Deck railing ideas- 9 styles and designs to edge your garden deck

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  • As we move into spring, our outdoor spaces are firmly at the forefront of our minds, and deck railing ideas should be there too. Deck railings are there to not only edge a decking area or patio, giving it the perfect finishing touch, but are also there for safety too. You have steps leading down to or up to a decking area, be surrounded by water, or might have a raised platform that sits above the rest of your garden. Either way, with deck railings you can enjoy these elements safely.

    Start by thinking about what deck ideas you want to incorporate into your garden. Once this is sorted, it’s time to look at deck railing ideas too. Think about who uses your garden. Is it just you or do you have young children visiting often? Do you have pets that need keeping safe, a view you don’t want to be restricted or do you just want to zone your outdoor space? All these things need to be considered before deciding on your deck railings. Luckily for you, we’ve pulled together our top tips and ideas, so you can be inspired to transform your garden ready for the warm weather.

    Deck railing ideas

    1. Choose a traditional style

    Image credit: Future Plc/Polly Eltes

    Traditional balustrade railing is a popular choice for many decking areas, and works particularly well in country-cottage style gardens. With square-edged, upright spindles, positioned at equal intervals and topped with a smooth wooden handrail, it’s sturdy and strong, but isn’t a completely solid structure. The gaps between each spindle allow for natural light, as well as plants to come through. But they will still keep pets, children and visiting family and friends safe.

    Opt to paint your balustrade railings in white or a very pale blue or grey, for a smart and classic look in your garden.

    2. Keep it super simple

    Decking area with wooden railings, straw thatched bar, tiki bar with bar stools and view across a river

    Image credit: Future Plc/ Joanna Henderson

    Make simple wooden railings to surround your decking, with rustic lengths of wood bought from a timber merchant. As well as sturdy corner posts, you’ll need a length of wood to run along the bottom, slimmer lengths of wood cut into shorter planks for the railings and a chunkier, slightly rounded length of wood to act as the handrail.

    Here the simple railing doesn’t distract from the stunning water-side view, or try to compete with the fabulous tiki-bar either. Leave the wood bare for a more natural look, which will weather over time and soften into the background.

    3. Or make it more complex

    Wooden deck railing in geometric patterns

    Image credit: Richard Burbidge

    While a simple style certainly has its place, opt to elevate your deck railings style, by going for something a bit more exciting. Here geometric wooden panels interspersed with twisted, iron rods makes for a perfect way to finish a paired-back decking platform.

    Making a feature of your deck railing is a great idea in a larger garden and encouraging climbers such as roses to grow up the posts, allows it to become part of the overall space, rather than a jarring fixture.

    4. Reflect the style of your surroundings

    White weatherboard and brick detached house, garden patio with decking, table chairs

    Image credit: Future Plc/Bruce Hemming

    Wood deck railing is also a great choice if the home it sits beside has wooden features too. The wooden window frames, supporting beams and balcony balustrades are reflected in the wood decking rails that complete the wooden deck. Larger spaces have been left between the fairly simple wooden railings, so wood doesn’t overwhelm the space too much.

    5. Opt for contemporary glass

    Glass and metal railing along edge of deck behind garden chair

    Image credit: Bridgeman

    While wood is certainly the most popular choice for deck railing, glass is a close contender and suits more contemporary outdoor spaces. If you’re lucky enough to have a stunning view from your deck that you don’t want to spoil, choosing glass panels between metal uprights could be the way to go. The combination of metal and glass is also a winning formula if you have an outdoor pool. Again, it won’t restrict the views around it, and is super safe for keeping little people away from the edge of open water.

    6. Mix wood and glass together

    Garden patio with decking and curved stone wall, pale blue wooden folding chairs and table

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

    Have the best of both and combine wood and glass together to edge your decking area. Metal might seem a little too cool and contemporary for your space, but if you still want to benefit from the transparent qualities of glass, then opting for wooden posts to support large glass panels is a great idea. Topping the panels with a wide, wooden handrail will create a juxtaposition between the two materials and finish your railings perfectly.

    7. Take it back to black

    Black glass walkway with steps up to the patio area beside the french doors into the kitchen diner.

    Image credit: Future Plc/Malcolm Menzies

    While glass is a popular choice for deck railing ideas, tinted black glass is a slightly more original option. And where it reflects the style and materials of the house it’s installed next to, it creates a perfect partnership. The black glass will obviously not be as transparent as clear glass, but it will still allow light to travel through it and acts more to zone the spaces between patio and planting. A half-height wall along the patio too, creates a more solid boundary, with the glass acting as a softer edge.

    8. Make it horizontal

    Deck area around a mature swamp cypress, with curved seating area.

    Image credit: Future Plc/Mark Bolton

    Deck railings don’t have to be vertical, as this homeowner has shown with their choice. Using wooden slats in a horizontal formation creates a more solid edging to decking, but in turn creates some amazing shadows as sunlight is dispersed. Extending the railing to a higher height will also give you privacy and create a clear boundary.

    9. Go for something more ornate

    Colonial style balcony of period 19th century house, chair, table, decking

    Image credit: Future Plc/Armelle Habib

    Wrought iron railings in a decorative design could be just what your decking or patio space needs to finish it off. It will create more of a barrier to weathers and wildlife and will certainly be seen as more of a feature in your outdoor space. If the design you choose is very busy, opt to paint the railing white to try and balance the business and encourage climbing plants to grow among it for a magical, whimsical feel.

    What can I use instead of deck railing?

    If you’re not keen on using deck railing, then way not use plants to edge your outdoor space? Choose the same plant, like a lavender or some tall grasses, arranged in a tight row along your patio or decking, to act as boundary edge. Alternatively a low-level garden wall could be used, a stunning rockery or even bench seating.

    Which deck railing is cheapest?

    Wood is probably the cheapest deck railing material, especially if you decide build it yourself. But metal cable options, glass or composite can all be found at great deals if you’re prepared to do a little shopping around for them.

    What is the most popular deck railing?

    The most popular deck railing is simple wood balusters with a handrail top, but you can make yours as adventurous as you like! Using plenty of colour, designs and patterns, choose wooden deck railing in a style that suits you and your garden.

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