balances the hot shades of the planter, table runner and cushions.

36. Comfy up your deck

Decked area with outdoor rug and colourful outdoor furniture

This reversible outdoor rug is from Lime Lace

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

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 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.

37. Draw attention to a dining area

Decked area with large pergola

This decking has been treated with Classic All Purpose Woodstain in Natural from Sadolin. The plant pots and furniture are painted in Microseal Ultra Smooth Masonry Paint in Hot Brick, Light Gray and Terracotta, and Rapid Dry Gloss Paint in Oxford Blue, all from Sandtex

(Image credit: Sandtex)

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 a pergola 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. 

38. Plan an outdoor kitchen

Decked area with outdoor kitchen and dining area

This Hemi 36 Fire Bowl from Solus Decor doubles up as a table

(Image credit: Solus Decor/Merge Studio and Ramsay Photography)

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. 

French doors leading out to a decked terrace and garden

This garden design by Garden House Design features a smooth narrow Verda radiate pine deck for a warm look that complements the wooden floors inside

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

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.

40. Deal with a sloping garden

Decked area with small dining furniture set from Nest

The Hay Palissade Cone Table from Nest adds a modern touch to this space

(Image credit: Nest)

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.

41. Use your decking ideas as a design feature

decked area with water feature

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

We love how this decking is used to contrast beautifully with various gray 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 gray 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.

42. Blend your decking with the background

beachside garden seating area with furniture from Amara

This decking and its surroundings follow a natural, pared-back theme

(Image credit: Amara)

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.

light up stools

Sleek decking lines look great alongside contemporary furniture from Lime Lace

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

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 2in [50mm] 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 a patio 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.

garden house design steps up to decking

This natural wooden decking adds to an urban-jungle theme

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

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 Warwick
Sarah Warwick

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.