Outdoor decking ideas and inspiration

For garden

Decking is a versatile and customisable addition to your garden. You can choose the material, layout, design, colour, and accessories too. Your deck can become a design feature in your garden, serving more than just a functional purpose. 

To help you decide on what design, colour and pattern work for your garden, we’ve put together this list of decking inspiration ideas.

Is garden decking a good idea? 

Not only can garden decking help to create a separate sophisticated living space that is relatively low maintenance when the right decking products are used, but it can also add value to your home. Experts say that it could add up to 10% worth of value to your home, making it a worthwhile investment for any exterior space.

Small outdoor deck ideas 

First of all, just because your garden is small doesn’t mean you can’t have decking. There are ways you can introduce a deck without it taking up too much room.

1. Sunken decking

One way to have decking without taking up too much space is to spread it across levels. Sunken decking is a great design feature and leaves you with enough space to include built-in furniture. 

2. Raised decking

Raised decking with steps is also another way you can achieve the different levels. This is a great option if you want to use your decking as a dining area and it works really nicely as an extension to your kitchen.

3. Zone decking

In small gardens, decking can be a useful tool for zoning so you can establish different areas, maybe to highlight your herb garden for example. This helps to add structure to the garden and also means that you can still have interesting features without it feeling overwhelming.

4. Deck benches 

To save space and make sure you’re efficiently utilising your decking, having built-in seating via an extended bench can help provide a structure to your garden through customised sitting. 

5. Decking with lighting 

If you opt for built-in decking lights this is a great way to solve your exterior lighting needs while creating a cosy and chic atmosphere in your garden through the decking. It also means you can enjoy your decked area for longer on an evening! 

6. Laying your decking strategically

There are clever ways you can lay decking to create the illusion of a larger space too. If you have a narrow garden, lay your boards horizontally to create the perception of width. If your garden is short, do the opposite and lay your boards vertically to give the impression of depth.

We’ve got plenty more garden design, deck inspiration and styling tips on our blog, so you can create an outdoor space that you want to spend time in come rain or shine.

Garden decking design ideas

There are several different patterns you can create when you lay decking. Some are more complicated than others, so if you’re not experienced at DIY you might want to rope in the help of a professional for these.

1. Straight decking

A straight deck that runs parallel or adjacent to your house is simple and easy enough to build yourself. If you’ve chosen a minimalist design for your garden, a straight deck with crisp lines will work really well and complement the design.

2. Curved edge deck

You could also choose a curved edge deck. This gives a soft and natural look but it’s also complicated. Unless you’ve got a lot of DIY and decking experience under your belt, we don’t recommend doing this yourself. The finished result will be worth it though! If you can see your decking from a window of your home, curved edges are an effective way for it to look good from any angle.

Just like there are different ways to lay tiles, there are different patterns you can make with your decking. Most people stick to a standard horizontal or vertical layout which is often available in decking kits. However, if you want something more visually exciting, you may need to get creative.

3. Diagonal patterns

Diagonal patterns are a good option if you’re laying the deck yourself and want a different look that’s not too challenging to create. Diagonal decking boards can be laid on a standard frame, so you don’t need to change anything in the initial build. You’ll have to cut the edges of the boards so they sit flush with the edge of the frame. 

Top tip: To check you have the right number of boards, lay them down without fastening, starting from the centre and working your way towards the edges.

4. Chevron and herringbone patterns

Chevron or herringbone patterns look fantastic and can be particularly striking with wooden boards that are full of character. This requires a slight tweak to the decking frame to properly secure the boards. You will need to lay one joist followed by two and repeat that pattern until you have the right frame size. The double joists will be where the edges of the two boards meet, allowing you to properly fix them down. As with diagonal boards, you’ll need to cut each one to an angle so it’s worth putting in the time to plan the shape layout.

5. Diamond patterned 

If you really want to put your (or your helping hand’s) skills to the test, a diamond pattern is another option. For this pattern, you need to use double joists horizontally and vertically along the middle of the frame. As with the chevron pattern, these will be the joists where the edges of the boards meet. For the diamond pattern, you need to start in the middle and work your way towards the edges. It’s really similar to the diagonal pattern except you’ll be working in quarters.6. Parquet

Parquet is the ultimate challenge with the greatest reward. To create this pattern, you need significantly more joists in the frame. Joists running vertically need doubling up and every other horizontal joist should be doubled up too. This gives you enough space to fix the boards. The boards form tiles and alternate between horizontal and vertical tiles for the full effect. Of course, if you don’t want to build this from scratch, you can buy parquet tiles that are easy to lay.

Decking balustrade ideas

1. Balustrades

Balustrades are a useful way to section off your deck and emphasise it as a separate zone of your garden. Of course, it’s also a key safety feature if you’ve built a raised deck. Decking balustrades and railings don’t have to be boring posts but are your opportunity to get creative too.

2. Lattice panels

Lattice panels can provide some degree of privacy, which is ideal if your decking houses your hot tub or you simply want to cordon off the space. You could even build a taller balustrade and attach a ledge so you have your very own bar.

3. Different railing materials

You can also experiment with materials. Metal railings make a smart and modern contrast to the wooden deck. You could also use reclaimed branches for a rustic feel or go completely modern and use glass - whatever works best for your style!

Decking colour ideas

Decking is available in loads of different materials which means you have a wide choice of colours too.

However, you don’t have to be limited by the natural colour of your decking. There are plenty of stains, oils, and paints available that can change the colour of the deck. 

1. White decking

White is a good way to introduce space, so it's a great idea for a small garden. Plus it’s great if you want to create a Mediterranean feel for your garden.

2. Grey decking

Painting your decking grey can add a modern touch to any decking and is also a great contrast to colourful plants and compliments most furniture colours.

3. Natural decking

Leaving your deck a natural shade of brown has a laid back feel and helps it blend in a little more with its surroundings. Decking oil is best if you want to emphasise the natural colour of the deck and stain is useful to add a natural colour to your deck. 

4. Green decking 

If you don’t want to go complete au natural with your colour but want to complement the garden, green decking is a great alternative to traditional brown decking. 

5. Black decking 

Want to create the ultimate sleek and sophisticated look for your garden? Then why not opt for black decking. To make a real statement, you could dress the decking with white furniture or plant points to create a bold and chic monochrome theme.


Hopefully, you’ve now got plenty of outdoor deck ideas to turn your decking into a feature in your garden. We’ve got all the tools you need to build, lay and look after your decking

Find your nearest Ronseal stockist to pick up what you need to get your project going.