As a homeowner with ample yard or garden space, you likely aim to optimize it by crafting a delightful outdoor retreat for yourself and your family. In pursuit of this goal, you may contemplate the choice between a deck or patio.

While many people opt for one or the other, if you require additional information to determine which option suits your home best or are uncertain about the distinctions between decks and patios, this comparative guide is here to assist you.

What is the difference between a deck and a patio?

Decks and patios are both awesome outdoor spaces, but they’re not quite the same. Let’s break it down so you can easily tell the difference!

What is a deck?

First off, let’s talk about decks. Picture this: a deck is like a big wooden platform that’s attached to your house. It’s usually raised off the ground and made of wood or composite materials. Decks are perfect for chillin’ and grillin’ with friends and family. You can set up some cosy outdoor furniture, fire up the BBQ, and enjoy the fresh air. Plus, decks are super versatile – you can add all sorts of cool features like built-in benches, pergolas, or even a hot tub!

A wooden porch with string lights and grill

What is a patio?

Now, let’s switch gears and chat about patios. Unlike decks, patios are usually made of stone, concrete, or pavers and they’re built right on the ground. Think of a patio as an open-air living room – it’s a great spot to hang out and soak up some sunshine. You can set up a dining table for al fresco meals, create a cosy lounge area with comfy chairs and a fire pit, or even add some potted plants for a touch of greenery. Patios are awesome because they’re low-maintenance and durable, making them perfect for outdoor entertaining all year round.

A group of young friends having great summertime, sitting by a fireplace at the backyard of the country house in nature. Top view

So, what’s the big difference between decks and patios? Well, it all comes down to materials and location. Decks are typically made of wood or composite materials and are raised off the ground, while patios are made of stone, concrete, or pavers and are built right on the ground. Both decks and patios are fantastic outdoor spaces where you can relax, entertain, and enjoy the great outdoors – it just depends on your style and space!

In summary, decks are raised platforms made of wood or composite materials, perfect for outdoor gatherings and customizable with cool features like built-in benches or hot tubs. On the other hand, patios are ground-level outdoor spaces made of stone, concrete, or pavers, ideal for creating an open-air living room atmosphere with dining areas, lounge spots, or greenery. Whether you prefer the elevated charm of a deck or the grounded simplicity of a patio, both options offer fantastic outdoor living opportunities to enjoy with friends and family.

The pros and cons of a deck and a patio


Benefits of decks

  1. Higher Resale Value: Decks typically yield a 76% return on investment, surpassing returns from indoor home renovations.
  2. Works well on uneven terrain: Decks can be installed on any type of land, even if your yard is not level.
  3. Good for a view: Elevated decks offer better views, enhancing your home’s value.
  4. Easily Customizable: Wooden decks can be painted or stained to match your preferences or house exterior.

Cons of decks

  1. More Maintenance: Decks require regular power washing, staining, and sealing, depending on the material.
  2. Shorter Lifespan: Wood decks are prone to weather damage, rot, and fading if not properly maintained.
  3. Possible Permit: Many areas require permits for deck construction, adding fees and wait times.
  4. Expensive: Decks tend to be pricier, averaging $30 per square foot for high-end materials.
  5. Weight Restrictions: Consider weight limitations, especially for additions like hot tubs or outdoor kitchens.
Friends hanging out together, grilling food, playing with a dog and drinking wine at backyard. Top view on a beautiful garden


Benefits of patios

  1. Less Expensive: Patios are typically cheaper to install, especially if using concrete.
  2. Easy Maintenance: Patios generally require less upkeep and no regular sealing.
  3. More Privacy: Lower to the ground, patios offer more privacy with landscaping options.
  4. Long Lifespan: Quality patios can last over 25 years with minimal maintenance.

Cons of patios

  1. Not for Uneven Terrain: Patios are best suited for level ground, requiring costly foundation work otherwise.
  2. Prone to Cracks: Poor soil preparation can lead to cracking, especially in extreme temperatures.
  3. Susceptible to Stains: Patios can be stained by natural elements and require frequent cleaning.
  4. More Construction: Installation may be more complex and time-consuming, especially in areas with ground movement.

When adding a deck or patio, ensure proper property coverage with home insurance. Additionally, prioritize safety in design to avoid accidents.

Choosing between decks and patios: What’s right for you?

Deciding between a deck or a patio hinges on factors like your budget, available outdoor space, property layout, gardening style, and personal preferences. Each option offers distinct advantages tailored to different needs.

Cost consideration

When it comes to expenses, comparing deck and patio costs is crucial. Decking typically ranges from $3,600 for wood to $11,500 for composite or timber, with an average spend of $7,550. Conversely, a patio averages $3,500 to $8,500. However, the final cost depends on size and material quality, with both options boosting your home’s resale value.


Decks, crafted from wood or composite, offer a cosy feel, while patios, made from concrete, brick, or natural stone, provide varied aesthetics. Decks can be stained or painted and customized with railings and accessories, blending seamlessly or standing out against your house. Patios come in diverse materials and colours, with decorative borders and landscaping options to enhance visual appeal.

Group of senior friends sitting by the table on a terrace in the backyard

Construction complexity

Deck construction is more intricate due to elevation and structural requirements, especially for multi-level designs, and may involve stricter building codes. Patios, typically at ground level, require simpler foundation work, with complexity varying based on the paving material chosen. Both can be DIY projects but may need professional input for complex designs or safety compliance.


Patios offer flexibility in design, easily integrating with outdoor fixtures like seating, hot tubs, or fire pits. Decks, particularly timber or composite, provide options for multi-level spaces, allowing distinct zones for different activities, such as dining or lounging, and accommodating features like outdoor kitchens.


Deck and patio durability depends on the materials used. Composite decking and certain patio materials require less maintenance than pressure-treated wood decks or basic concrete patios. Climate and exposure to elements affect wear and tear, with patios generally requiring less upkeep for long-term durability.


The eco-friendliness of your choice depends on the materials used. Sustainable wood options like cedar or redwood are preferable for decking, while natural stone or brick is more environmentally friendly for patios compared to concrete. Incorporating green landscaping elements can further enhance eco-benefits, promoting sustainable construction and maintenance practices.

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