Design & Planning

6 Deck Patterns That Go Against the Grain

February 3, 2020

When you think “deck design,” you may primarily think of the shape of the space, the color of the boards, or even outdoor living décor. And while those are all important elements to consider as you work to create your decking dreams, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. At TimberTech, we believe in decking that lets you Go Against the Grain®, translating to an outdoor living space that is truly eye-catching.

In that spirit, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite deck patterns — broken down across degree of installation complexity — so you can choose the look that best encompasses your unique style.

Single Width

A foundational deck layout defined by straight, consistent lines you can customize by using narrow, standard, or wide boards.

Single-Width

Single-width patterns use one width throughout the design and have a traditional feel.

EASY
BASICS
MODERATE
REIMAGINED
ADVANCED
ADVENTUROUS
Picture Frame

Creates a border around your deck’s perimeter or helps define specific spaces within it.

Picture Frame

Picture frame patterns trace a border around your deck and offer an attractive finished look.

EASY
BASICS
MODERATE
REIMAGINED
ADVANCED
Pinstripe

Two narrow boards border a single, wider one to create this pattern that gets its name from pinstripe suiting.

Pinstripe

Pinstripe patterns alternate wide and narrow deck boards for a coastal-cool feel.

EASY
BASICS
MODERATE
REIMAGINED
ADVANCED
Assortment

Multi-width boards are arranged in rows of narrow, standard, and wide and repeated for dynamic visual effect.

Diagonal

Diagonal inlays draw the eye and indicate a gathering place for family and friends.

EASY
BASICS
MODERATE
REIMAGINED
ADVANCED
Diagonal Inlay

A pattern embedded within a larger deck layout that combines picture framing and angled, single-width boards.

Herringbone

Herringbone patterns are at once dynamic and elegant for a conversation-starting deck.

EASY
BASICS
MODERATE
REIMAGINED
ADVANCED
Tile

Straight boards are arranged in groups and alternatively rotated for a geometrical layout sometimes called “box" or "basket weave.”

Tile

Tile patterns create visual interest and exude luxury living.

EASY
BASICS
MODERATE
REIMAGINED
ADVANCED
ADVENTUROUS
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Simple Deck Patterns

Single-Width

TT Azek Vintage Cypress Single Width.jpg

Style: Classic
Complexity: Easy easy

Single-width, as you might guess, is a deck pattern where the inlay is made up of the same width of boards across the entire deck. This go-to deck pattern has stood the test of time for a reason. The consistent lines evoke classic style and won’t compete with other design elements you might introduce, whether those be variable pieces like outdoor living furniture or a more permanent pergola. If you yearn for a timeless deck design that exudes classic vibes combined with an adherence to balance and structure, this deck pattern is for you.

Single width deck patterns.JPG

Benefits to This Style

  • Easy Installation: Because this is the most straight-forward inlay option and uses standard framing, you can expect a timely installation from your contractor. If you’re interested in going the DIY route, single-width decking is an accessible project — but with a final product that is just as gorgeous as some of the more advanced deck patterns.
  • Versatile and Scalable: The timeless, unimposing feel of this pattern means that it works well on decks of any size. When used on a larger deck, the no-frills pattern echoes the airiness of your outdoor living space. On a smaller deck, the straight lines won’t pull the eye downward, maximizing a sense of openness and banishing feelings of clutter.

Ways to Customize

  • Get Creative With Color: Just because you’ve opted for the clean lines of single-width decking doesn’t mean you can’t still showcase your unique style. Review our hues, choose a favorite color palette, and select from options in a similar color family across a given collection. Alternatively, make a statement with high-contrast deck boards. With over 35 colors available across the TimberTech decking portfolio — including four on-trend composite decking colors in our new Reserve Collection — your mix-and-match options are limited only by your imagination.
  • Don’t Forget About Grain: If you want to add a subtle layer of textural variety to your single-width deck, consider the grain patterns. Certain collections, like our TimberTech AZEK® Vintage Collection® and TimberTech PRO® Legacy Collection, have infinitely variable grain patterns, which capture the nuanced and complex beauty of traditional wood.
  • Get ‘Width’ It: Our TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection widths come in standard (5.5 inches), narrow (3.5 inches), and wide (7.25 inches), so you can combine the exceptional durability and enduring beauty of capped polymer decking with your own personal style. We also offer standard- and wide-width deck boards in the Slate Gray and Brownstone colors of the TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection®.

Deck Planning Notes

Moderate Deck Patterns

Picture Frame

TT Azek Harvest Island Oak Picture Frame Deck Pattern.jpg

Style: Classic
Complexity: Moderate moderate

Picture framing a deck involves running at least one layer of deck board around the perimeter of the deck, at the edge of the inlay. Picture frame patterns lend a polished feel to your outdoor living space while also staying subtle enough not to compete with other add-ons like lighting or railing. For those who gravitate toward more traditional styles but want a subtle finish to their outdoor living space, picture frame deck patterns will have your neighbors regarding your deck like the work of art it is.

picture frame deck patterns.JPG

Benefits to This Style

  • Hides the Ends of Composite Decking: Adding a picture frame detail to your composite deck is a great way to combine elevated style and straightforward protection. The edge-tracing picture frame lends a nicely finished look, and at the same time, creates a natural cover to finish the ends of composite decking.
  • Won’t Compete for Center Stage: Picture frame designs lend visual interest to your outdoor living space without dominating other features like lighting or railing. They also keep the look of the space subtly modern and more versatile than some of the more statement-making deck patterns like tile or herringbone.

Ways to Customize

  • Contrast Your Colors: If you want a look that pops, consider choosing picture frame deck boards in a color that contrasts the main boards. For inspiration, take a tour through this 3D Eclectic Multi-Width Deck which showcases how richly hued Dark Hickory from the Vintage Collection complements the contemporary gray of the collection’s deck boards in Coastline®.
  • Change Up Your Widths: Varying the widths of the picture frame deck boards adds another layer of visual interest and sophistication. For example, using the wide-width boards of the Harvest Collection’s Brownstone as a bold perimeter to offset the narrow-width boards of the collection’s Slate Gray keeps things looking fresh yet timeless.
  • Frame Your Frame: You can opt for fascia boards from the same product line as the deck boards you use for the picture frame for a monochromatic look or go with the crisp white and unbeatable durability of AZEK Trim crafted from cellular PVC. If your home’s exterior already features AZEK Trim and/or AZEK Moulding, apply PVC as deck fascia to tie together the overall look of your home.

Deck Planning Notes

  • Picture frame decking requires additional support for the substructure. Your contractor will be able to determine how to construct a substructure that supports the installation of picture frame decking.

*NOTE: Multi-width options are available only in the TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection (all colors) and the TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection (Brownstone and Slate Gray).

Pinstripe

TT AZEK pinstripe pattern.jpg

Style: Reimagined
Complexity: Moderate moderate

Crisp and coastal-cool, the pinstripe is one of the deck patterns that evokes thoughts of a relaxing and sun-soaked afternoon. Traditionally defined by two narrow boards buffeted by standard or wide-width boards on either side, the pinstripe pattern promises villa vibes even if you don’t live in a tropical climate. If you gravitate toward subtle but intentional design and have an eye for detail, this is the deck pattern for you.

pinstripe deck patterns.JPG

Benefits to This Style

  • Elevates the Look and Feel: As deck patterns go, installing one reminiscent of suit fabric will go a long way toward communicating a sense of resort-ready sophistication — however, just like single-width or picture framed decks, a pinstripe pattern won’t upstage or compete with other décor.
  • Reimagines Decking: Because this pattern is a fresh take on a popular deck layout, you can expect family and friends to feel immediately welcome at the same time you showcase your unique taste.

Deck Planning Notes

  • Expect this to be a faster installation, as this deck layout calls for standard framing.
  • Budget in more time for large decks with a significant amount of narrow boards, which also require more fasteners. This style can be combined with a picture frame but you will have to adjust the time and budget of the project.

Advanced Deck Patterns

Diagonal Inlay

TT Legacy Mocha Pecan Diagonal Inlay.png

Style: Adventurous
Complexity: Advanced advanced

Nothing says “dynamic design” like a diagonal inlay. With sleek lines streaming from stage left to right, diagonal deck patterns showcase a high level of stylistic complexity and deliver some serious curb appeal. Diagonal inlay deck patterns are not for the faint of heart — this design is dynamic and unique, so expect to have an outdoor living space that sparks conversation.

diagonal deck patterns.JPG

Benefits to This Style

  • Introduces Alternate Dimensions: Diagonal lines draw the eye through a space. Especially for larger decks, diagonal lines can imply a gentle flow of traffic — especially when anchored by furniture or a dining table at strategic points, like in the photo above. The final effect? A multi-dimensional outdoor living space that clearly supports different uses.
  • Modernizes Your Home: Diagonal lines make a fresh style statement that can’t be denied, making even more traditional homes look and feel contemporary.

Ways to Customize

  • Seek Complementary Colors: If you would like to play with the inherent sense of movement and energy contained in diagonal deck patterns, you can opt for fascia in contrasting colors — or, as in the photo above, a contrasting central inlay within the larger inlay.

Deck Planning Notes

  • Diagonal inlay deck patterns will require a specialized substructure to account for the different joist angles needed to support the diagonal boards at different points of the deck. That said, because TimberTech AZEK decking can be heat-bent for a truly custom deck, diagonal inlays applied using TimberTech AZEK boards can be met with curving fascia for a cool interplay between straight and sinuous lines.
  • Given the complexity of these types of deck patterns, we recommend working with an experienced contractor and budget for more time.

*NOTE: Heat-bent applications are only available with TimberTech AZEK products.

Herringbone

TT Azek Vintage Mahogany Herringbone Pattern.jpg

Style: Adventurous
Complexity: Advanced advanced

Elegant, intricate, and textural, nothing says “luxury decking” quite like a herringbone pattern. Herringbone patterns are formed by repeating instances of two deck boards meeting at 45-degree angles. The crisscrossed, interlocking design evokes the richness of woven textiles and takes a deck from straightforward to statement-making.

herringbone deck patterns.JPG

Benefits to This Style

  • Packs a Punch: This advanced deck pattern is rich in visual interest and immediately elevates the style of your outdoor living space. Because of the tightness of the pattern, a herringbone inlay pairs best with larger decks where the pattern can recur. Herringbone deck patterns also work well as an intricate focal point when used as a framed inlay offset by single-width decking throughout the rest of the space.
  • Accommodates a Unique Deck Shape: Depending on the collection and product line, TimberTech boards come in lengths of 12, 16, and 20 feet. If your deck is longer than a single board’s span, a herringbone insert at the center of the deck can cover any natural breaks and minimize joints and gaps.

Ways to Customize

  • Master Different Widths: Depending on the size of your deck and/or the size of the accent portion of the deck for which you’re planning a herringbone pattern, you may have room to play with multi-width options. Although herringbone patterns are stunning when constructed with narrow-width deck boards, a wide-width or sprawling outdoor living space could accommodate a herringbone accent made from standard-width decking.

Deck Planning Notes

  • Herringbone deck patterns require a specialized substructure and a combination of both single and doubled joists to provide structural support where the ends of the deck boards meet.
  • Given the complexity of these types of deck patterns, we recommend working with an experienced contractor and budget for more time.

Tile

TT Azek Silver Oak Tile Pattern.jpg

Style: Adventurous
Complexity: Advanced advanced

Tile deck patterns are formed by adjoining framed portions (“tiles”) whose inlays run perpendicular to one another. The geometric design is pleasing to the eye and the crisp right angles convey precision and intentionality. Talk about a high-end outdoor living space.

Benefits to This Style

  • Stately Elegance: The clearly defined linework of this deck pattern shows off the unwavering, buckle-free profile of your premium-performance composite deck. If you have a home whose exterior also plays up contours and borders — such as a Cape Cod- or Craftsman-style home — this pattern provides a seamless complement.
  • Establishes Space: The clear borders to this deck pattern draw the eye outward, contributing to a sense of enlarged space. That said, the repeating pattern of tile deck patterns mean that this inlay option is best-suited for a sizeable outdoor loving space.

Ways to Customize

  • Cue the Contrast: Opt for a contrasting deck board to serve as the frame and make the inlay interior pop even more.

Deck Planning Notes

  • Despite all the right angles, tile deck patterns require a specialized substructure and deck joists that will support weight differently depending on the orientation of the deck boards.
  • Work with an experienced contractor and budget for more time, given the complexity of the project.
  • The size of the tiles themselves will vary based on the size of your deck, but in general, we have found that 24-inch to 36-inch wide tiles are the optimum size.

*NOTE: Multi-width options are available only in the TimberTech AZEK Vintage Collection (all colors) and the TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection (Brownstone and Slate Gray).

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