Decking vs Patio: The Ultimate Garden Debate

A contributed post

When it comes to gardening, there are many things you can argue about and debate. People have different opinions on how best to grow flowers/plants, or how to create the perfect compost, and so on. But, you also have many debates about how to style and design your garden. Most notably, there always seems to be some argument over whether you should use patio or decking.

On one side of the argument, you have people that swear by decking and say it’s the best addition to a garden you can ever dream of. Then, on the other side, you have people saying the exact same about patio!

So, which one is better?

We’ll tackle this debate today and provide a balanced view of both sides for you to have a look at. Below, you will find a list of key questions that help us figure out which option comes out on top as the overall winner.

Which Option Is The Easiest To Install?

A key concern for many people is which option is the easiest for them to install. After all, you don’t want to choose something that requires loads of work and effort. Particularly if you’re keen to get something installed quickly. So, is patio easier to install than decking, or vice versa?

Constructing a patio area requires a fair bit of work. This is because there needs to be a good deal of work done underneath the patio surface. Especially if you have an uneven garden floor, which will need to be evened out beforehand. Not only that, but you may have to reinforce the ground before installing patio on top of it, to prevent it from collapsing after a few months/years. Having said that, patio construction can still be completed in a few days if the weather is kind and the circumstances are favourable.

However, installing decking is by far the easier option. It can be installed a lot quicker, mainly because you can raise it above the ground. This means you haven’t got to worry so much about an uneven base as you can elevate the decking and make it even from there.

Could a patio be right for your garden?

Which Option Requires The Most Maintenance?

When you invest in something like this, you want to ensure it remains in the best possible condition for as long as can be. Consequently, you need to make sure it’s well maintained. Now, which option will require more attention from you in the maintenance department?

A patio is very easy to maintain as there isn’t a lot to worry about besides dirt. The stones will last pretty much forever, and there isn’t much for you to do. You can almost leave it as it is, and just give it a little clean whenever there’s dirt or leaves present.

As for decking, well, it will require a lot of maintenance. Some of these questions don’t have a clear winner, but this is one of the few that does. You need to maintain your decking to ensure the wood doesn’t rot. If you’re not treating the wood properly, then it will rot quickly and prove to be a waste of money. This means you have to get your hands on a decking maintenance kit to guarantee you clean and maintain it by the book. As well as being harder to maintain, it also requires more regular maintenance too.

Which Option Is Cheapest?

Of course, everyone is keen to think about the price before they commit to anything. For many people, this is the dealbreaker when it comes to choosing between the two. If you have a certain budget, then the more expensive option may be too much for you to handle.

Let’s look at decking first of all – is it expensive? Well, compared to patio, it is normally the cheaper of the two options to install. However, this depends on the type of wood you use and how big the decking is. If you install a very large decking area with an expensive type of wood, then it may work out as more expensive than patio paving. Likewise, you also have to take into account maintenance costs. As mentioned above, decking requires a lot more maintenance than a patio. So, when you add up the costs of decking maintenance over time, it may end up being the more expensive investment.

Yes, a patio is normally more expensive to install, but you also have hardly any maintenance. The only thing you really need to do is pull up any weeds – if present – or give it a quick wipe down if there are any stains on it. As such, decking is cheaper to install, but the patio is cheaper to maintain.

Which Option Is Best For Outdoor Furniture?

Naturally, one of the main reasons you want patio/decking is to cover an area of your garden. This provides you with a nice hard platform to stick some lovely furniture on. Back in the day, most garden furniture would just be made of plastic and would rarely be of a very good quality. Therefore, you were likely to get that uneven, wobbly feeling, when sitting on different outdoor chairs. But, if you look at the furniture found here, you’ll see there are now loads of high-quality benches, sofas, chairs, and loungers to choose from. As a result, you want to ensure you give your fancy garden furniture a nice stable base, so there’s no unevenness or wobbling.

The question is; which option is best for garden furniture? With decking, you often get loads of mini grooves in the planks of wood that make up the surface. Now, while you can get some decking styles with nice solid planks, there’s still usually a little gap between each one. As a result, you may get some unevenness and wobble with chairs and tables, etc.

With a patio, you find many styles that are very smooth and sleek. There are no grooves, no gaps, and you have a nice flat surface to put furniture on. This means that you shouldn’t get any wobbling – if you’ve bought good-quality furniture that has even legs. Therefore, patio probably takes the edge in this category as it does provide a more stable and flat base to place furniture on.

Is decking the best choice for you?

Which Option Handles Rain Better?

Realistically, we’re going to have a lot of rain throughout the year. Even in the summer, we get some weeks full of rain showers, and then we also have the winter to contend with. This means our patio/decking will be subject to a lot of rainfall, and we need to know which one deals with it better.

The patio will pretty much stand up to the rain, and it won’t be affected by it. However, the main issue is that it doesn’t drain well, and can take a long time to dry. So, if it rains one summer morning when you’ve got a party planned later, then you may have to deal with puddles while your guests arrive. This causes potential slip & fall hazards as well, which is not a good thing at all.

Decking handles rain well because of the way it’s made. It can drain the water through the tiny gaps between floorboards, which means you rarely see puddles forming. Not only that, but the wood can soak up water and dry a lot quicker than a patio. This potentially makes it safe after a rain shower, as there’s less risk of slipping. All in all, I think decking slightly edges it in the rain handling department.

Which Option Provides The Most Style Choices?

This last question is important if you’re looking for particular styles in your garden. At the end of the day, you want to spend money on something that actually looks nice and suite your property. Otherwise, it sticks out like a sore thumb and can make your garden look awful. When you match up the right style to the right property, you can actually enhance the look of your home and maybe even boost its value.

Decking is good if you’re looking for quite a relaxed style. The only issue is that you don’t have many patterns to choose from. You’re quite restricted, and the main style choices you have revolve around the colour.

On the other hand, patio provides plenty of style choices. There are different paving patterns, designs, and colours to choose from. It can help create a classier look in your garden that blends well with your property. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best option based on the choice of styles, patio is the winner.

The Overall Conclusion

Okay, there are lots of important questions in this guide that have been answered. So, which is better; patio or decking?

Well, if you’re looking for a cheap option, and don’t really care so much about maintenance or style, then decking is the best choice. It’ll fit almost any budget, and will last a long time if you’re willing to commit to maintenance.

Having said that, if money is no object and you want to add some extra quality and class to your garden, then patio is best for you. Especially if you don’t have time to maintain it.

The bottom line is that both options are great for different people and different properties!

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