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Decking Cover Ideas: Innovative Solutions for Your Outdoor Space

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Outdoor decking is a popular way to create a designated area in your garden or backyard for lounging and al fresco dining. One way to enhance the appeal and functionality of a deck is by adding a cover, which provides shade and shelter.

Deck covers come in various styles, materials, and designs, offering a multitude of possibilities for your outdoor living space.

A wooden deck with a pergola covered in climbing vines and hanging string lights, surrounded by potted plants and comfortable outdoor furniture

When considering deck cover ideas, it’s essential to take into account the existing architecture of your home, as well as the overall aesthetics and utility of your outdoor space. Our goal is to present you with options that blend seamlessly with your home, cater to your personal taste, and help maximise the use of your deck.

Key Takeaways

  • Deck covers enhance outdoor living spaces by providing shade and shelter
  • Consider your home’s design and outdoor space when choosing a deck cover
  • Personalise your deck with various styles, materials, and designs for a unique touch

Essentials of Decking Covers

Creating an ideal outdoor space starts with selecting the best decking materials and understanding the fundamentals of deck framing. In this section, we’ll discuss the types of deck materials and explain the basics of deck framing to guide you in making informed decisions for your decking project.

Types of Deck Materials

There are various materials to choose from when installing a decking cover:

  • Wood: Traditional and widely popular, wooden decks offer a timeless appearance and can be tailored to suit different styles. Some well-known options include pressure-treated lumber, cedar, and redwood.
  • Composite: Made from a blend of recycled wood fibres and plastic components, composite decks are known for their low maintenance, eco-friendliness, and resistance to wear and tear. Composite decking materials can mimic the appearance of wood, offering numerous colour and texture options.

To help you decide, consider the following table highlighting the key features of each material:

MaterialProsCons
Wood– Warm, natural appearance
– Customisable
– Requires regular maintenance
– Can rot, warp, and splinter
CompositeLow maintenance
– Long-lasting
– Eco-friendly
– Can be more expensive

Understanding Deck Framing

Deck framing is the backbone of any decking project and ensures the stability and longevity of the completed deck. Here are the essential components to consider:

  • Joists: These horizontal support beams run perpendicular to the house and provide the primary framework for the deck. They dictate the final deck size and should be selected based on the necessary span and load-bearing capacity.
  • Beams: Beams are large, horizontal supports that distribute weight evenly across the deck. They connect directly to your deck’s footings and are typically placed under the joists.
  • Posts: Vertical supports used to raise the deck off the ground, posts transfer the weight of the deck to the footings and ultimately, the ground below.
  • Footings: Concrete (or other solid material) foundations that disperse the deck’s load over a larger area and help stabilise the structure.

Having a solid understanding of deck framing helps determine the overall technical requirements and ensures proper installation. It is crucial to consider both the types of deck materials and decking framing essentials when creating an outdoor space that is not only visually stunning but also structurally sound.

Designing Covered Decks

Deck Covering Options

When creating a comfortable outdoor space, it’s important to consider various covered deck ideas to provide shade and protection from the elements. There are numerous deck coverings to choose from, such as:

  • Pergolas: These structures consist of open-lattice or slatted roofs supported by columns or posts.
  • Shade sails: Triangular or rectangular pieces of fabric that attaches to anchor points, providing a contemporary look.
  • Canopy covers: Freestanding or attached fabric shelters, often found in the form of umbrellas, parasols or chic parasols.
  • Retractable awnings: These can be extended or retracted to provide shade when needed, offering flexibility.
  • Arbors and trellises: Ideal for training climbing plants, these provide dappled shade in a natural setting.
  • Gazebos: A freestanding structure with a solid roof, offering complete coverage from the sun and rain.
  • Aluminium or solid-roof constructions: These create a fully covered deck, suitable for year-round use.

Integrating Shade Solutions

Incorporating a shade solution into your deck design isn’t merely a functional decision; it can also become a focal point. Experiment with different materials, shapes, and colours to find one that complements your outdoor space. For example, wooden pergolas or arbours pair well with rustic or traditional styles, while modern spaces might benefit from sleek metalwork or bold shade sails.

Remember that positioning is essential for effective shade. Consider the sun’s trajectory and your deck’s layout to ensure coverage at the right times. You can also layer multiple solutions, such as a pergola with canopy cover or a gazebo with built-in parasols, for additional versatility.

Lighting and Accessories

Once you’ve selected your deck’s covering, don’t forget about lighting and accessories. Proper illumination enhances the atmosphere and extends usability into the evening. Some popular lighting options include:

  • String lights: Drape these around the deck or along railings to create a warm ambience.
  • Spotlights: Install these into the deck’s surface or along the edges to highlight key features or enhance safety.
  • Pendants or lanterns: Hang these from the roof or beams of a pergola, gazebo, or arbour for added style and brightness.

Deck accessories can elevate the overall design, offering both practicality and aesthetics. Consider weather-resistant cushions or pouffes for added comfort, or incorporate a built-in kitchen, bar, or fire pit to enhance the outdoor experience.

Maximising Outdoor Space

Creating an Outdoor Room

To maximise your outdoor space, consider creating an outdoor room by combining various deck designs and sheltered areas. This will not only provide shade and protection from the elements but also create a cosy and inviting space for relaxation and socialisation.

You can make your outdoor room even more appealing by incorporating:

  • Potted plants: To add greenery and colour to your decking area.
  • Cushions and throws: For added comfort and style.
  • Ambient lighting: To set the mood and make the space usable in the evenings.

Optimising Space with Furniture

Choosing the right outdoor furniture can help you make the most of your backyard. Opt for multi-functional pieces like benches with built-in storage or collapsible furniture that can easily be stowed away when not in use. Other versatile options include:

  • Corner sofas: They maximise seating and make use of unused corners.
  • Nestling tables: Space-saving designs that can be conveniently tucked away.
  • Planters: Combining seating and greenery in one stylish solution.

Decking for Al Fresco Dining

Designing a deck for al fresco dining is essential for those who love entertaining or simply enjoying meals outdoors. Here are some key elements to consider:

  1. Dining table: Choose a table with enough seating for your needs. Extendable options are great for accommodating larger gatherings.
  2. Shading: Incorporate a pergola, shade sail, or umbrella to provide protection from the sun and rain.
  3. Grill or outdoor kitchen: Equip your deck with a cooking area to truly embrace the al fresco experience.

Remember, personalisation is crucial when creating your ideal outdoor space. By combining stylish and practical deck designs with comfortable furniture and a focus on al fresco dining, you’ll create an inviting space both you and your guests will love.

Features of a Comfortable Deck

A spacious, well-lit deck with comfortable seating and a pergola overhead, surrounded by lush greenery and decorative lighting

Deck Railing Designs

Deck railing designs contribute greatly to the overall aesthetics and safety of your outdoor space. Railings can serve as a visual boundary, preventing accidents and enhancing the sense of security. We recommend considering materials such as wood, metal, or glass with designs that complement the overall theme of your covered deck. For instance, modern designs may incorporate cable or glass railings, while traditional ones can include intricate wooden patterns.

Enhancing Comfort with Partial Shade

For those seeking shelter from the sun while still enjoying natural light, partial shade is an excellent option. Various ways to create partial shade include using shade sails, pergolas, or umbrellas. Shade sails provide an artistic touch and can be customised to fit the dimensions of your deck. On the other hand, pergolas offer a classic, timeless appeal, and can support climbing plants for added beauty. Finally, consider investing in adjustable and stylish deck umbrellas to protect you from both sunlight and rain.

Here are some popular options:

  • Shade sails: modern, artistic touch
  • Pergolas: classic, timeless appeal
  • Umbrellas: adjustable and versatile

Incorporating Heat Sources

To extend the outdoor decking season and create a warm, inviting atmosphere, consider adding heat sources. Fire pits, chimineas, and electric or gas patio heaters are all effective ways to warm up your covered deck during cooler evenings or in the winter months. In addition to providing warmth, a fire pit can serve as a focal point for socialising and enjoying al fresco dining. When selecting heat sources, ensure they are compatible with your covered deck structure and adhere to safety guidelines.

Considerations for Building a Deck

A deck with various cover ideas: pergola, awning, or canopy. Surrounding landscape includes trees, flowers, and outdoor furniture

When planning to build a deck, there are several factors to consider, including cost estimates, budgeting, materials, maintenance, and longevity. In this section, we will discuss these aspects to help you make informed decisions for your decking project.

Cost Estimates and Budgeting

To ensure a successful decking project, it’s essential to establish a budget and understand the costs involved. The cost to build a deck can vary widely, depending on factors such as materials, size, design and labour. We recommend creating a list of must-have features and prioritising them based on your specific needs.

Below are some average costs for the two main types of decking materials:

MaterialCost per Square Foot (Approx.)
Wood£10 – £30
Composite£20 – £40

Keep in mind that additional costs may arise from factors such as railings, stairs, and installations.

Maintenance and Longevity

The choice of decking material significantly impacts the maintenance required and the deck’s longevity. Let’s compare the two popular options: wood and composite decking.

Wood Decks
Traditional wood decks are popular for their natural aesthetics and competitive pricing. However, they require regular maintenance to maintain their appearance and structural integrity. This maintenance may include sanding, staining, and sealing to protect the wood from moisture, sunlight, and pests. While some hardy wood species such as cedar or redwood can last for 15-20 years with proper care, most wood decks have a lifespan of 10-15 years.

Composite Decks
Composite decking, made from a blend of wood fibres and plastic, is an excellent alternative for homeowners seeking a low-maintenance option. Composite decks are resistant to rot, fading, and insects, and they retain their colour and appearance with minimal care. They only need occasional cleaning and typically have a 25-30 year lifespan. However, their upfront costs are higher compared to traditional wood decks.

It is essential to choose materials based on your preference for appearance, budget, and maintenance requirements. By considering these factors, you can build a deck that meets your expectations and serves you well for years.

Customising Your Deck

Screening and Privacy Ideas

When designing our outdoor living space, it’s essential to consider screening and privacy. At times, we may want to enjoy our deck privately or shield it from the neighbours’ view. There are various options that we can incorporate into our deck design for added privacy.

One of the most popular choices is installing lattice panels, which provide both privacy and ventilation. To enhance their appearance, we can grow climbing plants on them, creating a natural, beautiful barrier. Another option is to use curtains – not just for indoors, curtains can create a resort-like feel outdoors and block out direct sunlight or unwanted views. Making use of tall plants or potted trees is also an excellent way to introduce natural privacy to our deck.

Selecting Deck Accessories

To further customise our outdoor living space, we can choose various deck accessories to complement our design. Alongside our chosen deck cover, there are several elements to consider:


  • Outdoor furniture: Consider selecting weather-resistant and comfortable furniture, ensuring enough seating space for family and friends.



  • Lighting: Integrating ambient lighting, such as string lights or lanterns, can make our deck more inviting during evenings and nights. Solar-powered options are also available, which can reduce energy consumption.



  • Planters and greenery: Adding planters and decorative pots with a mix of flowers and foliage can soften the appearance of our deck and bring in some nature.



  • Outdoor rugs: A suitable outdoor rug can enhance the overall aesthetic of our deck whilst providing comfort underfoot.



  • Heating: To keep our outdoor space usable during colder months, consider including a patio heater, fire pit, or an outdoor fireplace.


By carefully considering our screening and privacy options and selecting the right deck accessories, we can create an inviting and personalised outdoor living space that meets our needs and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cost-effective solutions for covering my outdoor decking?

If you’re looking for cost-effective options to cover your outdoor decking, consider using shade sails, pergolas with climbing plants, or even large patio umbrellas. Shade sails are a relatively inexpensive way to cover a large area, while pergolas or trellises with climbing plants can serve as both functional and aesthetic additions to your outdoor space. Large patio umbrellas are an affordable and flexible alternative, as they can be moved and rotated to provide optimum shade when needed. For more inspiration, check out these deck cover ideas.

How can I protect my deck from rain without compromising on style?

To protect your deck from rain without sacrificing style, consider installing a retractable awning, canopy, or even customised waterproof fabric covers. Retractable awnings offer both shade and rain protection and can be easily adjusted according to the weather. Canopies are another stylish option, providing excellent cover from the elements while adding visual interest to your outdoor space. Customised waterproof fabric covers can also fit your existing structures, ensuring they blend seamlessly with your overall deck design. See this list of covered decking ideas for more options.

What are some creative DIY options for decking covers?

If you’re feeling creative and want to attempt a DIY project for your decking cover, options include building a wooden pergola, installing outdoor curtain rods and curtains, or repurposing pallets to create a unique slatted roof. A wooden design interlocking deck tile can also be a quick and easy DIY option for covering and refurbishing your old deck.

Which materials are best suited for decking covers in terms of durability and aesthetics?

The ideal materials for decking covers depend on factors like your intended use, budget, and local climate. For durability, consider aluminium, vinyl, or stainless steel, as these materials require minimal maintenance and last for many years. Wooden covers, such as cedar or redwood, can provide a more natural look and are generally durable, but they do require some upkeep. Polycarbonate is another versatile material, offering durability, light control, and UV protection. Remember to make decisions based on your style preferences and the demands of your location.

Can you suggest some decking cover ideas suitable for attachment to my house?

Attaching a decking cover to your house requires proper planning and consideration. However, there are several options that can work well in such scenarios. Lean-to structures that extend from your house, retractable awnings, or custom-built gazebos can provide excellent decking cover, with the added benefit of being connected to your home. This article provides a list of covered deck ideas that can be a great starting point for your project.

How can I refurbish old decking with new covering materials?

Refurbishing old decking with new covering materials involves assessing the current state of your deck, cleaning and repairing any damaged areas, and then choosing appropriate covering materials based on your needs and preferences. Consider options like interlocking deck tiles, which can be easily applied over your existing decking surface, or repainting and sealing the wood for a fresh look. Alternatively, you could install a pergola or awning to provide a new, shaded area while leaving the underlying deck surface largely untouched.

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