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garden decking balustrade ideas

While you might have painstakingly planned out the materials for your raised deck  – wood or composite – along with its size, decking railings are just as important. The best balustrade ideas and railing choices will not only finish off the overall look but create a secure boundary, ideal for keeping the little ones safe or preventing slips by a deckside pool.

Why add railings or balustrades to your decking?

As the days grow longer and the weather brighter, we’re likely going to spend more time in our gardens absorbing the sun from the beautiful vantage point of a raised deck. All the more reason to give it an upgrade.

Once you’ve chosen and laid your garden decking, it’s wise to top it off with a railing or balustrade to help accident-proof the surface for everyone who uses it. Not only do they make the surface more navigable for your guests with mobility issues, particularly as they climb up and down steps, but they may well be required for high-level decks.

According to IRC Deck Code Requirements, any deck with an elevation greater than 300mm should have a balustrade with a handrail of at least 1100mm from the ground. What’s more, if your decking has steps leading up to it that are 1m wide, you’ll need to add railings on either side of them.

Besides these essential safety requirements, a balustrade system is the perfect excuse to elevate your overall garden décor – after all, from a distance, it will be the first thing your eyes will fall on. Coming in a range of styles from rustic, modern or even “Colonial”, you can coordinate the aesthetic with both your deck and your home’s exterior to achieve a flattering contrast.

Balustrades vs railings

Before we share our handrail inspiration, it’s worth giving a quick explainer of the difference between balustrades and railings. While often used interchangeably, these two terms have several differences which can be summarised as the following.

  • Balustrades: A series of small vertical posts or pillars, usually connected by a handrail.
  • Railings: A single continuous structure that runs along the edge of the deck.

Balustrades are usually employed for their aesthetic appeal, while railings are more functional serving to give users something to grip as they traverse the decking.

10 tasteful decking railing & balustrade ideas

Railings can be a tasteful addition to any deck, providing you with an intimate and enclosed space to unwind. However, it’s crucial to ensure that it is safe and secure, particularly if you have young children or pets.

When considering your decking railing ideas, you should think about how your garden is going to be used. Will young kids be zipping around? Are there any stairs? Do you have pets? Or do you want to divide your garden into different zones?

All of these factors will impact the type and height of the deck railing you choose. Remember, they are essential safety features for any deck, but that doesn’t mean they have to be dull. Case in point, our 10 railing and balustrade ideas.

white decking railing ideas

1.     Lean into minimalism with neutral railings

While there is a huge variety of design features out there, sometimes simple is best. For those after a minimal garden look, the smooth, clean lines of neutral decking railings prove an artful choice. Our universal handrails fit the bill; crafted from FSC-certified wood these timber railings merge beautifully with both modern and more traditional garden features.

2.     Get the nautical look with wooden railings and manila rope

For something a little more “seaside”, pair wooden balustrades with lengths of manila rope as your handrail. Ideal for holiday homes and nautical-themed gardens, this quirky addition can completely lift a wooden or wood-look deck, injecting a little sunshine into the space.

3.     Exude Georgian charm with colonial-style balustrades

If you want to go in a more regal or formal direction, colonial-style balustrades are an excellent option that work well to bring your decking into a bygone era of luxury. Particularly suited to period properties and Georgian architecture, these ornate touches can turn a lovely, decked area into a majestic one.

4.     Go uber modern with grey composite railings

Now in the opposite direction, you could try modern. In with the trends, grey composite decking is practically calling out for a matching railing set. Extremely sturdy and effortlessly cool, composite balustrades offer unrivalled durability and are available in whatever shade you desire from Welsh grey to charcoal.

5.     Stick to tradition with chamfered decking spindles

Chamfered decking spindles can be easily combined with wooden balusters to create bespoke decking balustrades that speak to a sense of classic sophistication. Whether you have an expansive garden or something on the smaller size, these functional accessories make for a stylish addition to a traditional decking set-up.

wooden decking railings on a beautiful veranda

6.     Use your balustrades to zone dedicated garden areas

We talk about zoning a lot on this blog, but nevertheless, it remains an effective tactic for using your outdoor space wisely and keeping things cohesive. You can create a cosy setting by using your balustrades to hem in a little social nook in the corner. And, if you’re extra clever, you can harmonise them with the backdrop hues to create the illusion of space.

7.     Complement your decking railings with your home’s exterior

It’s prudent to consider your home’s exterior and the architectural features you’ll be framing when you incorporate railings into your decking scheme. A timber handrail will be well-suited for an older property while composite may be more in keeping with a new build.

8.     Enhance the view with glass-panelled railings

From the vantage point of your raised deck, you want to drink in the view of your rolling lawn and the vibrant foliage. Now, it would be a shame to cover that up with thick, unrelenting balustrades, wouldn’t it?

Fortunately, we can suggest the perfect solution: glass-panelled railings. While admittedly they can be quite tricky to install, the results are beautiful with light pouring in and clear unobstructed views.

9.     Mix and match materials

To build up a textural contrast you might want to mix and match materials. Whether that’s wood and stone or composite and glass, these differences can create striking visual appeal that draws the eye.

10.  Turn your railings into a focal point with striking patterned panels

We’re going out with a bang, so here’s our most showing-stopping idea. Why not fit out your handrails with arresting patterned panels? From a 20s-inspired sunburst to a geometric cross-hatch design, there are so many options that tick the box for creativity whilst providing a needed pinch of privacy.

simple decking balustrade ideas

From plain to showstopping

With these railing and balustrade ideas, anyone can take their garden deck to the next level. Remember, these safety features are not only a relatively easy way to provide an extra layer of security, but they can be visually stunning too, adding a lot of appeal to your outdoor space.

Simple to install and crafted for year-round use, they are well worth the investment. So, no matter the primary reason, you can be sure that you will love these handy additions for years to com

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