When researching ideas to plan your dream backyard, the various terms being used can be confusing at first. Although deck and patio may seem like interchangeable terms, the reality is they describe two different styles of outdoor living space.
Decks are usually flat, raised porches connected to the back of your house. Decks are better for pier and beam homes or if there’s an elevation in the backyard where a deck would be more sensible than pouring concrete. The most commonly used material for a deck is wood, giving the backyard a rustic, cozy feel that is perfect for those who want to enjoy the outdoors. If your deck’s dropoff is larger than 18 inches, railing will be required, but built-in benches around the perimeter can allow for more seating as well as provide a barrier for the space.
Because of the extra materials that go into raising the deck, they’re usually more expensive than patios. On the other hand, having a raised deck allows you to customize the layout more without worrying about uneven ground or elevated homes and can also be matched with a covered roof for maximum shade. The downside of a wooden deck is the durability and upkeep needed to make wood look good year-over-year, but with the proper treatment, wooden decks are a great addition to your backyard.
If you don’t want to deal with the maintenance of real wood, composite decking is a pricier option that will last longer in the long run. Most composite decks have a warranty for 20-25 years, compared to wooden decks that begin to wear down after roughly 10 years.
Patios generally lie flat on the ground and are made of brick, stone, or concrete. These materials may need some upkeep, but the durability of these stones usually means minimal maintenance. Concrete flooring can be broom brushed like a sidewalk you’d see in your front yard, or stamped or stained to add to the look and feel of your space.
Where patios shine is their easier ability to expand in the future and their lower price when compared to raised decks. If a yard is sloped and needs to be evened out with the patio, or if you want a privacy wall to create more seclusion, prices can increase. They may also be more practical for those with pools or those thinking about adding a pool in the future. These patios can also be paired with a covered roof, making them great year-round,
Whether you choose a deck or a patio, both are great additions to your backyard that can entertain for years to come.