7 Low-cost ideas for installing, salvaging & decorating garden decking

Garden decking can help transform your garden into an extra entertaining space. It makes it the ideal place to enjoy an alfresco dinner or to throw a garden party for your friends. But how can you build and decorate this new backyard retreat without breaking the bank? Here are 7 low cost garden decking ideas to inspire you!

I’ve been planning to add decking to my garden ever since we moved in. It was all-systems-go this summer until my husband fell down the stairs and fractured both arms. That kind of put a stop to all of our gardening plans for the summer. It’s only now that I have my ‘handy man’ (pun intended) back to full fitness and we can start thinking about our garden renovation again. I want to find the thriftiest way to install a deck and here’s what I’ve come up with…

1. RECLAIMED TIMBER

Contractors can build your garden decking from scratch, but that’s not the most economical option. To save on costs, you could build the decking yourself. There are many online tutorials to follow, and experts often share their tips in an attempt to help DIY’ers.

But even then, the cost of the materials could drain your bank account. An easy way to cut costs and build quality decking is with reclaimed wood. Recycled timber can be rescued from old warehouses and barns, and often comes free of charge or at a very low price. Besides the cost factor, reclaimed wood also gives an attractive, vintage look to your brand-new garden deck to make it fit into the landscaping seamlessly.

2. MATCHBOARD PLANKS

Matchboard planks are not traditionally used for decking, but as long as you build a solid foundation, they can provide an interesting twist to traditional decking areas. Popular in the Victorian era, they fell into disuse shortly after and are now used in many interior and exterior decoration projects. Matchboard plank decking has a sophisticated retro look, and building such a structure can be affordable, provided you used recycled planks.

3. USE PALLETS

I’m not sure if there is anything more versatile than pallets. They are ideal for a myriad of purposes, from building garden decking to decorating it. For instance, you could create a terraced garden deck entirely out of pallets. Or you could use old pallets to make outdoor furniture, planters, vertical gardens – the list goes on and on.

Pallets are also easy to source at no or very low cost. The great thing is you can check with local manufacturers or supermarkets to see if they have any spare pallets to offer. Alternatively, home and garden stores usually sell them at moderate prices.

4. GARDEN BOARDWALK

Your old decking that needs replacing might not be completely useless. Recycling is good for both your pocket and the environment, so why not upcycle those old decking boards and transform them into something useful such as a boardwalk? A walkway is perfect for a coastal home or to create a seaside effect in any garden. White pebbles or gravel, recycled crates, pallet garden furniture, and an assortment of Mediterranean plants can help to landscape the old deck and turn it into a seaside-esque boardwalk.

5. NATURAL PERGOLA

If building garden decking is expensive, adding a pergola is even costlier. But you needn’t panic; there are alternative ways to put a roof above your deck and enjoy the shade when temperatures rise. An inexpensive idea is to build an all-natural roof with a cheap trellis and vines. Climbing roses, climbing hydrangea, wisteria and trumpet vines are just some of the options available to add shade and colour to your space.

6. PLAY WITH COLOURS

If you already have decking installed, a cheap way to upgrade the look of your old garden deck is with good quality paint. Decking paint gives you a solution to freshen up this part of your home, but there are many other ways to add colour to your decking. For instance, you could use colourful accessories. An oriental rug and loose curtains arranged on a gazebo make for an inviting tea area for the afternoon.

 

Waterproof outdoor cushions placed directly onto decking provide a creative seating solution, or you can add benches with cosy indoor throw pillows. Coloured garden furniture can also add a touch of style to your garden decking. Ditch the traditional green, black, or white for a less common hue that matches with your landscape and environment.

7. CREATIVE PLANTERS

Concrete and cinder blocks also help boost the aesthetics of your garden decking. Transform them in planters to hold colourful perennials and evergreens. You can arrange them in multiple ways to create original compositions, and you can even paint them in a coordinating shade. Or you can make a DIY pallet planter like I did!

What do you think of these ideas for installing and updating your garden decking on a budget? What have you done in your own garden to give your patio a makeover? Let me know in the comments below and share your ideas for updating your garden when you’re trying to cut costs…

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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