Natural wood decking is still a great product, many home owners now want something that is maintenance free and frankly that kind of decking does not exist. Everything has maintenance and the value equation is one of the time spent, the result and the value added to the home. One growing category in Canada and the US is the hardwood decking of Ipe, Cumaru, and Tigerwood, all of which are long lasting and durable – more so than the softwoods usually used for decking.
Maintenance options are the same as softwoods, you can leave it alone and the deck will turn gray with weathering, however simply putting on a water repellant with a UV protector can add years to the deck and keep the natural colors longer. I believe in doing this. It is money well spent to keep up the appearance of the deck as a lot of labor and money built it in the first place.
Protect the deck from grease and grime, if you have a BBQ on the deck, use some sort of matting under the deck, one customer was quite upset about BBQ grease and childrens’ spills on the deck. I sympathized but no warranty on that sort of mess and prevention is the best cure.