Decks and Patios

Are they the same? The easy answer – No, they are not the same. If you plan to build an outdoor space to relax and entertain guests, you should know that patios and decks, though different, share some similarities and can even exist side-by-side in your landscape plan. Your outdoor design may include both. To begin planning, let’s start by examining typical characteristics of patios and decks.


Patios made using a variety of materials, including concrete, brick, stone, and even aggregates. A simple patio can be built making a slab of concrete. You can dress it up a bit by placing a ribbon of brick around its perimeter. Or you can create a simple slab and cover it entirely with brick, or stone, even tile. There are many options for adding to a simple concrete design.

Don’t want to mess around with wet concrete? Build a patio using bricks or concrete pavers set on top of a sand base with an outside perimeter board holding it all in place. Or substitute the design with flat stones with Decomposed Granite (DG) material. This gravelly, sandy material comes in many colors and hardens up nicely on its surface when sprayed with water – and won’t create a lot of dust. Your local DIY or patio supply store should have a wide array of patio materials to compare and consider. The main characteristic of patios that makes them different from decks is that patio materials typically rest directly on Mother Earth.


Decks are also tied directly to Mother Earth – However, they are typically made of wood or wood composite materials and raised above the earth on posts. These posts hold a support framework underneath that supports a decking surface, providing a flat area for sitting. Decks may rise one foot off of the ground or on posts that climb over ten feet up.

Decks most often are made of lumber or composites that look like wood. A deck usually has a railing to prevent people from falling off its edge, and many require staircases to reach the flat deck surface. While patios usually are made on flat ground, decks can exist above many types of terrain – This makes it possible for a deck to be built where a patio won’t work – Like on a cliff slope.

There’s a variety of wood and composites materials may be used to build a deck. These materials come in a broad range of colors, sizes, and durability, and pricing. You will find many to choose from at your local DIY store or lumber yard.


Filling an outdoor space with a custom deck or patio comes with a wide range of choices. Tastes and design allow both decks and patios to be built on level ground, whereas sloped terrain typically requires a deck. Design elements, your desires, and cost are essential considerations for your final design. Understanding the different reasons for building a patio, a deck, or both – and why – provide a good head start towards a better-planned space for relaxation and entertaining on your property!