Decking is the perfect focal point for an easy-care garden and is cheaper and easier to use than paving. We’ll show you how to choose and use this versatile surface material with our selection of the best patio ideas for your outdoor area.
Although decking has been an integral part of the boat building business for centuries, this design approach didn’t make its way into the interior design world until the 1960s. Many Americans longed for an indoor and outdoor expansion of their home to hold their barbecues, so built raised decks right next to their living quarters from decking boards – chosen because they are lightweight and easy on the eyes.
When wooden decking started it was a fad loved by garden remodeling programs, but its versatility, beauty, and durability have survived the hype and decks have become a handy addition to gardens large and small, the country or town.
Over the years, the use of decking has expanded and it has become the preferred material for a modern patio or roof terrace. The materials have also reached a pace. While early decks were made from first-generation hardwoods, durable composite materials and eco-products made from recycled materials are trendy today. We are also experimenting with stains and widths to give the wood a very modern look.
It is important to consider a few factors before laying your patio. It’s a pretty big project so make sure you have a clear end goal in mind before you begin.
To get you started, we’ve put together the best patio ideas to help you plan your dream garden.
1. Create a cozy corner
Bespoke fences and patios combined with rattan furniture make the end of the garden a cozy, secluded place perfect for entertaining.
- See: Ideas for small garden terraces – 10 design ideas to inspire you with yours
2. Zone a space
It’s no surprise that decking has become so common. It can be expanded into platforms or narrowed into paths to connect different areas and connect the design of a garden. In small gardens, patios can even replace lawn and paving and run in an uninterrupted series of paths, patios, and seating areas. With foresighted planning, lighting cables and water pipes can be hidden underneath.
3. Bring your terrace to a new level
Decking boards are a godsend for areas with two levels – built into a platform or lowered to cope with a slope. In narrow parcels, where the planking runs in a zigzag through the garden, it directs the view of the surroundings and makes them appear wider and longer.
4. Decorate your deck
If you love container gardening, terraces near the house can provide the perfect platform for seasonal pots, which will also help soften harsh edges. Containers are a wonderful way to instantly and easily add color to your garden. And of course, container garden ideas are perfect for gardens with patios.
5. Color coordinate
An outdoor space as a direct extension of the house fits in with a concept in which all furnishings – decking, pergola, fences, seating, cushions, containers and plants – are color-coordinated.
In such a scheme there is scope for imaginative designs with wood stains, which are available in a wide range of colors. And the advantage of using wood instead of plaster or stone is that its color can easily be changed. First, experiment with different shades on some scraps of wood.
6. Stay close to nature
Plenty of scope for imaginative designs with wood stains, available in a wide range of colors.
An informal look is created when the decking is left natural and will weather over time and take on a silvery gray that combines wonderfully with plants and the natural landscape. A good compromise is treating the decking with a wood oil that simply enhances the natural beauty of the wood – products for treating wooden boats are ideal.
7. Bring plants around your patio
As you create your plans, consider adding raised beds, benches, privacy screens, tables, planters, storage rooms, and railings. Think about where your selected plants fit best – whether in pots, borders next to the terrace or in beds sunk into them – before you lay the decking.
8. Choose a trustworthy wood
At best, a wooden deck is a beautiful, hard-wearing surface that will suit most garden environments. It is a natural material that provides plants with a sympathetic backdrop and combines wonderfully with water, stone and trees. Wood is suitable for various styles of architecture and design. A deck can be designed in both a sleek, contemporary look and a more traditional style.
But decks don’t just look good: Other advantages include their relatively low weight compared to stone, quick and easy assembly and forgiveness. The wood can be cut to fit around difficult corners or over manhole covers and can be easily expanded later.
9. Consider the practicality
It is really important to plan around existing solid structures and features – the last thing you want is to lay a perfect patio only to find that you cannot open your garden gate. So before you finalize the plans, check whether access from paths and gates is restricted or outside taps, sockets, drains and manhole covers are blocked.
10. Plan, plan, plan
You might consider laying planks at different angles or creating curves, but keep in mind that building on a larger job site will be more time consuming. Outline your plans, take precise measurements, and mark the ground with posts and string.
11. Combine the terrace with a lawn
Create a completely individual look by combining different surfaces, textures and colors in a modern design. Using a variety of landscaping materials in different zones of your garden not only increases interest, but can also help keep your budget in check. Where decking can be a bit more expensive, lawn is relatively cheap – and helps to set a limit.
12. Create interest with a raised platform
Use decking to draw attention to a secluded seating area. Decking boards are particularly useful on plots with differences in height as they can be easily adapted to the room with ascending or descending steps to other levels.
When choosing a location for a patio, avoid poorly ventilated areas with little sunlight – this can lead to rot and algae. Raised decks should be built so that free airflow is encouraged through the gaps between the deck linings and no spaces are large enough to let rats or mice in.
How can I make my deck look beautiful?
Decking boards can be used to create walkways and connect different areas of your garden. The mixture of natural wood – perhaps railway sleepers made of old wood – with individual and terrace panels arouses interest and defines individual areas.
Which wood should I use for my terrace?
There is a wide variety of decking options so make sure you take a close look at what is out there before making your choice.
High quality hardwood decking plans cost about twice their softwood equivalents, but either way, the additional materials for the base and sub-frame add up to at least another third of the cost. Modern wood is pretreated against rot and can be given a pleasant silver finish. The patio will last longer in a sunny location that is kept free of foliage and moisture.
Where should I lay decking?
Decking should be placed on level ground, so the area must be leveled beforehand. Avoid areas where large numbers of leaves fall. Choose a sheltered place with sun and shade.
How do I clean my garden deck?
It’s surprisingly easy to clean your garden deck. Use a pressure washer (or a garden hose and brush if you don’t have one) along with a dedicated patio cleaner to revamp your patio.
Repeat the process to ensure a super clean surface. If you have the time and the wood looks like it could use a little more love, give it a coat of stain – this will make the patio look great and last longer.