UK gardens come in many shapes and sizes, and it’s not uncommon to find sloped surfaces at the front or rear of your home. As a result, many homeowners think they can’t do much in terms of garden decking, but this is far from the case.
Decking is a tried and trusted technique for boosting the aesthetic of almost any garden, even if it’s sloped. With many decking materials to choose from and lots of styles available, there’s something to suit all shapes and sizes. Let’s explore ten sloped garden decking ideas to help you create an outdoor space to be proud of.
1. Explore different decking shapes
Decking a sloped garden can be tricky if you go for traditionally square or rectangular designs. Rounded alternatives help distract the eye from uneven surfaces, while a curved edge creates a unique visual appeal.
Curved decking is difficult to get right, however, and you’ll need access to specialist equipment and/or skilled tradespeople to get the job done. You’ll also need to use composite boards as opposed to standard timber, as they’re more versatile and flexible due to the plastic element of their composition.
2. Try tiered decking
For outdoor spaces with gentle slopes, utilising large, defined levels with your garden decking is becoming increasingly prevalent. Known as tiered decking, this is most effective for larger outdoor spaces and enables you to use a sloped surface to your advantage.
Each tier can be used for a different function, from dining spaces to children’s play areas, relaxation zones, and more. With tiered decking you can make garden entertaining even more fun for your family and guests.
3. Elevated decking for an elevated aesthetic
Elevated decking is like tiered decking, but features smaller steps with a large space at the top, rather than multiple large levels. One of the most popular sloped garden decking ideas, you can use even the steepest slope to your advantage thanks to stairs that naturally lead up to the top deck.
As well as being functional and practical, you can easily create a statement design piece for your garden if you get creative. Elevated decking space can also double up as storage, which is a bonus for any homeowner.
4. Create multi-level decking for large spaces
Instead of using a primary elevated space or a tiered approach, multi-level decking allows you to go in different directions and use more shapes when decking a sloped garden.
Most of the time, you’ll need a larger garden space for this option, and room to create multiple levels with their own functions. In addition to more size, multi-level decking will also require more planning than the alternatives on our list. You will need to carefully consider your space and how best to use it.
5. Consider terraced gardening
Plants and foliage can be a huge help when decking a sloped garden. By adding raised planters full of plants and flowers, you can level off the top of your decking and add steps down your garden slope.
All in all, terraced decking is a great way to improve your backyard. You can also add lighting, different flowers and plants for different seasons, and other materials to help your garden pop.
6. Build a path out of decking
Decking a sloped garden with a distinguished path is an innovative way to break up the space and allow defined access to different areas. Add lighting to illuminate it in the dark, and choose colours and styles that match the rest of your exterior.
Composite decking is a popular material for this because it will likely be in permanent contact with the ground, but it won’t absorb water or rot. It’s also resistant to fungal or insect infestation and will prevent grass from growing over the pathway, which keeps your garden looking neat.
7. Have fun with decking materials
The most common decking materials are timber or composite boards, but you can use porcelain tiles, concrete and stone walls, and more to decorate and add character to your space.
Reinforced posts will also help you achieve elevation for sloped garden decking ideas, but make sure to use a durable material as these will be exposed to groundwater. This goes for multi-level decking and tiered decking too. It’s advisable to use a composite material that’s resistant to insect infestation, moisture, and mould.
For decking elements that aren’t exposed to the ground, traditional timber will do the trick, but always choose high-quality options for that extra durability.
8. Experiment with paving
The surface of any decking is important for design and functionality. Stone slabs, for example, are hard-wearing flooring options that create a distinguished decking space. However, they require reinforced groundwork and a strong concrete base, and in a sloped garden, you’ll need to have it elevated to make it level.
For more daring design ideas, ceramic and mosaic tiles are a novel way to add flair to a decking area. Again, you’ll need a concrete base strong enough to hold them, and a flat surface that will likely need to be elevated.
In terms of the timber that you use for the structure of your decking, composite timber is the recommended option. It’s more durable than traditional timber and since it’s virtually maintenance-free, it makes the perfect base for almost any decking.
9. Think about your gradient
Understanding your garden gradient is crucial for any sloped garden decking ideas you have. A slight gradient of 2.5% (away from the house) is necessary to prevent water pooling, but anything over 20% is considered steep.
You can use planters, posts, and steps to level off a garden space, giving you more versatility when it comes to your design options. Lawns are a different matter altogether, however. Any lawn built on a steep gradient will likely be difficult to maintain, especially when it comes to mowing.
10. Get zonal
With decking ideas for a sloped garden, you must be creative with the space you have available.
Creating different tiers, for example, may reduce the footprint of an outdoor area, but you can give each of the levels its own unique personality and purpose. From dining spaces to barbeque areas, covered levels, and more, approach each of your levels as its own zone and furnish it with its own identity.
This makes for an interesting garden and one you’ll never get bored of relaxing or entertaining in.
Key considerations to make when decking a sloped garden
Safety is hugely important when creating any decking space, but with tiered or multi-level decks in sloped garden areas, it’s crucial.
Non-slip decking boards help boost the safety of any decking, but you should also consider railings on steps and fences, especially on higher levels.
You’ll need high-quality wood to keep decking protected against unpredictable and often adverse weather. Composite decking is a popular option for structural elements that are permanently exposed to groundwater, whereas high-quality timber is a classic, versatile, and natural garden material for the exterior.
Composite boards are also great for exterior-facing decking structures. With a range of colour options and extra durability, not to mention simple maintenance and installation, it’s not hard to see why this material has become so popular.
Finally, you’ll need to think about planning permission before committing to any decking in a sloped garden.
Chances are, if your decking is lower than 30cm high, doesn’t affect the privacy of your neighbours, and is no larger than 50% of your garden, it won’t need permission. However, for elevated and multi-tiered decking ideas for a sloped garden, planning permission may be required.
Among other issues, failing to get permission can negatively affect the saleability of your home. It’s always a good idea to contact your local planning department for clarification.
Let’s get decking!
Hopefully this article has laid the groundwork (get it?) for some fantastic outdoor decking projects, regardless of the surface you have to play with. Now it’s time to get planning and see what you can do with your sloped garden space.