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charming decking ideas for small gardens

Are you eager to transform your compact exterior space into a charming sanctum? Whether you have a petite garden or a snug courtyard, the prospect of decking opens the door to countless possibilities, which is part and parcel of a fun outdoor project.

In this article, we’ll give you 10 ingenious decking ideas tailor-made for small gardens and courtyards. Before diving into the fun part, it’s essential to establish a solid foundation and answer crucial questions regarding your project. Let’s kick things off.

Finding small garden decking ideas to meet your needs

Whether you have wide outdoor expanses, a long, narrow garden or something far more compact, take heart; there is boundless potential for building a decked area that will fulfil your requirements without becoming an eye sore amongst the rest of your exterior decor.

Irrespective of its size, every plot beckons for the same essential components to realise its full potential. Begin with the foundations and envision your garden as a blank canvas – how can the area function to align with your desired outcomes?

A great starting point is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the intended primary function of the deck? Is it meant for relaxation, dining, a play area or perhaps other uses?
  • Do you have a specific view of the garden or any surroundings that you’d like to appreciate from the deck?
  • Should the deck be designed to accommodate changes in elevation or terrain?
  • Are you willing to invest time in maintenance for your deck? Timber, for instance, often demands more care compared to composite decking.
  • In terms of the garden’s overall aesthetics, do you lean towards a modern decking style, a more rustic design, or perhaps something in between?
  • Is privacy a concern? To ensure your deck isn’t overly exposed, have you considered methods to enhance its privacy such as a trellised fence?

When considering the design and layout of your new deck, it could be beneficial to consult with a landscape designer to explore creative ideas that will maximise the potential of your outdoor space.

Here’s another tip: check out our handy decking calculator to estimate the amount of materials you will need along with the cost. This will help you decide whether going down the DIY route is your best option, building from scratch or selecting a ready-to-install decking kit.

botanical decking ideas for a small garden

10 garden decking ideas for small gardens and courtyards

Now that you’ve considered the fundamentals, we can get down to the fun bit. Here are 10 creative decking ideas for small gardens and snug courtyards.

1.     Create a cosy corner draped with lights and blankets

We’re obsessed with these corner decking ideas for small gardens. Simply hang soft, twinkling string lights overhead and drape a selection of warm, snug blankets over your seating area. Add a few plush cushions for extra comfort and watch as your outdoor space shifts and melts into an enchanting, inviting nook, perfect for stargazing or intimate conversations on cool evenings.

2.     Emphasise the natural shape of the garden

By allowing your decking to hug the natural shapes of your exterior space, you will immediately feel a sense of freedom as you are no longer hampered by awkward angles and undulating curves. Like curved patios, lawns and paths, a curved deck has a special appeal. Distracting the eye from the dimensions of the plot and making use of pesky corners, these smooth lines can also work to create an effortlessly modern or organic feel.

Once you’ve had a thought about placement, you’ll want to think about which type of decking fits the bill. You can get custom-shaped decks, or you can opt for a decking kit with one finished side that will fit at the end of the garden, or perhaps a fully finished one (all 3 sides finished) to sit snugly against a single wall.

3.     Opt for the traditional country feel

To achieve a rustic and authentic aesthetic, you can opt for sustainably sourced hardwoods such as our solid redwood, known for its traditional craftsmanship, durability, and classic country charm. Once you have your hardwood decking in place, adding an abundance of planters filled with wild meadow flowers and a pair of sun loungers will complete the picture.

4.     Modernise your plot with grey accents

The grey trend is never going away because it’s just too cool. For any fledgling painters, this might be your time to grab a paintbrush, give that decking a makeover and really shine. Not so creatively inclined? No worries! There are so many grey composite decking options from charcoal to cool smoked oak, and they make a great cost-effective substitute for natural wood.

grey decking ideas for small gardens

5.     Go down the multipurpose route

We all know that being outdoors is good for our health, but getting fresh air during the work week is easier said than done. But if you make it more inviting, you’ve already won half the battle.

Why not make your small garden deck a versatile space that accommodates various activities? Consider incorporating a foldable table for working or dining, storage benches that double up as seating, and potted plants that purify the air. This way, you can seamlessly transition the area from a remote work spot during the day to a cosy entertainment hub in the evening, all while keeping you connected to nature.

6.     Level up the visual intrigue with layers

Decking in small gardens doesn’t have to be small in stature or small in ambition when there is so much vertical space to work with. We say embrace the vertical space at your disposal to create a multi-dimensional masterpiece.

Layer your deck with various elements like raised beds, tiered seating, or cascading hanging gardens or wall planters. These layers not only add depth and visual interest, but also seek to maximise the use of space in your cramped garden. Let your imagination soar as you explore the possibilities of making your small garden deck a dynamic and captivating outdoor retreat.

7.     Mix and match with complementary materials

Consider adding a touch of creativity to your garden design by incorporating flagstones or paving stones that match the colour scheme of your decking. This addition not only defines a tidy border for your deck but also introduces an element of contrast in textures, lending an intriguing and modern aesthetic to your outdoor space. For natural wood lovers, this is a great opportunity to pair your timber decking with other woods such as railway sleepers, which can be used as retaining walls, steps and raised beds, and more!

8.     Combine with lattice fencing to exude romanticism

To infuse your small garden deck with a touch of fairytale allure, consider combining it with lattice fencing. The delicate patterns of lattice fencing add a sense of romanticism to your outdoor space, evoking images of charming gardens and secluded hideaways, plus you can encourage your favourite twining plants to climb them.

The interplay of light and shadow created by the latticework, along with the climbing plants it can support, adds a sense of privacy and mystery, making your deck an intimate escape where you can bask in the beauty of a romantic evening with a glass of wine or a serene morning with your first cuppa of the day.

9.     Set a restful tone by incorporating a small water feature

If a dash of zen is music to your ears, then you will love the following small garden decking ideas. Incorporating a modest water feature such as a raised pond or bubbling fountain will infuse the soul-healing sound of flowing water and the captivating, dappled visuals of rippling reflections into the space. You can already feel your shoulders loosening…

10.  Get in the zone with a flattering decked partition

Segmenting our outdoor areas is a trendy approach to mirror our indoor lifestyles, akin to creating an outdoor living room. Employing two distinct flooring materials serves to bestow a sense of both cohesion and intention upon the garden, offering clear demarcation of separate zones.

While garden partitions offer a wealth of ideas, the introduction of a designated dining space via a raised deck or even a decked walkway can provide a classy and functional appeal. Contrast this with other segments such as a play area, which is ideally situated on a grassy lawn, providing a soft cushion for playtime.

Working out how to decorate your decking

Once your small garden deck is in place, the fun truly begins. Deck decorating can feel like a paradigm shift when you turn the entire aesthetic on its head.

Start by selecting the right outdoor furniture that complements your style, whether that’s soft lounge chairs you can simply melt into, a sleek dining set, or a combination of both. Consider adding zany outdoor cushions and textiles to inject personality into your deck or paint your fencing to add a pop of background colour.

Potted plants, hanging baskets, and outdoor lighting can also create a welcoming atmosphere and raised beds can enclose the space, casting a spell of botanic beauty. Personal touches like sculptures, wind chimes or decorative rugs can add character to your deck. Don’t forget about the practical elements too! Consider what storage solutions you’ll need, and all-weather furniture covers to keep your deck looking its best year-round.

How do I look after my decking?

So you know which decking ideas are going to work for your plot, but how do you keep it looking as pristine as when you installed it?

Well, first things first, proper maintenance is key to ensuring your decking stands the test of time. Regularly inspect your deck for signs of wear and tear, like loose boards, nails, or screws. Clean your deck periodically to remove dirt, debris, and mould to prevent slippery surfaces and wood damage.

Depending on your choice of material, you may also need to seal or stain your deck to protect it from the elements and keep an eye on your drainage situation to prevent water damage and rot. If you have a wooden deck, be prepared to perform more extensive maintenance, including sanding and resealing every few years. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the care and maintenance of your specific decking material to keep it looking its best.

Small deck, big ideas

With our decking ideas for small gardens and cramped outdoor spaces, you can rest assured that your small deck doesn’t equal small ambitions. As well as being a wonderfully practical solution to a tiny, sloped garden, they make room for a vibrant and cosy backdrop to your new al fresco seating area, bringing a great energy and sense of cohesion to an otherwise confused space.

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