What is the difference between a patio and a deck?

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Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager


While many homeowners link the two together, outdoor patios and decks are very different. Both will provide you with an outdoor space to enjoy, and can allow you to bask the outdoors all year round.  Whether you choose to build a deck or a patio will be determined by your outdoor space, and the look and function that you are going for.

What is a patio?

Patios are a paved area, situated directly at ground level, and can be attached or free standing from a house. They are often designed with the current landscaping in mind, and can be made with a variety of materials, such as concrete, brick, and pavers. Patios are versatile, and can be built in any shape and size that the homeowner wants.

What is a deck?

A deck is an outdoor platform/ living area, that is elevated high off of the ground, and connected to a house or building, usually built at the back of a house. They are supported by structural elements, such as joists, beams, and posts. Decks are primarily made out of wood ( wood deck), or composite decking, like vinyl. Generally, decks are enclosed by a deck railing for safety, and access to the backyard deck can be made from the house through doors, or the ground via stairways.

Should you choose to build a deck or a patio?

When deciding whether you want to build a deck or a patio, consider the layout of your outdoor space, the shape and size of the structure, and what purpose it is serving.

Patios are ideal for yards that are flat (pavers and bricks need to be laid on a flat surface), and for homeowners wanting privacy. At ground level it is easy to block neighbourhood views with plants or furniture. If you are wanting to incorporate the landscaping into your design, patios can be surrounded by flowers, and trees. Patio pavers require less maintenance to clean than wood or composite decking, so if lifespan of your outdoor living space is important to you, this is something you should consider.

Decks are a better option for homeowners wanting a view, since they are built off the ground, and can offer a wider visual range. If you are wanting to step out onto an outdoor living space from your second storey kitchen or bedroom, a deck is the way to go.

Both decks and patios offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Each backyard space provides homeowners with different options when it comes to how they can enhance their space, and what structure to build. Outdoor  Decks and patios can allow homeowners to lounge, have outdoor furniture, outdoor lighting, and string lights to make the space extra festive. If homeowners are looking for a hot tub for their outdoor area, a patio is best suited. 

Think that a patio will suit your space? Read How to improve your outdoor living space.

What are the Similarities of a deck and patio?

Both decks and patios can be covered or uncovered, have separate areas for entertaining, such as dining areas and living areas, and offer a place to relax and unwind. Both of these structures can provide you with a great place to entertain, and can have an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, bar, or whatever design elements a homeowner wants added to it. Both decks and patios enhance your outdoor living space, and can add to the resale value of your home.