15 Dazzling Hardwood Deck Design Ideas for Gardeners

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Do you want to spend time enjoying your garden deck rather than maintain it? Prefer to putter in the plants than deal with maintaining a deck every year? Well, long-lasting hardwood decking may be the solution for you. Get inspired with dazzling design ideas for your garden deck.


Ipe Rooftop Deck with Garden Planters and Seating

A garden retreat of any size can be yours with the right deck design. Photo courtesy @The Organic Gardener NYC


Choose The Best Wood Decking

Whether you prefer a deck in the garden or a garden on the deck, make it your retreat of color and fragrance all season long. The first step is the right wood decking.

Choosing natural premium hardwood decking in a garden area has so many benefits:

1) Hardwood is the lowest maintenance, highest strength decking material you can choose for your yard.

2) Hardwood lasts through all weather much longer than pressure-treated decking lumber and does so beautifully.

3) Why just plant a garden when you can create a natural garden getaway?


This pool and dining deck has sunken garden areas like the one shown, complemented by the natural tones and graining of real wood.


Hardwood Pool Deck With Garden in Long Island

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What could be more relaxing than a deck for dining or an outdoor kitchen surrounded by flower gardens?

Using Ipe premium hardwood is the perfect choice for a garden area since it has the highest natural rot and insect resistance of all hardwoods and requires no chemical pre-treatment. Instead of stain, it can be finished with a UV protectant rosewood oil finish to maintain the natural wood grain like-new as needed, (we like and use Penofin Hardwood Formula Penetrating Oil Finish).

Ipe Backyard Deck in a garden


A Backyard Deck with Raised Garden Beds

For some of us, the easiest kind of garden to maintain is one raised to waist level. Like a 'standing desk' except for a garden, raised garden beds can put your cooking herbs, tomatoes, or cutting flower gardens literally within easy reach on your backyard deck. A sculptural planter, below, made with hardwood decking creates a raised garden bed or deck divider. High-density hardwoods like Cumaru hardwood has lovely reddish brown tones and naturally resists pests and water damage without chemical treatment.

Custom Ipe deck planters for raised gardening

Premium hardwoods, with their high load-bearing bending strength, is another reason they are a fantastic choice for heavy items like planters. There is little cause for concern in these extremely low-maintenance decking materials.

Hardwood planters make a flower garden oasis on a city deck

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Create Urban Gardening Space

This deck design is a wonderful option for a garden in an urban setting with a pergola. These hardwood planters become attractive dividers to create space for walkways, dining and relaxing. Plus, built in deck seating!


Ipe hardwood pergola, seating and planters on a city rooftop deck

Below, check out this Garapa deck in progress in New York City. This design has planters and seating ready for a rooftop garden area with a fireplace! Wouldn't this also make a gorgeous ground level deck design for urban backyard entertaining? Garapa hardwood decking is a premium hardwood that is a natural and affordable alternative to composite decking or pressure treated lumber. Garapa has absolutely stunning tones of golden brown varying to deep brown with exotic tropical graining.

Organic Gardener NYC - Garapa deck on rooftop

Garden Deck Wood Walkways

Garden decks and pathways are classic and romantic, even whimsical. This path below, bordered by arbors allows the homeowner and visitors to stroll from the backyard deck through a seaside garden on the way to the beach, or to relax after dinner. Since Ipe has an unsurpassed rating for water, rot, and pest resistance that all other woods are compared to, it will last decades with little maintenance. Compare that a softwood like red cedar decking and you can see the cost savings over a lifetime of use.

Ipe decking plus hardwood walkway and pergolas

Are you in the woods or wetlands? Not everyone has gardens surrounded by lawn! A woodland or wetland walkway takes you above the ground property and allows for a garden view of your wildflowers and meadow grasses without ground foot traffic to interrupt the wild. A hardwood walkway made of high-density Ipe is the most naturally water, rot, and boring insect resistant available. The walkway pictured is in a Florida wildlife sanctuary, but could easily be replicated your own backyard sanctuary.

Ipe decking, posts and railings on boardwalk


Hardwood decking also gives decks a spa-like feel under bare feet, like in this meditation garden. Full sun and weather won't take away its good looks and smooth finish for decades, even if allowed to weather to a silvery gray. Alternating real wood decking and walls with stone pavers softens the cool, hard feel and contrasts nicely in this peaceful space.

Ipe rooftop deck and walkway buddahs

Garden Pergola Retreat

Outdoor structures like pergolas can be away to create an oasis away from, or close to, the house. Pergolas can establish a separate area in your yard, and outdoor room for dining, reading, yoga, playtime. This pergola creates a beautiful garden oasis to sit back and entertain or spend family time. Like the decks made of hardwoods, it only requires minimal maintenance as needed to maintain the natural like new look or allow it to naturally age to a silvery weathered patina for even less work.

Ipe hardwood pergola with benches


Wood pergolas also make an excellent focal point on a garden deck. This small hardwood pergola with seating frames and gives a view of the water. Its an arbor, too! Check out Machiche hardwood for your pergola and decking, a premium hardwood that is has gorgeous brown to reddish brown color variation and interesting figuring in the grains. Your pergola and deck will look like works of art.

Free standing wood pergola with bench seating in a seashore garden

Wondering which hardwood decking is right for your garden project? Check out our free download on the

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Garden Decks with Wood Privacy Walls

Are you planning a garden deck but have neighboring buildings close by? Or busy street view in your best (or only) building site? Block out those prying eyes and tone down that stressful noise using the same hardwood decking materials.

One creative privacy wall, below, is made with Ipe hardwood framing accented with bamboo. Surround your deck and garden with a simple but artistic wood privacy wall that will promise years of good looks and functionality and looks so much better than plastic fencing.


Premium Ipe hardwood with bamboo in a garden privacy wall


Design your deck space with a planter bench and privacy wall, all made with hardwood decking material. It gives you a long-lasting, low-maintenance decking option compared to softwoods like red cedar or pressure treated decking alternatives, and it will blend right into your deck design. Not to mention it makes a gorgeous backdrop for evening lighting!


Ipe hardwood decking planters and screen with brick above New York City


Container Gardening on a Deck

Container gardening is a big trend in all size spaces with the advantage of this garden placed wherever iis best for you. Adding large planters of annuals, veggies, and even tubs of water plants to a wood deck is a common sight.  Natural hardwood can handle the watering and the weight of large tubs of plants because of its inherent high fiber density. Compare hardwoods to composite decking or softwoods, for instance, and you will see the advantage for yourself. 

Hardwood decking materials make for excellent garden decks

Have these garden deck ideas helped inspired your design? Ready to see even more? Download the free "Deck Design Ideas eBook with 150+ photos of deck designs and 61+ pages of design inspiration.

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