Read about the different decking types and their pros and cons to see which is the best option for you.
Decking is a fantastic addition to any garden, upgrading the practical use and aesthetic of any outdoor space.
Once you get past the excitement of choosing to have decking; however, it can be quite confusing and overwhelming realising, there is a seemingly endless choice out there when it comes to choosing the right one.
To help you choose the perfect decking boards for your garden, we have listed everything you need to know about decking to help you get the ideal DIY results.
The Different Types Of Decking Boards
There are a wide variety of decking materials available. For simplicity, we have rounded these up to three main categories which are: composite, softwood and hardwood. The essential qualities of these materials are:
Composite Decking Boards
Composite decking is an innovative material that comes in tiles or boards that you can use in your outdoor space. It is made of a combination of wood and plastic and tends to offer a better variety of aesthetics. Which is positive because you can’t stain or switch the colour of the decking boards you choose.
Composite can also be very eco-friendly because it lasts so long and often comes from plastic and wood waste mixtures. If being eco-friendly is important to you, you may wish to choose companies that offer composite decking boards that are made from waste materials.
You may also be interested in the eco-friendly gardening section of our Wezaggle blog, so be sure to check it out.
The plastic aspect of composite decking makes the product hardy when it comes to rain and wet weather. It is also highly unlikely to suffer from mould or slippery algae taking over its surfaces.
Customers who appreciate new products will love that composite decking is also known to be low-maintenance, which is an excellent thing if you aren’t the type to maintain your garden regularly.
Composite decking is generally quite high in price because it is a superior decking material. You can expect it to cost even more if you have more top-grade types with in-built lighting. All that said, it can last over 50 years, so you are unlikely ever to need to replace it.
- More eco-friendly
- Longer lasting (compared to timber boards)
- No dis-colouring
- Low maintenance
- Expensive system
- Many colours and wood grades available!
Hardwood Decking Boards
Hardwood is a traditional material used for decking and tends to come from trees like Oak. This kind of decking material can fetch a steep price because trees like oak grow slow, so manufacturers can’t quickly cut more stock. Hardwood is also generally much more challenging to work with compared to other materials.
It isn’t all bad news though if you are willing to invest in hardwood. It can last over 50 years, and it is much less demanding when it comes to maintenance compared to other decking materials. It also looks stunning if fitted right.
- Must be protected, oil or stained every year
- Will last 20 years if protected against moisture
- Not eco-friendly option because hardwood takes many years to grow
- Will discolour if not treated/oiled
Softwood Decking Boards
Softwood is generally the cheapest decking material and comes from trees like pine. This kind of decking material is less expensive in general because the trees it comes from are quicker growers, so manufacturers can quickly replace and sell the stock.
When well maintained, softwood decking can last around 25 years. You can also switch the colour and finish with ease, which is handy if you love to try out different aesthetics in your garden.
It isn’t all positive with softwood, though, as there are some downsides. Primarily, the main softwood negative is that it tends to be weaker than other types of wood and so, lasts only half the time of hardwood and composite. Softwood also needs the most care and attention to keep it in excellent condition.
- Must be protected and treated regularly
- Much cheaper compared to the alternative
- More eco-friendly compared to hardwood
Installing A DIY Decking Project!
For safety, it is an excellent idea to consider anti-slip decking. Lots of companies might only recommend it for very wet areas of the UK, but realistically, safety is always a good idea for a surface you walk on.
There are varnishes, paints & decking oils you can choose from so you aren’t limited when making your decking boards anti-slip. The important thing is that you do take the care and attention when it comes to making this fantastic area of your garden as safe as possible in any weather.
When it comes to installing the decking itself, there is a multitude of ways to go about it. You can have a professional company install decking, but realistically, most DIY competent people can take on this kind of task.
Using a decking kit or the raw materials and a bespoke plan, you can create the perfect decking space. There are multiple Youtube guides on laying your decking, which is worth checking out to see if you think you are up to the task.
We explain the process of building & planning your decking DIY project: Read our guide and ask any questions you might have!
The Decking Is Laid, Now What?
Once your deckings down it’s time for the fun bit: dressing. Here are our top decking dressing tips:
- What about overhead? A Shelter is a good idea in UK decking areas. You could also consider a pergola for vines and overhead fruiting plants.
- Get involved in the “Grow Your Own Movement” by planting fruits and veggies in pots on your decking.
- Keep light in mind for evening decking entertainment. We love fairy lights for a soft, beautiful aesthetic suitable for any occasion.
- Be playful with your soft furnishings to express yourself with prints and colour you might be too afraid to use inside the house.
- Heating is an excellent idea for chilly evenings on the decking. You can get chandelier type heat lamps or more traditional fire pits if the decking has a section far enough away from the house.
- How about a touch of luxury with a hot tub or a daybed?
- Don’t forget the option to have excellent cooking options like a pizza oven, grill or even an outdoor kitchen.
With the right decking materials and build, you’ll be able to create an incredible outdoor space for the whole family to enjoy.
Try to think of decking as an extension of your indoor property. An outdoor room that you can be more creative and expressive in than anywhere else on your property.
It is a place to have fun and let loose—your very own patch of nature.
If you want even more inspiration for your decking and garden, please take a look at our Wezaggle blog which we regularly update with tips, tricks and interesting facts.