Patio, Decking & Fencing

Decking Buying Guide

Stylish and charming, a decking area is perfect for expanding your home. Whether you want somewhere to get the grill going or to host the garden party of the year, decks make amazing social spots. You don’t need a large space either – you’ll find a variety of decking kits and boards that work wonderfully in smaller gardens. Laying and maintaining a deck isn’t as difficult as you’d think, although there are a few things to consider before jumping straight into your garden makeover.

How to plan a decking area and what to consider

Once you’re sure you want to create a decking area, you can move on to the planning process and start overhauling your space. But first, ask these questions to ensure you’re taking the right approach.

  • How much of your garden do you want to be taken up by a deck? You’ll have to decide if you’re willing to dig up any existing plants and measure out the space to ensure the deck will fit.
  • What is your budget? A budget is important as it’ll help you decide on the materials you use and the design of your choice. Don’t forget to consider the price of tools and decking accessories.
  • Can you build it on your own? It will be better to ask a few friends or a labourer to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently.
  • Where will your deck go? Most decks are located at the back of the house or garden. Measuring the area may help you determine where it will fit best.
  • Where will the garden furniture go? Decks look great when paired with matching garden furniture sets. Make sure you have enough room for your chosen furniture by measuring and marking the ground where you plan to lay it.
  • What tools do you need? You can find a list of all the tools you’ll need in our ‘How To Lay Decking’ guide, most of which you likely already have in your toolbox

Does decking need planning permission?

You do not normally need planning permission to put down a deck. The only case where you should apply for planning permission is if your decking area is more than 30cm high, so make sure you have a tape measure to hand when laying your deck.

Decking types: board, tiles or kits

There are three main types of decking including decking kits, boards and tiles, all of which have their own individual pros and cons.

Decking Types: Pros And Cons
Decking Type Pros Cons
Board Adds value to the home, looks like a traditional deck, long-lasting Will have to be treated in advance to avoid rot or damp, can be the most expensive.
Tiles Ideal for small decks, easy to install and remove as they snap in place, can be placed over existing surfaces Not always seamless, don’t last as long as other options.
Kits Ready to use, quick assembly, everything included, very affordable. Set designs, less freedom to style it as you want.

What kind of decking material is best?

There are a few different options when it comes to decking material, all with different price points and benefits. Start by thinking about how you want your deck to look – wood is best for those who prefer a traditional deck, whereas aluminium is more modern and contemporary.

Once you’ve decided on the appearance, have a look at the guide below to find the perfect option for your home:

Decking Material: Pros And Cons
Material Pros Cons
Natural Wood Charming and authentic appearance, some types can be very affordable. Requires maintenance or can rot and split.
Composite Both weather and stain resistant, requires little maintenance, strong. Doesn’t age as well as other types and can begin to bend or dip.
Aluminium Durable, no chance of rotting, slip resistant. Expensive, not traditional in appearance.
Plastic Maintenance is quick and easy, lightweight. Unnatural in appearance.
Pressure-Treated Wood Affordable, resistant against rot and mildew. Doesn’t look as realistic as natural wood.

Decking accessories

As well as the decking itself, you also need a variety of accessories. We have listed the main ones here and their role in your new deck – such as joists, balustrades, steps, lighting.

  • 1. Joists

    Creating a suitable base to lay your decking on is vital as it helps to improve stability and resistance from slipping. Decking joists are used as a base underneath the boards, which is known as a subframe.

  • 2. Decking risers

    These are used to ensure the ground is as even as possible and the joists are the correct height. Not only are they remarkably easy to apply, but they are extremely affordable too.

  • 3. Balustrades

    Also known as a spindle, balustrades are used to create a secure rail around a raised deck. They offer increased stability and protection against falls or slips, as well as adding more decoration to the area.

  • 4. Steps

    Steps allow easy access onto a high platform and can be easily attached to most types of deck. They’re a key accessory for those with children, pets or raised decking.

  • 5. Lighting

    As the name suggests, there are lights made specifically for use with decking. These twinkling LED strips prevent slips in the dark by lighting up the garden, helping to create the perfect social area.

Shop all decking accessories

How to take care of a deck

The easiest way of keeping a deck clean is by blasting away any stubborn dirt and grime with a pressure washer. You’ll need to sweep up any debris and remove furniture before starting, but this is a quick job that’s over in a matter of minutes.

Available in a variety of sizes, keeping your deck looking its very best has never been easier thanks to these powerful machines. Not sure how to clean a deck with one? Just read our guide on pressure washing decks and you’ll be good to go.

If you do find your deck looking a little bit drab over time and steady use, you can rejuvenate it with a lick of paint. Make sure you only use specialised wood or deck paint as this will ensure it’s protected against harsh weather conditions.



Writer and expert