I’m often asked by clients if they would be better off with a patio or a deck for their garden. There isn’t a definitive answer as to which is better because it depends on your location, tastes and lifestyle needs. But there are pros and cons to each which will help you decide. Here are some of the main things to consider:
- Easy maintenance (if you’ve chosen a good quality paving)
- Wide variety of colours, shapes and textures
- Paving looks good with a larger selection of property styles
- Longevity (if you’ve chosen a good quality paving)
- More intensive construction required underneath a patio, especially in areas with a lot of ground movement where reinforcement is needed
- Environmental impact of using concrete
- Quicker, easier construction, especially if raised above ground level
- Natural looking material
- Slightly cheaper depending on wood used
- Maintenance (requires regular oiling if you want to keep its brown colour)
- Longevity (more of an issue with untreated softwood decking)
- Can be very slippery in winter
The 1st Consideration…
Whilst the above list does have valid issues to consider, the place I like to start with is the style and type of property someone has. If you live in the middle of rural England in a beautiful old house, decking probably isn’t going to be the best material to use as it won’t be in keeping with the house style.
However, if you live in the USA with a timber clad house, decking will look great with it. So think about the type of house you have first and foremost, before taking the things in the list above into account.
You may well have the type of house that will suit either paving or decking. In this case, the next thing to consider is personal taste. Does one material draw you more than the other? For those of you muttering “No, that’s why I’m reading this, just tell me which one to choose already!” hang on, we’re getting there…
If that doesn’t narrow it down to a definitive “I want this one” answer, the next thing to look at is the style of garden that draws you. Are you more of a traditional or modern garden type of person?
What Garden Style Are You Trying to Create?
Do you like simple, clean lines or lots of interesting details and textures? If you want lots of detail and interesting features then paving will be a better choice for you. It’s much easier to create interesting patterns and different textures with paving than it is with decking.
If you like clean lines and minimal detail, then decking is great for this. Minimal detail can of course be achieved with one size of paving but because the individual paving slabs are much shorter than deck boards, paving will always look slightly ‘fussier’ than decking.
Have It All!
It’s Important You Design Your Deck or Patio Properly…
There’s a lot more that goes into creating a great looking patio or deck than we’ve discussed here. The design shapes you use play an even more critical role than which materials you use. So it’s really important to spend a little bit of time deciding which shapes will suite your home and work with the rest of your garden.
If you’d like to learn exactly how to create a stunning patio or deck, then check out the online garden design courses we do here at Successful Garden Design.