Decking or Paving: How to Choose

When it comes to designing your outdoor living space, choosing between decking and paving is a pivotal decision. Both options can transform your backyard into a stylish and functional area, but they serve different needs and aesthetics.

This article will compare decking and paving from various angles including cost and time to install, durability and longevity, and style and aesthetics. Not only that, but we’ll delve into the different types of each option and outline their pros and cons to help you make the best choice for your space!

Cost and Time to Install


Decking, particularly wood decking, can be more cost-effective upfront compared to some paving materials. However, the price varies significantly based on the type of wood or composite material you choose.

Composite decking tends to be more expensive than traditional wood, but it requires less maintenance over time. Installation time for decking can be relatively quick, especially if the ground does not need extensive preparation before construction.


Paving costs can vary widely based on the materials chosen, with options ranging from relatively inexpensive concrete pavers to high-end natural stone.

Paving might require a more substantial initial investment in terms of both materials and labor, especially if significant ground preparation is needed to ensure a stable and level surface. The installation process for paving is often more labor-intensive and time-consuming than decking.

Durability and Longevity


The durability of decking largely depends on the material. Traditional wood decks require regular maintenance, including sealing and staining to prevent water damage and rot. Composite decking is more resistant to weather and pests and can last longer with minimal maintenance. Properly maintained, wood decking can last 15 to 20 years, while composite decking can last up to 30 years or more.


Paving, especially when done with high-quality materials like natural stone or brick, can be extremely durable and last for decades with minimal maintenance. It is resistant to weather, pests, and can handle heavy traffic without significant wear. Some materials, like concrete pavers, may fade or crack over time but can be easily replaced.

Style and Aesthetics


Decking offers a warm, natural look that can complement any garden or outdoor setting. Wood decking provides a classic appearance, while composite decking offers a range of colors and textures that can mimic natural wood or offer entirely unique looks. Decking can also be built at various heights, making it ideal for uneven terrains or creating multi-level outdoor spaces.


Paving provides a wide range of styles, from the rustic charm of brick to the elegant appearance of natural stone. Pavers come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, allowing for intricate designs and patterns. Paving can create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces, especially when matching materials are used.

Types of Decking and Paving

Decking Types

  • Wood Decking: Traditional option with species like cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine.
  • Composite Decking: Made from wood fibers and recycled plastics, it’s durable and low maintenance.

Paving Types

  • Concrete Pavers: Cost-effective and versatile.
  • Natural Stone: Includes options like granite, slate, and limestone for a premium look.
  • Brick: Offers a classic aesthetic with durability.

Pros and Cons

Decking Pros

  • Creates a warm, inviting outdoor space.
  • Suitable for uneven terrains.
  • Quick installation process.

Decking Cons

  • Requires regular maintenance (if wood).
  • Potential for weather and pest damage.

Paving Pros

  • Highly durable and low maintenance.
  • Wide variety of styles and materials.
  • Suitable for high traffic areas.

Paving Cons

  • Can be more expensive upfront.
  • Installation process can be time-consuming.

In conclusion, the choice between decking and paving depends on your budget, the style you’re aiming for, the maintenance you’re willing to undertake, and the durability you require. Both options offer distinct advantages that can enhance your outdoor living space. By carefully considering the factors outlined above, you can select the option that best fits your vision and needs.

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