Functional Timber Deck Balustrade Ideas


At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much about balustrades and handrails for your timber deck. They’re essentially barriers that protect you from stepping over the edge of the deck. But apply some imagination and construction smarts and the humble railing can transform into something more. Here are some delightful timber deck balustrade ideas.

The Transparent Deck Balustrade

If you have a raised deck such as the one in the photo above then it makes perfect sense to place railings around the deck’s perimeter so you don’t end up falling on your face or hurting yourself should you inadvertently step over the edge of the structure. And the higher the elevation of your deck the more necessary it is to have that protective barrier around it.

However, this level of protection does have its downside, especially if your deck happens to look over a magnificent view. Deck railings with matching solid balustrades can obscure the view,  perhaps not completely, but probably enough so that it takes away from the overall experience. A cable balustrade provides a suitable solution. Besides giving your deck a modern, streamlined appearance, the cables are so narrow that they all but disappear against the backdrop, providing you with an unimpeded view (or at least a convincing illusion) of the grandeur that surrounds your deck.


You can also ensure that you don’t lose the view while still protecting yourself from gravity by using clear glass or acrylic panels for balustrading, as in the case below.


Deck Balustrade Elbow Room

Normally the decks balustrade is topped off with a narrow piece of timber handrail, such as in the photo below.


You’ll notice that there’s barely enough room on top of the railing to accommodate your elbows. Wouldn’t it be great if you could fit in a lot more? That’s a problem that can easily be addressed; simply widen the area on top of the railing.


(Photo courtesy of

As you can see in the photo above, the builder simply added more timber to increase the width of the handrail so you can place more than your elbows on it. This allows for increased flexibility and more versatility in the space. Now you can do more than just lean on the handrail. You can actually use the extra space to beautify your deck with container plants and decorative ornaments. When you have many guests you can use it to hold beverages and snack plates. In fact, why not go ahead and build additional dining space on the new bench space, as in the example below?


(Photo courtesy of

The Best Seats In the House!

Seating is so important to having a good deck experience, especially when you have many guests around. If you need extra seating on your deck you can simply convert your balustrade into seats! You and your guests are still protected from gravity but at the same time you have ample seating to provide. So everyone is safe yet relaxed and happy.


(Photo courtesy of

The Balustrade As Garden

One more proof of balustrading versatility is that you can use it to propagate a container garden right on your deck. Simply integrate planter boxes into the design and you have the beginnings of what could be an awesome flower bed.


(Photo courtesy of

The added bonus for you is that when the plants are fully grown and the flowers are in full bloom you have incredible organic spots of colour that bring your deck to life.



(Photo courtesy of


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