Decking vs. Paving: Which Is Best For You?

decking vs paving guide

So, you've got a great outdoor space and don't know what to do with it. Should you build a deck, or should you pave your courtyard? Having a functional outdoor space to enjoy the sunshine while creating an attractive addition to your home will bring you many benefits. But choosing the right design might be tricky.

This article will outline the pros and cons of decking and paving to help you choose the best design and material for your outdoor space.

1. Decking and paving differences

The essential difference between decking and paving lies in the materials you will use and the way each method will affect the look of your courtyard.

A deck is an elevated single or multi-space structure made from timber or composite. Paving is constructed at a ground level, using stone, brick, tile or cement pavers.

2. Decking and paving pros and cons

Decking is an easier structure to build in general, which means construction will be a much faster process. It has a natural façade and can be installed on sloping or non-uniform terrains. When choosing between decking or paving, consider that decking materials tend to be more affordable than paving materials.

However, these costs can be offset with the maintenance costs of decking that paving does not require.

patio paving

If you choose high-quality materials for your pavers, paving will require less maintenance in the future, while offering you a wider variety of shapes, colours, and textures to design with. These materials have longer durability than timber and composite.

On the other hand, pavers require more thorough preparation of the ground beforehand and paving requires more intensive construction overall.

3. Choosing between decking and paving

The most important consideration when choosing which material is best for your outdoor space is the type of property you are building on. Depending on the style you prefer, one material may be better than the other. If you like clean lines and a simple decision, then decking will be the best option. If you are looking for a more intricate design, then a paved courtyard may be more appropriate.

Also, be attentive to the goals you want to achieve with your space. If you visualise your courtyard as a place to install a basketball hoop or play soccer, a paved courtyard may be more suitable. If you desire an elevated garden oasis with more than one level, your best choice will likely be decking.

4. Decking vs paving costs

Cost is also an important consideration when deciding if you should build a paved courtyard or timber deck. Decking will cost more upfront and require occasional maintenance, but it will add to the value of your home. Paved courtyards cost less and require less frequent maintenance, though they do not add significantly to a home’s appraisal value.

composite decking

Composite decking may be a good option to consider if you are looking for long-term durability with fewer maintenance costs but want to add value to your home. A deck built of composite will not warp or deform like a timber deck could over time if not cared for. It also does not need to be resealed or oiled like wood does because it's manufactured to be resistant to mould, scratching, fading and staining . However, composite decking costs more than timber decking.

Remember that your overall cost will also need to include preparing the site for construction. The base must be constructed with the landscape in mind. For example, if you are laying pavers, you must have a mortar or sand mixtureas a base for the path.

5. Council permits

Certain councils have specific guidelines for installing decking or paving. It is only necessary to obtain a permit for laying pavers if you are considering doing a driveway or building in a location where water runoff may be an issue. Your residential community may have ground rules regarding the use of driveway materials, so make sure to get the proper authorisation before beginning any project.

Licensing for decking can be more complex. It depends on multiple factors, which may include: size and height of your structure, local regulations and state licensing. If a council permit is required, it is best to seek the services of a licensed builder. Individual states have different builder licence regulations, so be sure to consider licensing requirements for your state.

Decking or paving: two winning options

Building a deck or paving your courtyard are two great options for expanding the use of your outdoor space and enjoying it for years to come. The choice, however, will require you to consider the pros and cons of each design. You'll have to take into account the overall layout, the goals for your outdoor space, upfront costs and maintenance costs. Think about your vision as well as with short-term and long-term plans for your courtyard – and your property as a whole – and you'll be able to make the best decision for you.



Mike Rowney