Have you been thinking about making some improvements in your garden? Perhaps your lawn is causing you more hassle than it’s worth so you want to upgrade it to something a bit more manageable?
There are a lot of homeowners who are looking to add long-lasting and low-maintenance features to their gardens, and two of the most popular options are patios and decks. But which should you choose? Let’s take a look at some of the things that make paving and decking great options for your garden.
First let’s look at decking. Now, there are lots of different types of decking on the market which means there’s lots of different options to choose from.
If you’re looking for the cheapest possible decking option, you might lean towards plastic decking. It comes in a range of colours; it won’t rot and it’s very easy to install. But it’s not without its problems.
Plastic decking is known for its short lifespan and its impact on the environment. While it might be a cheaper option initially, you’re likely to spend more money in the long run as you’re forced to replace damaged boards.
Timber is a more natural option and can look a lot more appealing than plastic decking. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the nation’s favourites! Timber decking is likely to last a lot longer than poorly made plastic decking, making it a great option for family homes.
Again, timber does have some drawbacks. It often takes on surface water, making it prone to rotting and splitting. In cold temperatures, the moist decking surface can freeze, effectively turning your outside area into an ice rink. For this reason, timber decking is not the best option in particularly wet or cold climates
In our opinion, the best all-round decking option is high-quality composite decking. This hybrid of wood and plastic is designed with solutions to all the aforementioned problems in mind. The polymer coating provides the rot-proof benefits of plastic and prevents water ingress, while the composite core provides the long-lifespan of traditional wood decking.
But is decking a better option than paving? It definitely has its benefits! Let’s take a closer look at paving to see which is better.
Much like decking, paving comes in lots of different varieties. Natural stone, porcelain paving and concrete are all popular options, but they all offer very different aesthetics.
Concrete is great if you want to go for that ‘industrial’ look and is often used in more contemporary garden spaces. Because it’s a manmade material, it lasts a long time and isn’t very expensive. The downside, however, is that concrete pavers can be tricky to install.
It generally needs to be sat on highly compacted gravel and a layer of sand. The ground preparations alone can be very costly and time consuming, which can put people in a hurry to get their garden renovation started off.
If you’re looking for something more premium, you might choose natural pavers like slate and limestone. This option, like the real-wood decking we mentioned before, is certainly more charming than the manmade alternative. Natural stone is not ‘perfect’ and the differences between tiles can make this paving option very appealing. Each tile is unique, and when you install a lot of pavers next to each other to make a patio, you get a lot of interesting variation.
On the other hand, these imperfections are natural paving’s downfall. Chipping and cracking are common in real stone because it’s not always easy to detect all the natural faults with the tiles.
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, we’d highly recommend looking at porcelain paving. Porcelain paving is a manmade material that’s vitrified at a very high temperature, so it boasts the same long-lasting characteristics as concrete.
As well as being durable, porcelain paving can be manufactured to emulate any kind of stone. So, whether you want a slate effect patio or even a wood grain patio, porcelain paving can provide a solution.
So, is paving or decking the better option?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to every kind of decking and paving you can think of. The best option for your garden will inevitably depend on your personal taste, your budget and your material requirements.
That being said, if we had to choose the best all-round option for any garden, we would probably say that porcelain paving rules supreme. It’s hardwearing, easy to maintain and can be made to match any style that you decide!
If you’re still not sure which is right for you, why not install both? That way, you get the best of both worlds.