Make the most of your outdoor space this summer with these great raised decking ideas.
A raised deck can instantly elevate the aesthetic appeal and practical qualities of any outdoor area, regardless of its size, shape and style. Whether you’re after a grand porch to welcome visitors to your home, a laid-back rear terrace to while away lazy afternoons and long evenings or a space-efficient solution to make the most of the cosy dimensions available to you, there’s sure to be a raised decking option to meet your needs.
Of course, many of these ideas are likely to entail a hefty outlay and no little elbow grease to install, while some of them call for professional help. However, spending a little time and money today will stand you in good stead going forwards, since you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor areas all the more in the years to come.
For those looking for a little inspiration with how to approach a raised deck in the area around their home, here are a handful of jumping off points to get those creative juices flowing.
Twelve ideas for raised garden deck areas
1) Extend the interior outdoors
The best outdoor designs don’t feel like a separate entity to the house itself, but rather a continuation of the same living space in an alfresco environment. Raised decking offers a great opportunity to achieve that effect by mirroring the existing décor in the room which looks out onto it, thereby blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor and creating a seamless feng shui throughout both.
For the best results, try to use the same materials and colour schemes that are present in the adjacent room on your decking – and that goes for the furniture as well as the structure itself. Meanwhile, throws, cushions and comfortable chairs are ideal for crafting an inviting aesthetic in an outdoor situation.
2) Bring the beach to you
There’s nothing quite like the seaside for evoking memories of holidays and happiness. So why not bring the beach to you? While you might not be able to replicate the soothing sounds of the ocean or its salty scent on the breeze, you can design your outdoor decking area to mimic the same aesthetic. Consider creating a boardwalk of wooden planks leading to your deck, separated by grass, pebbles or stones for a really laid-back feel.
As for the deck itself, an inbuilt sand pit is great for the kids, while positioning a couple of sun loungers in a south-facing location allows you to take advantage of those UV rays on hotter days. Just remember to include some shading in the shape of tarpaulins, parasols or other materials to ensure you don’t go overboard and burn yourself.
3) Screened pergolas create privacy
If you live in an urban environment, privacy from your neighbours might be a chief concern in your back garden. That’s why creating an enclosed area around your raised decking with the use of a pergola can be a great idea for making the space truly your own. While the framework of the pergola won’t conceal your area alone, it makes a great lattice for weaving a screen from natural materials.
For example, a seagrass screen is the perfect option that keeps out prying eyes and protects from the harshest rays of the sun, but still lets plenty of light through to keep the space illuminated. Other alternatives include training climbers or trailers to drape over the walls of your pergola, or else using linen (pictured above) to construct a hidey-hole that will feel public and private all at the same time.
4) Glazed pergolas protect against rainfall
There’s something incredibly soothing about listening to the gentle pitter-patter of rain on the roof of an outdoor structure as you take in its heady aroma and luxuriate in the feeling of being dry even when it’s wet all around. Take the pergola idea one step further by adding a glazed roof, which will allow you to gaze up at the stars and stay protected from the elements all at the same time.
Of course, we all know that the British climate isn’t just renowned for its precipitation, which is why adding a heating feature is also a good idea. Heat lamps and fire pits are both attractive options that can bring warmth and charm to your raised decking area, ensuring you keep cosy even as the nights begin to draw in and the mercury plummets.
5) Bespoke barbecuing area
One of life’s finer pleasures is eating outdoors and it’s even more enjoyable when the food can be cooked al fresco, as well. Make the most of the warmer days of summer by creating a purpose-built cooking area outside, complete with barbecue, dining table and sink. For a really impressive look, situate the whole lot on a raised deck to differentiate it from the rest of the garden and add grandeur to your design.
For situations like this, wooden decking is the ideal choice. On the one hand, it replicates the laminate flooring found in most kitchens and creates a subconscious link with an environment we’re all familiar with. On the other hand, it greatly facilitates the clean-up operation in the case of spills, accidents and dropped crockery.
6) Pond perimeter
While ponds were all the rage last century, they have slowly fallen out of favour in recent years, with many homeowners feeling they look antiquated. However, the serenity and pastoral bliss that a pond brings to the home should not be underestimated, so homeowners who want to include such a water feature without sacrificing their modern aesthetic would do well to consider installing a raised deck around its perimeter.
Indeed, the deck will look all the smarter and more sophisticated if it has been custom-built to follow the contours of the pond itself. Just be wary that birds like herons and storks are always looking for goldfish, koi carp or other scaly delicacies to fill their bellies and will likely appreciate having a perch from which to conduct their scavenge, so be sure to take precautions to ward them off.
7) Hot tub hedonism
If you’re the sort of homeowner who favours the finer things in life, an alfresco hot tub in your back yard could be the piece de resistance of your home’s exterior design scheme. Nothing complements that better than a raised deck surrounding it, since it will not only look incredible, but also provide reliable footing for when you emerge from the steamy waters with slippery feet.
Similar principles to the ones raised above apply here, too; combining two primal elements like water and wood inevitably results in an end product that’s pleasing on the eye. Of course, the same argument could be replicated for introducing a swimming pool into your back yard, as well, but the British climate isn’t quite so conducive to such luxuries. Instead, an external hot tub with overhead roofing and underfoot decking is the perfect compromise to enjoy the Great Outdoors, whatever the weather.
8) Treehouse playground
Having a treehouse you can call your own is the stuff of dreams for many children, so why not make your own offspring’s wildest fantasies come true in your back yard? Of course, this really only applies to those homes which already have a sturdy specimen in it, but if that’s the case, constructing around the tree isn’t as complicated or expensive as you might think.
Indeed, building a raised deck around the trunk itself actually allows you to capitalise on the structural support that the tree offers, facilitating the job and enhancing the safety of the space in one fell swoop. The project might take a little bit of planning and effort, but it’ll be worth it in spades once you see the expression on your little ones’ faces when they first feast their eyes on the final result.
9) Level the playing field
An uneven surface in your back garden is enough to turn plenty of potential buyers off a property, since the topography of the land often makes for an unattractive space that is impractical and ugly. This is where raised decking can really come into its own; with a little bit of ingenious architectural nous and a mite of imagination, you can turn a slope from a con into a pro and create a visually stunning effect for your garden.
Of course, building a deck across a number of different levels is markedly more complex than constructing a single raised platform, so it’s highly advisable to call in professionals to help you with this kind of project. However, you can’t put a price on the added functionality and finesse that a multi-level raised deck brings to any space in which it inhabits, as evidenced by the gorgeous design pictured above.
10) Back yard tiki bar
Above all, you should be able to enjoy the outdoor spaces in and around your home, and a glass or two of your favourite cocktail will always makes the good times that little bit fuzzier. With that in mind, a raised decking area can serve as the perfect platform for a homemade tiki bar, complete with bamboo decoration, hanging lanterns and an exotic drinks list. We can guarantee it’ll be the star of the show in your back yard!
Even if you don’t have the funds or the time to build a bespoke bar, you can still purchase free-standing furniture that can be positioned to replicate the look and feel of your favourite watering hole. Just remember to use rugs or mats to increase the friction underfoot and prevent any unnecessary slips and trips after one too many mojitos.
11) Extend a grandiose welcome to all-comers
For those homeowners lucky enough to hold the deeds to a larger property, a raised deck can be the perfect accompaniment to maximise the grandeur of your home’s front-facing façade. By expanding a standard porch into an American-style stoop with plenty of room for lounging around and watching the world go by, you can enhance the value of your home and the quality of your life in a single stroke.
Of course, it’s not only stately homes and grand manors which will benefit from a raised decking porch. Even more modestly proportioned premises will benefit from the construction of a deck outside the front door, extending the warmest of welcomes to all those who cross your threshold. Embellish the area with a bench, hammock or rocking chair and you’ve got yourself one sweet set-up.
12) Don’t forget man’s best friend
When most people plan out a raised deck, they focus only on what will sit atop its surface. Of course, that should certainly constitute a primary concern, but the space underneath the decking is all too often forgotten, turning into a cluttered storage space or, worse still, an abandoned wasteland that’s a perfect breeding ground for pests and pestilence.
Instead, why not capitalise upon that shaded square footage by creating an area specifically designed for your pets? A sheltered outhouse is particularly useful in the UK, where rainy days are never far away. Position a bed, a water bowl and a few of their favourite toys down there and your canine companions will fully appreciate the effort you’ve gone to in providing them a place to shelter from the harsher extremes of the sun and rain.