For most of us, a nice garden is on our wishlist when we think about our dream home, but in reality, maintaining a garden requires time, effort, and know-how. Wouldn't it be nice to have the best of both worlds: a great outdoor space that doesn't require any work? It's actually not such an unreasonable request, with plenty of practical options to transform your outdoor space now available. Decking is the tried and tested, foolproof way to an attractive, tidy and usable garden. Rather than spending your weekends digging up the borders and trying to cultivate your Hydrangeas, spend your time unwinding after the week, and appreciate a beautiful view without the hard slog.
It could be the case however, that you're the outdoorsy type who likes to get stuck into the garden, but only have a small flat in an apartment block. Wooden terraces are the perfect answer to this predicament, and they can look lovely lined with potted plants or hanging baskets. You can even grow your own British herbs such as Thyme or Basil.
If you're lucky enough to have more space than the average city flat offers, there are plenty of ways to introduce decking to your garden to use as a social area (more practical than grass, especially with the temperamental U.K weather), or even as a poolside seating area if you're feeling optimistic. Whether you have a sprawling acre or a small urban garden, a wooden terrace has plenty to offer: just take a look at these examples for some inspiration.
If you have the option, a water feature or pond in the garden can look really impressive. We love how the modern terrace design juxtaposes the traditional façade of this Wimbledon family home. The garden furniture is contemporary, and the light, washed-out colours really bring out the blue of the water. If you want to go one step further, a hot tub in the garden is a fun idea, especially if your house isn't overlooked. Forget your preconceptions about those tacky 1980s hot tubs, and discover a whole range of cool, contemporary designs like the one we've included below.
O.K, so a lick of paint and some decking isn't quite going to transform your garden into this stunning lake house terrace, but here you can see how a hot tub could look classy rather than kitschy. Neutral furniture and just a few plants create a peaceful retreat with a hint of A list glamour.
You can easily imagine the estate agent proudly pointing out this view as the property's selling point. When you have a skyline view looking out over the city, it's a shame not to give your terrace some TLC. The wooden island sitting amongst the terracotta stones is lit up by tasteful lighting, and looks to be the ideal spot for a moment of tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Once you've created the perfect terrace garden, why not consider other ways of framing your view.
This unique garden roof terrace leads off from a contemporary glass covered staircase leading down to the indoor dining area. It's a very modern take on the garden terrace but still incorporates traditional wooden decking which looks classic and understated. The designers have avoided including anything too extravagant in the roof garden, which compliments the interior of the property and makes the view the focus.
We can't think of anything more enjoyable than spending a summer's evening on the terrace for an outdoor dinner party with friends and family. Even if you would prefer something more low-key, the terrace can be used as a place to socialise and relax. It's also the perfect show room for your outdoor furniture, but remember to keep it covered up when it's not being used, as the weather damaged look isn't likely to be in vogue any time soon.
This courtyard has been transformed into a contemporary and sustainable terrace ideal for parties, with a variety of seating options and areas, from a small dining area to sunlounges and comfy couches – ideal for when you've had enough sun worshipping for one day. If you're lucky enough to have so much outside space, dividing it into sections like this is a clever tactic to get the most out of your garden with minimum effort.
For more outdoor terrace ideas, take a look at this ideabook.