Patio or Deck? How to Decide Patio or Deck? How to Decide

Patio and deck environments are as much a part of a home as the interior spaces. If you're considering adding outdoor living space, you'll probably have to decide between the two. First you'll need to understand the difference between them and why one might be more workable for you than the other. Generally, a patio is a paved area adjoining a house, although it can also be placed in the center of a garden or yard. A deck, on the other hand, is an unroofed porch that extends from a house. Some people design both into their landscape to take advantage of different views. For example, if you live on a hill, a patio can act as an entryway into your home while a deck sits looking over the slope of the hill.


The lay of your land is going to determine the parameters of your outdoor living space, be it a patio or a deck.  A patio needs to be laid on a flat surface on the ground, while a deck will have it's own supports. This means that supports and stairs can be added to raise it from the ground. A deck can also be built on different stories of a house. There is no need to limit it to one layer. There are some fabulous decks that wrap around houses, going from one story to another.

While patios may not have the multilevel diversity of a deck, that have other advantages. A deck must be restricted in location and size since it has to be attached to the house. A patio, other hand can be built to any size and doesn’t have to be attached to your home. If you wish, a patio can be built in the center of your yard or garden. It can be located in a quite area or used to welcome visitors.


Decks and patios are traditionally made of different materials. Decks, as a rule, are made of wood and must be sealed against the weather. For better protection against the weather, you may choose a wood alternative like Trek, which is a composite that does not deteriorate like wood. A patio, on the other hand, is usually paved with tile and may or may not require sealant. Patio materials are varied, giving you many design options.


While decks and patios serve similar functions, one may be more appropriate for different uses than the other. Do you plan to host large outdoor parties or will the space be used primarily for small gatherings? A patio is better for larger parties. It ensures that there is room to lay tables full of food without having to maneuver around a house. Small parties, however, are more intimate on a porch and it is easy to run inside if you forget something. A patio is also a great space for outdoor games. There you can bounce basketballs or set up a badminton net. An improvised game of bocce ball could be played there as well.

If you wish to keep your area quite, there is no reason you can’t pull out a few chairs and enjoy a sunset. For this a deck is ideal. It lifts you off the ground giving you access to views you might not be able to see from the ground level. A  deck is also a good place to watch wildlife and birds. Since it is so close to the house, there are many places to hang bird feeders.


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