Decking is a fabulous way to enhance your garden space, it can be used to zone an area that’s purely for outdoor dining, or to create a low-maintenance space if you don’t want a lawn.
You can also use it as a path area from the top to the bottom of your garden. The beauty of decking too, is that you can add to it – so you can start small and then create a larger area that could include balustrades and even a small fence to provide a more sheltered space to enjoy more months of the year.
If your garden slopes you can have raised decking with steps down to the lower part and use underneath the decking for storage – it’s so versatile, whatever sized garden you have.
Small garden decking ideas
- For more small garden ideas, see: Small garden ideas – maximise a compact gardening space
1. Enclose your decking
Make a feature of your decking area by enclosing it within the footprint of your home, an all encompassing look if you will, so your outside space becomes an extension of your home and links due to the fence around it.
The wide plank of the top bar that runs around can also be used as a shelf – for drinks and nibbles when entertaining, or you could use it for pots and planters.
2. Choose slimline furniture
When space is tight, and this goes for interiors as well, choosing furniture that has a low profile and slim legs will help to create the illusion of space.
This set is a great example of how to make it work – you can see underneath the sofa and coffee table and the pale wood and light taupe cushions keep the overall look ‘light’ visually.
3. Opt for decking throughout
If you love being out in your garden but are not keen on the gardening aspect, then consider having the whole area decked. It will be super low-maintenance and you can use planters against the back fence to create interest and privacy.
4. Zone your space
You could create a design feature by only decking certain areas, we love how this bistro seating area is edged with beautiful textured stone. The colors of the furniture also tie in visually with the decking color and stone edging, this way you get a cohesive look.
5. Mark your boundary
Instead of having a fence at the end of your garden you could use the decking to create the boundary, especially if it is raised decking. Here, there’s a nice natural line between the end of the decking and the wild field beyond.
6. Decking as a design feature
If your garden is short in depth and narrow, you could add decking along the length of your house as you can see here, like a wraparound effect. It will be easy to maintain and provides a hard standing area for your table and benches.
7. Make it work in a country garden
‘With a split level garden, decking was a perfect choice. We chose to use green oak as it would age with grace and character, pressure washing to keep the areas slip proof and clean adding to the charm by exposing the end grain and natural qualities in the wood. Laid using stainless steel lost head screws so the fixings became invisible and didn’t rot the wood, 15 years later I actually prefer the deck than when it was first laid.
The ladder down to the lawn allows plants to scramble through the open risers creating a feature from a necessity and maxing our planting space in a small garden,’ says Ann-Marie Powell, Founder of Ann-Marie Powell Gardens.
8. Go for a flexible option
'Decking is a very useful material in that it allows you to create useful level areas, say around a tree, without the need for foundations as you would with paving, which can destroy a tree’s roots,’ says Debbie Roberts, co-founder of Acres Wild.
9. Use it in any weather
The beauty of decking is that it enables you to enjoy it all year round. No squelching through mud to celebrate Bonfire Night if it has rained the night before - you can simply use your decking to set up a lovely firepit and relax wrapped in faux throws whilst enjoying marshmallows with your family.
10. Opt for various levels
Decking can be much more than a simple level for you to walk on, you can create raised areas like these that can be used for seating and as somewhere to place drinks and nibbles if you are entertaining.
They also add interest to the corner of your garden and we love how it is edged with flowers and a painted wall.
- For more deck ideas, see: Deck ideas –the essential guide to decking your garden or patio
How do I build a small deck area?
You’ve set your heart on creating a stylish decking area, but how do you go about it? To start with, you need to make sure your ground is flat, soft and level and in terms of power tools, all you need is a basic tool kit and some simple woodworking skills.
You need to decide on your area, are you covering the whole lawn, or do you want to keep the decking to a minimum and nearer to the house.
One top tip is to measure or at least place your garden furniture where you would like the decking to go, this way you can see how big the decking area needs to be to fully accommodate it. It’s also worth checking that you don’t need planning permission and let your neighbours know too.
Once you have everything in place and you have your measurements you need to create your frame, and attach the inner joists. The spacing of these will depend on your decking design – for example, do you want horizontal, diagonal, chevron or a particular pattern?
Once this is done and all secure, you can then add your deck boards by starting in one corner and working out. It is important to allow a gap of 3mm in between each one. Keeping working until you have finished the entire area.
How can I make my deck look good?
You’ve made your decking and now you need to give it some aftercare so it gives you years of enjoyment.
First up, is to give it time to weather naturally, and to allow for a certain amount of natural shrinkage and expansion.
Then, you need to decide on how you want it to look, and this also depends on whether the boards are soft or hardwood.
Keeping it clean and free from rotting leaves and algae is a must, because both of these can leave you with a slippery decking that can become dangerous.
Spring is a great time to give your decking some love and attention, power washers are ideal for blasting off debris, and when it’s dry give it a coat of deck oil – one of the best options, paint or a stain.
The more you look after your decking, the longer it will last.