Gardens are ideal for making the most of fresh air and nice weather without having to go too far afield. But deciding what to do with your garden can be tricky.
There are many pros and cons to decking and paving, but ultimately it all comes down to your own needs, desires and your garden’s landscape. So how can you choose between the two?
Paving vs decking - what do prefer?
To start narrowing things down, take some time to really consider your options. You'll likely be asking yourself, should I build a deck or pave a patio? And, on top of this, there’s the issue of design as you want it to be functional, but also full of personality. There's also the decking vs paving cost to consider.
Consider what style you want your garden to follow. Are you after something clean and simple? Or are you looking for something a little more alternative with plenty of interesting details and textures?
For instance, decking is great for minimal designs while paving tends to look more patterned as the slabs are smaller. However, paving is the go-to if you’re looking to explore different designs and textures.
When it comes to exploring decking vs paving, there are some key differences to be aware of. The most important is the different materials used for each. For example, decks are elevated single or multi-space structures typically made from timber or composite. Paving, on the other hand, is ground level and made using stone, brick, tile or cement pavers.
A common misconception with paving is that you can only have it on one level. This is completely untrue and you can include paved steps in your garden. Multiple levels are great to have as they can give a garden more distinction and personality.
When it comes to colour, the world is your oyster. There are many different shades of tile to utilise to get the right level of character for your garden. From terracotta to autumn gold, brindle to buff, there’s a rainbow to explore.
There’s also plenty of freedom when it comes to creating patterns with paving as you don’t have to lay it in a simple order. Create shapes and patterns or turn the tiles around to create effects - there are lots of design options to explore. Many designs thrive off the unexpected, some even combining paves with stones or cobbles for a calming ambience.
One of the biggest attractions to decking is the ease of adding multiple levels to your outdoor space. There are three options to choose from when it comes to decking levels – ground-level, raised and multi-level decking. Whilst ground level decking is the most popular choice, raised decking can be preferable if your garden is on a slope.
There are a couple of decking styles to choose from. These include square or rounded decks. Square is the most common and easy to install, whilst rounded decking tends to be favourable for larger spaces or those with a unique shape.
With decking, any added luxury would have to come from the additional items that you can purchase with it. For instance, fancy lighting, furniture or shelters can be installed alongside your decking – or sometimes even incorporated to your decking for a more opulent feel. However, all of these options will come at an additional cost.
Decking vs paving: the pros and cons
Now you know your options. But what are the pros and cons for each choice?
For decking, the installation process tends to be a lot easier and faster. Plus, it can be installed on ground that may be sloping. Paving, on the other hand, needs more preparation before installation and the process can be intensive. However, paving requires less ongoing maintenance and gives much more creative freedom in terms of the shapes, colours and textures available.
Some decking materials can be more affordable than paving materials. But, unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as one cost to consider.
Where you may save money on the initial purchase of decking, the maintenance costs of decking can vastly outweigh those of paving. So in terms of cost, decking vs paving doesn’t have a clear winner. Instead, it will depend more on what you’re willing to spend and when.
In terms of durability, paving is much more reliable. The materials used for paving tiles have a longer lifespan than that of timber and composite. Stone can withstand all weather conditions, while wood is liable to mould, swelling, splintering and decay.
It's also vital that you consider what's practical. Do you have time constraints? Or are you limited financially? Regardless, you'll have to find the right option that benefits you.
One option to consider is porcelain paves. This is a type of paving that can work well for those with financial or time constraints. Plus, porcelain can be installed both indoors and outdoors, which is great if you’re looking for coherent design across your indoor and outdoor areas.
Style to suit your needs
What you want from your outdoor space can have a big impact on your decisions. Paving is perfect if you want to have a space for activities and sports. It can also create a safe floor for children to play on. Alternatively, for those looking for a relaxing space, the cool tones of paves could work nicely to create a tranquil space.
Rules and regulations
Unfortunately, there are outside factors to consider too. Be aware of rules and regulations when considering decking vs paving. UK councils have certain guidelines when it comes to installing both.
With paving it’s only necessary to get permission if you’re building a driveway or laying in an area that could cause water runoff concerns. Decking can be a bit more complex. This is down to a variety of factors, including the size and height of structures.
But regardless of what option you choose, be sure to check your local regulations and speak to local license regulators before getting started.
Still need help making your decision?
Flick through our vast array of top-quality paving choices. Our expansive range of styles and colours will suit any outdoor space, helping you create the garden of your dreams.