Outdoor Standoff: Decks vs. Patios

Do you have a big backyard that you’ve been itching to use more? If this is the year you’ve decided to sink some money into your outdoor space, you might be wondering:

Am I a patio person or a deck dweller?

patio or deck

 Patio photo courtesy of Joanne Kostecky; deck photo courtesy of Trex

Weighty Matters: If you’re planning on adding a big hot tub, stone fireplace, cast-iron dining set and 12 chaise lounges, a patio might make more sense for you. While decks can be built to support almost anything these days, it becomes a lot more expensive to meet the safety requirements needed for heavy furniture and big crowds. If you decide to go with a deck, consider safety first: Always use a licensed contractor and stay up to date on maintenance.

patio design ideas

Location: When planning a party platform, it’s important to consider your view and the view of your neighbors. Will your neighbors get more of an eyeful if you’re up on a deck or down on a patio? Which option gives you better proximity to the house and kitchen? Also, do you plan to worship the sun or chill in the shade? Just like in real estate, when it comes to developing your outdoor space, location is everything.

deck design ideas

Photo courtesy of Timber Tech

Style: As with any addition or remodel, you want to be sure to match the style of your home. Your contemporary house might be screaming for a modern concrete patio, while a quaint cottage would much prefer a white wood deck. Take a minute to listen to your house — is there an outdoor style option that it seems to lend itself to?


Photo courtesy of Room and Board

Cost: Building a deck is typically more affordable than installing a concrete patio; however, concrete needs less maintenance and is more durable. You may want to think about how long you’ll be in your current home and what you’re expecting from this outdoor space.

hgtv smart home deck

Photo courtesy of HGTV Smart Home 2013 

Both decks and patios can be great places to beat the heat with giant umbrellas and stylish accessories, and both can be dressed up with vibrant colors and seasonal plants.



Where would you rather spend the rest of your summer?

Comments (9)

  1. granny says:

    Patio or deck? I guess it depends on the location and what you have to work with.I like both .In the midwest and southern states probably something with covering to limit the exposure to the sun,in northern states,well surprise me

    • Laurie_March says:

      Granny –

      I love your mindset! Surprises can be fun :)

      I do love a covering too – it makes it so easy to sit and sip a lemonade, read a book, and put your feet up for a bit – without needing all the sunscreen.

  2. oklahomalandscape says:

    Patios seem more elegant, and I think you could do more with permanent outdoor environment features like outdoor kitchens and outdoor fireplaces. #outdoorenvironments Love the pictures! Great ideas.

  3. Rebecca says:

    We have both; however, our deck is now without the 24 foot round above ground pool. It is a huge deck of trex. In all of my searching around hgtv sites I have never seen a segment on how to keep such a deck and remodel around it to make a beautiful backyard. I would be happy for you to come to my backyard and show the
    World how to make such an improvement. I love my deck for its size for entertaining.

  4. sherry says:

    "Deck Mii" any day! I like a table w/ umbrella through the center – put my slipper tub out each spring – long evening baths, whiporwhils singing in background, ice tea or lemonade, got a small fire stove, Strait music in the background . . . these are the priceless times in life . . . Enjoy ~ Cheers ~ Rock Out!

  5. DiscourageFan says:

    wish they would show examples for less expensive housing.. you can have a big yard but not a million dollar house. Wish hgtv would go back to designing for regular low-middle income people instead of people with high high incomes. who can afford these extravaganzas

  6. frogprincess says:

    Why not both? I love the house to deck convenience, but then you can make it step down onto a patio for a fireplace and/or pool ;)

  7. Picktured says:

    Realistically with climate change the only thing that makes sense is enclosed. We will be adding one to our backyard and it must be enclosed with a cover. The architects don't offer so many options, perhaps because so many large windows and screens bumps up the price. Enclosed terraces or verandas are often called Arizona or Florida rooms but they are expanding beyond their borders.

  8. Mo Vance says:

    I have a 4th floor balcony!! any "limited " ideas would be appreciated.

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