Deck Railing Ideas – 9 Styles and Designs to Delineate Your Garden Deck

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

    Start by thinking about the terrace ideas you want to incorporate into your garden. Once that’s sorted, it’s time to look at deck railing ideas as well. Think about who uses your garden. Is it just you or do you have young children who visit you often? Do you have pets that need to be kept safe, a view you don’t want to restrict, or just want to zone your outdoor space? All of these things should be considered before deciding on your deck railings. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up 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 patio areas and works particularly well in country house style gardens. With straight, square-edged spindles positioned at equal intervals and topped with a smooth wooden handrail, it is sturdy and solid, but not a completely solid structure. The gaps between each pin allow natural light to pass through, as well as plants. But they will still keep pets, children, visiting family and friends safe.

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

    2. Keep it super simple

    Terrace with wooden railings, straw-roofed bar, tiki bar with bar stools and view of a river

    Image credit: Future Plc/ Joanna Henderson

    Make simple wooden railings to surround your deck, with rustic lengths of wood purchased from a lumber dealer. In addition to sturdy corner posts, you will need a length of timber to run along the bottom, thinner lengths of timber cut into shorter boards for railings, and a thicker, slightly rounded to serve as a handrail.

    Here, the simple railing doesn’t distract from the stunning water views, or try to rival the fabulous tiki bar. Leave the wood bare for a more natural look, which will age over time and soften into the background.

    3. Or make it more complex

    Wooden deck railing with geometric patterns

    Photo credit: Richard Burbidge

    While a simple style certainly has its place, choose to elevate the style of your deck railings by opting for something a little more exciting. Here, geometric wood panels interspersed with twisted iron rods are a perfect way to finish off a twin-back deck deck.

    Making a feature of your patio railing is a great idea in a large garden, and encouraging climbers such as roses to grow 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

    Wooden deck railing is also a great choice if the house it is next to also has wooden features. Wooden window frames, support beams and balcony railings are reflected in the wooden deck rails that complement the wooden deck. Larger spaces have been left between the fairly simple wooden railings so that the wood does not overwhelm the space too much.

    5. Opt for contemporary glass

    Glass and metal railings along the edge of the terrace behind the garden chair

    Image credit: Bridgman

    While wood is certainly the most popular choice for deck railings, glass is a close competitor and suitable for more contemporary outdoor spaces. If you’re lucky enough to have an unobstructed view from your deck that you don’t want to spoil, choosing glass panels between metal studs could be the answer. The combination of metal and glass is also a winning formula if you have an outdoor pool. Again, this won’t restrict the views around it and is very safe to keep 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

    Get the best of both worlds and combine wood and glass to delimit your terrace. Metal might seem a little too cool and contemporary for your space, but if you still want the transparent qualities of glass, opting for wooden posts to support large glass panels is a great idea. Trimming the panels with a wide wooden handrail will create a juxtaposition between the two materials and finish off your railings perfectly.

    7. Bring it back to black

    Black glass walkway with steps leading to the patio next to the patio doors leading to the kitchen-dining room.

    Image credit: Future Plc/Malcolm Menzies

    While glass is a popular choice for patio railing ideas, tinted black glass is a slightly more original option. And where it mirrors the style and materials of the home it sits next to, it creates a perfect partnership. Black glass will obviously not be as transparent as clear glass, but it will still allow light to pass through and will do more to zone the spaces between terrace and planting. A half-height wall along the patio also creates a stronger boundary, with the glass acting as a softer edge.

    8. Make it horizontal

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

    Image credit: Future Plc/Mark Bolton

    Deck railings don’t have to be vertical, as this homeowner showed with their pick. Using wood slats in a horizontal formation creates a stronger edge for the deck, but in turn creates amazing shadows when the sunlight is scattered. 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 a 19th century period house, chair, table, terrace

    Image credit: Future Plc/Armelle Habib

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

    What can I use instead of the deck railing?

    If you don’t like using patio railings, then don’t use plants to delineate your outdoor space? Choose the same plant, such as lavender or tall grasses, arranged in a tight row along your patio or deck to serve as the boundary border. Alternatively, a low garden wall could be used, a stunning rockery or even benches.

    Which deck railing is the cheapest?

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

    What is the most popular deck railing?

    The most popular deck railings are simple wooden balusters with a handrail top, but you can make yours as adventurous as you want! Using lots of colors, patterns and designs, choose a wooden deck railing in a style that suits you and your garden.


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