Deck vs. patio? Although there are pros and cons to both, each offers endless opportunities for creating an outdoor oasis. And depending on your talents and ambition, both decks and patios can be DIY jobs.
The Deal with Decks
- Decks can be more expensive than patios, ranging anywhere from around $15 per square foot for pressure-treated wood (which needs to be sealed every two years) to $35 or more for redwood or composite decking (which doesn't).
- You'll need a permit from your local building inspections department—they'll want to make sure your deck is constructed properly and up to code.
- Unlike patios, decks allow you to exit your house from different height elevations.
Home Shopping in Virginia?
That's a great call if you love spending time outside. Our gorgeous new homes in Virginia welcome comfortable outdoor living, spring through fall. But wherever you build, measure the sun exposure during different times of the day—and make the appropriate design accommodations.
Need some inspiration? Better Homes & Gardens offers lots of dreamy deck photos. We love their clever plantings and lighting ideas.
A Patio Primer
- Patios can be much less expensive than decks if you use plain concrete, brick, or pavers. Stone is a more luxurious choice that starts at about $30 per square foot.
- Unlike wood additions, patios don't require sanding or sealing—but you'll likely have to deal with weeding.
- You won't need a building permit.
- But you'll need to level out the ground beforehand.
- Patios accumulate grime and moss, so plan on pressure-washing once a year.
- Compared to elevated decks, patios are safer for children.
- Patios can get hot because concrete and stone conduct heat.
Check out Sunset magazine for loads of photo inspiration—winter patios, affordable Balinese patios, easy brick jobs, and more.
There's no limit to what you can do with outdoor space. Here's a rundown of ideas:
- Work a hot tub or fire pit into your design.
- Surround your space with lattice to create privacy.
- Build in bench seating—perfect if you like to entertain larger groups.
- Create tiered levels for heightened visual interest.
- Build columns and an open portico around your space, and hang outdoor fabric for a romantic vibe.
Ryan Homes Tip: Before you get started, give thought to how you'll use the area. Do you dream of al fresco dining? Think about what size table you'll need. Want to create a lounging and reading nook? Privacy hedges might be a good idea.