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Deck vs patio: Which is better for your home?

Comparing decks and patios based on cost, appearance, and more

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Key Facts

  • A deck is a freestanding or elevated platform that’s attached to a home or structure to extend the outdoor living space.
  • A patio is a paved outdoor area that’s also adjacent to a building or home. It is used for dining and relaxing, is built on a level surface, and is integrated into the landscape or greenery.


Owning a home is the ultimate dream for most people. This includes outdoor spaces like a front yard, a backyard garden, and maybe even some water features. If you’re a homeowner, creating a beautiful outdoor area is essential to enjoying every inch of your home. This means you’ll probably start by choosing between a deck vs patio.

You could install either a deck or a patio or both. If you’re wondering what’s the difference between decks and patios, this comparison guide will help you make the best choice for your home.

What is a deck?

a large deck with a table and lounge chairs

What is decking? Decking is the installation of an elevated platform that’s either freestanding or attached to a house. A deck can be made from various materials, such as wood, timber, or composite. It provides an area for outdoor activities, like dining, lounging, and entertaining. 

Decks can be accessed through doors from the interior of your house or through a short flight of stairs that you can install on its side. They also come in different designs, offering homeowners a customisable outdoor environment that complements their personal preferences and home architecture.

What is a patio?

a big house with a garden patio

A patio is a paved outdoor area usually adjacent to a building or a house. Patios provide a designated space for outdoor activities like dining and socialising. They are constructed using concrete, stone, brick, or pavers and can be customised in terms of shape, size, and layout. A raised patio is not uncommon. But unlike raised decks, most patios are usually built at ground level and are integrated into the existing landscape.

Decking vs patio: Which is better for your needs?

The choice between a patio vs deck depends on your budget, existing outdoor space, property type, garden style, and personal preference. Both options offer benefits that cater to different needs.


In terms of cost

If you’re mindful of your budget, it’s wise to compare the costs of decks and patios. The typical spend for decking is around £2,350. However, you can install a wood deck for £800 or build a composite or timber one that costs as much as £3,900. Meanwhile, a patio costs £1,300 to £1,750 on average. Ultimately, your total expenses will depend on the size and material quality of your decking or patio. Either way, you’ll be increasing the resale value of your home.


Recommendation: Pick a standard patio if you only have a small renovation budget.


In terms of appearance

a wooden deck with shaded seating areas

Decks can be constructed using wood and composite materials to offer a warm, simple appearance. Meanwhile, patios are made from concrete paving, brick, or natural stone, and each produces unique results. For example, concrete patios provide a clean and modern look, while brick and natural stone ones offer a traditional and rustic aesthetic.

For decking, you have different options, like softwood, timber, and composite, and the planks can be stained or painted. Generally, decks incorporate a selection of railings and accessories, such as balusters, post caps, and lighting. As such, they can blend seamlessly with your house or create a contrasting focal point.

As for patios, they come in shades of grey, brown, and red based on the material used. Moreover, they include decorative borders and accents with contrasting shapes or colours for better visual appeal. Patios can be designed to integrate greenery, such as planted borders, flowers, or shrubbery, enriching the space with natural beauty.

 

Recommendation: Pick a patio if you want much freedom for customisation.


In terms of construction complexity

a person building a deck

Wondering how the design process differs between a deck and a patio? Well, decks tend to be harder to build due to their elevated nature and the need for structural support. Construction can get even more complex if you incorporate multiple levels or custom features. Additionally, deck construction often involves compliance with stricter building codes, especially for safety considerations like railings and stairs.

As mentioned earlier, paving a patio is usually at ground level or on a flat surface. This simplifies the foundation work. Its complexity largely depends on the chosen paving material. Patios can offer design flexibility and require less engineering than decks.

That said, both decks and patios can be constructed by homeowners with DIY skills. But for complex designs or structural elements, it’s better to consult a professional deck or patio contractor. This ensures your safety and compliance with local building regulations.


Recommendation: Pick a patio if you want something easier or faster to build.


In terms of versatility/functionality

a property with a large patio garden

Patios have a range of designs, making them versatile or adaptable in terms of aesthetics. A concrete patio can integrate seamlessly with the ground, providing a natural transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. This makes it easy to add seating and other outdoor fixtures, such as a hot tub or a fire pit. 

On the other hand, a timber or composite deck offers more options for creating multi-level spaces and accommodating features. Multiple levels allow you to create distinct zones. For instance, you can have a dining area on one level and a lounging area on another, providing flexibility for different activities. Your deck can easily include an outdoor kitchen!

 

Recommendation: Pick a deck if you want an elevated, all-purpose structure.

 

In terms of durability/maintenance 

The durability of decks and patios often comes down to the materials used. Preserving the quality of composite decking and certain patio materials, like pavers and natural stone, requires less effort. Conversely, pressure-treated wood decks and basic concrete patios might need frequent cleaning. 

Usually, decks can be subject to wear and tear over time, while patios can last long with simple maintenance. Nonetheless, note that the service life of your deck or patio depends on the local climate and your outdoor space’s exposure to the elements.


Recommendation: Pick a patio for a low-maintenance addition to your home.


In terms of eco-friendliness

The eco-friendliness of a deck and patio significantly depends on the materials used. For decking, a good alternative is sustainable wood, like cedar and redwood. These are better choices than pressure-treated wood, which uses chemicals during manufacturing. Natural stone and brick patios are more Earth-friendly than concrete ones because they are often quarried and processed with less impact on the environment.

Incorporating green landscaping elements in your deck or patio project, such as native vegetation or rain gardens, can enhance its benefits. It’s advisable to research ecological practices related to home feature construction and maintenance.


Recommendation: Both can be eco-friendly

Achieve your dream deck or patio with Airtasker

a garden with a concrete patio

In your quest to create the perfect outdoor space, remember that whether it’s a deck or a patio, Airtasker is here to help you bring your vision to life. Taskers can assist you with everything, from design and construction to maintenance and repairs. With Airtasker, achieving your dream deck or patio is just a click away. Take the first step towards transforming your outdoor living area and maximise your home’s potential. Log on to Airtasker and connect with nearby professionals to get started today!

Deck vs patio


Deck Patio
Cost

Low: £800

Median: £2,350

High: £3,900

Low: £1,300

Median: £1,525

High: £1,750

Appearance Freestanding or connected to a structure
Raised or built on ground level
Construction May require permits and compliance with building codes
May only require simple foundation work
Versatility/Functionality Can have zones for multiple functions
Has less space for different activities
Durability/Maintenance Vulnerable to weather conditions
Low-maintenance
Eco-friendliness Sustainable materials are available
Sustainable materials are available


FAQs on decks and patios

Decking and paving can have a positive impact on the value of your home, but it’s important to do it right. A well-designed and maintained deck or patio can make your home more attractive to potential buyers and increase its curb appeal. It can also provide additional living space and make your home more enjoyable to live in.

Yes, you can have a deck and a patio simultaneously in your outdoor space as long as you have enough space. In fact, this combination enables you to make the most of each structure’s advantages and create designated areas for activities.

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