Landscaping Projects

Best Alternatives To Decking

Decks are a beautiful addition to your garden, however, you might not yet have the needed resources for one. Fear not though, as there are plenty of alternatives, ranging from affordable to just different, that can still make your garden look outstanding. Some of them require less maintenance than the standard wooden deck, which might prove to be a good benefit.

After all, the average price of decking in the UK can vary from £800 to £1200 for 15m² for softwood. On the other hand, hardwood decking is pricier ranging between £1400 and £2200.

So if you:

  • Have a back garden which is rather unpleasant looking at the moment;
  • Already have an old worn out deck, which you want to replace;

Then read along and become familiar with some…

Alternatives to decking

Gravel

A cheaper alternative to decking and absolutely user friendly, gravel is the way to go if you want to create a low maintenance garden. All you need to do is lay a weed membrane, spread the gravel evenly across the membrane, create some borders and you’re basically done. Gravel stones can range from small round pebbles to larger rough-edged stones, so there’s no shortage of options. Some of the advantages and disadvantages you will see if you go with gravel:

The pros of gravel as alternative to decking

  • Great drainage – gravel allows water to easily pass through it and seep into the soil.
  • No weeds – as long as you lay a thick enough landscape fabric, you will be pretty much free of the undesired plants.

The cons of gravel as alternative to decking

  • Gravel sinks into the soil – the more foot traffic there is over the gravelled area, the more the stones will sink into the soil. This happens over a long period of time, of course, but it’s still something to keep in mind. If you have gravel on your driveway, check out post on how to stop gravel from moving off driveway.
  • Keep the lawnmower away from it – if even one stone gets caught by the moving blades of the lawnmower it will be sent flying with a very high speed. This can be a potential hazard for any passerby.

Concrete

You might think of it as having a dull colour and rough texture, but that’s just one type of concrete. There is also the so-called stamped concrete which comes in a variety of colours and textures. You can stamp different shapes on it for a more unique and personalised look. Some other good and bad features of this material are:

Pros of concrete

  • Durability – when installed correctly, concrete can last up to 20 years in the areas with the highest foot traffic.
  • No maintenance – this will save you both time and money in the long run as you have to do literally nothing to maintain it.

Cons of concrete

  • Hard to repair – if a crack appears, you can repair it by adding more concrete over it. However, that will look ugly. So, you either keep this sight for sore eyes, or you remove and replace the concreted area entirely.
  • Not children and pet-friendly – concrete is not suitable for children and pets who love to play outside and can get easily hurt if they trip and fall on the ground.

Pavers

Paving stones come in all shapes and sizes for every taste. That not only opens up the door to many possibilities but for high and low budgets since different kinds of slabs are priced accordingly. Some other pros and cons include:

Pros of pavers

  • Easy replacement – if one paver gets broken or damaged you can easily replace just that one, instead of the whole set. In the long run, that sure beats having to redo the whole ground like when you have concrete.
  • Resistant to climate changes – it’s perfectly normal for different materials to expand and shrink in different temperatures. Since pavers are not attached together and instead have room between them, they can expand and contract more easily, thus retaining their structural integrity.

Cons of pavers

  • Weeds – After all, pavers are giant pieces of stone with grass between them, so you will inevitably see some undesirable plants around them. When that happens, check our post on how to stop weeds growing between your paving slabs.
  • Sinking – Poorly prepared sub-bases can result in some pavers sinking into the ground if they are on a high traffic spot.

Bricks

Bricks are affordable as well as DIY-friendly. You can purchase either new bricks or salvaged ones and you won’t go wrong in either case, as both are durable and will last years when installed properly. You are not obligated to reproduce the most complex of patterns, but instead go for the one that best suits your level of craftsmanship. What more should you know about bricks:

Pros of bricks

  • Eco-friendly – since bricks last very long, they are constantly salvaged, cleaned, and reused. This makes their purchase and usage very sustainable.

Cons of bricks

  • Not very versatile – bricks come in a few colours, nuances and textures, but that’s mostly it. You will always have the classic elegant look when you use them and that’s the only look you will have. If you want something more modern, you will need to look for a different kind of material.

Rubber mats

Probably the cheapest alternative to decking and easiest to install. Rubber mats may not be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, they even become discoloured as time goes on, but they are as practical as it gets. You can arrange the mats in any configuration from walkways to play areas and they will withstand any heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions. You can easily remove or replace them when needed. Something more about them:

Pros of rubber mats

  • Rubber mats are safe – they are shock absorbent and slip-resistant making them perfect for families with small children, pets or elderly members.
  • Eco-friendly – most rubber mats are made from recycled car tires. That is a great way to use the material further than to leave it in a landfill.

Cons of rubber mats

  • Not stylish – if you are going for a certain aesthetic look in your garden, you likely will not get it while having rubber mats.

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If you feel like this task is too overwhelming for you, consider hiring professionals. Fantastic Services can send experienced and fully equipped landscapers to your place. If it’s not a deck you’re after, you can choose from our other landscaping services. All you need to do is get in contact with us, schedule a survey and you will get a quote. Once happy with the price, you just sit back and let us take care of everything else.

Takeaways

  • Gravel is low maintenance and affordable, but it sinks into the soil with time
  • Concrete is very durable but not safe for children and elderly people
  • Pavers can be individually replaced, but are prone to have weeds grow between them
  • Bricks are durable and can be repurchased after refurbishing but limit you to a certain style
  • Rubber mats are not very pleasing to the eye but are perfect if you are a parent or looking after old relatives.

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Do you know other alternatives to decking? Let us know by commenting!

Image source: Shutterstock / MIA Studio

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