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How much does garden decking cost?

Garden decking became popular after a host of television programmes introduced the concept to the British public. Timber decking is a favourite for good reason, it is an alternative to hard patio surfaces and it is low maintenance meaning you can have a stylish area in your garden for seating, socialising and entertaining with minimal effort.

Decking is made out of timber and there are a few key factors which affect the cost:-

  • The type of timber you choose
  • The size of the area
  • Preparation and excavation work
  • The complexity of the design
  • Your geographical location

Timber decking is usually split into three categories which are budget, medium and premium timber. Budget decking is typically what you will find in your local DIY store or garden centre. Medium range decking will offer more flexibility if you want to bespoke the design although these are still mass-produced products. Premium options will include top-quality woods.

The average cost for a timber decking area is between £1,000 and £2,000 assuming a space of around 20 square metres and a mid-range medium quality timber. These costs include all preparation and installation. Premium timber will retail at around £100 per square metre and increase the cost to about £2,500 whereas a budget pine timber would be significantly cheaper. If you do the work yourself then you will only have the price for the timber and any additional materials like a membrane.

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The advantages of timber decking

Timber decking is almost always made from sustainable wood from responsible producers who harvest from forest operated under management schemes which include renewal through fresh planting. This is a very important point for many purchasers but there are pluses:-

  • Timber is a natural product which looks so at home in a garden
  • Timber is the only material currently in mainstream construction which is a totally renewable resource
  • Timber is durable and sturdy especially compared to plastic and composite decking
  • Hardwoods require little or no maintenance and can last forty plus years
  • Timber decking can be customised to your garden design with lots of additional and stylish features such as pergolas, trellises, garden steps and balustrades. As a product, decking offers almost infinite design possibilities and you can add to it or extend it at a later date
  • Timber can offer anti-slip features which are superior to composite materials and which perform better in wet weather


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Decking boards have a reputation of being slippery when wet

Decking boards can become slippery in wet weather or just even in the dew morning and evening in the spring and summer. What actually causes this is mould, moss and algae which, if allowed to flourish, can create the effect of an ice rink in the right conditions. Use a chemical fungicide annually to prevent this building up on the wood and you will not encounter a tricky surface making your decking safe to use all year round.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest and the most expensive woods for garden decking?

Pine is the most inexpensive and affordable wood and is very fashionable and is easily installed with nails and screws but over time, it can suffer quite badly from cracks and splits as it is a soft wood. At the other end of the spectrum, cedar or tropical hardwoods will cost more but last much longer.

How long does it take to install decking?

An area of twenty square metres could take two to four days to install. Much depends on the state of the site, the preparatory works that are needed and whether there is old decking or a patio surface which needs to be removed first.

What are the drawbacks to timber decking?

There are some drawbacks to timber decking and the main one is the level of fade with the sun’s rays, some people prefer this but for many, this is one of the main downsides of this product. Budget timber can be high maintenance and will require annual care and repair to keep it looking its best to avoid splits and cracks. You may need to apply waterproof coatings to prevent rot and despite this, timber can warp or bend over time. The main way to minimise the disadvantages of timber decking is to install the best quality product you can afford at the outset.

What are deck tiles?

Deck tiles are a new system which allows you to disguise old decking or patios and they can be finished as either wood or stone. Deck tiles cost anywhere between £3 and £5 per tile and don’t require professional installation. Deck tiles come in a range of colours and are extremely durable and hard-wearing – they can be made of wood or composite material. It is easy to replace one or two if they become damaged and you can take them with you when you move.

Can I add lights to decking?

Decking lights can hugely enhance and stylise the look of a new timber decking area and there are various options to choose from. Path lights range in price from about £60 to £80 per light, floodlights from £60 through to around £120 and wall lanterns are a similar cost. Decking lights can make what is a relatively plain timber area into a real feature after dark and if you have an outdoor hot tub then this is a great look for the winter as well.

Can I put a hot tub on timber decking?

Hot tubs can be immensely heavy when they are full of water so a standard timber decking installation will not have been designed to bear this weight. Your current decking may need reinforcement to support the extra load or, if you are installing decking from new, then speak to your installer and this can be incorporated into the design build.

How long does timber decking last?

This depends on the quality of wood and the installation but a professional job with premium hardwood and some modest upkeep should still be looking good after twenty years.

For more information on planning permission as it relates to decking, see these articles from the TDCA and Planning Portal.

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