Deck vs. patio? Which one is right for your home? For starters, you’ll need to know the difference between the two. Decks are raised, often made with wood or a composite material, generally surrounded by railing. Patios, on the other hand, sit at the ground level. A patio can be made from a huge variety of materials – stone, slab, gravel, paving stones, brick, concrete and more.

The best way to choose between deck vs. patio is to analyze the pros and cons of each. Let’s take a look!

Deck Vs. Patio: Pros and Cons of Decks

Decks come with several pros:

  • A deck adds more value to your home. The national average for costs recouped on decks is 87%.
  • If your yard is bumpy, hilly or sloped, then a deck, because it is raised, will eliminate the need to level sections of your yard.
  • Decks can be more comfortable than patios. The materials absorb less heat than stone or concrete, making a deck cooler in the summer, and the raised platform will give you a better view than a patio at ground level.

And here are some of the drawbacks of decks:

  • Decking is usually more expensive to install and it costs more to maintain in the long run.
  • A wood deck will last less time than a concrete or stone patio.
  • Because decks are raised, they have a weight limit that you’ll need to keep in mind.

Pros and Cons of Patios

Now let’s look at the advantages of a patio:

  • Patios, unless you are using seriously high-end materials like marble slabs, are generally much cheaper to build than decks and they will cost you less to maintain.
  • Patios usually outlive decks, particularly when they are made of stone or concrete.
  • You’ll find that it is easier to landscape around a patio, especially if you’d like to plant shrubs around it for privacy.
  • In some areas, you may need a permit to build a deck, which means fees and time waiting for approval. You may be able to build a patio without going through this process.

And the cons:

  • While patios are generally more durable than decks, if your patio cracks, it will be more difficult to fix than a broken or warped decking board. Stone and concrete patios are also susceptible to stains.
  • If you have a bumpy or sloped yard or ground that is prone to shifting, you’ll need to spend a lot more time preparing the site prior to installation.
  • If you use pavers, gravel or any other material (bricks, paving stones) that leaves the ground exposed, weeds will sprout in cracks. Be prepared to spend a few hours each summer weeding your patio.

How to Decide Between the Two

Budget will likely be your primary concern, but after that, you’ll need to prioritize the things you want out of your new outdoor space. Are you planning to host large outdoor gatherings? If so, a patio might be a better option so that you don’t have to worry about weight limits. If you don’t want to sacrifice the view, then go ahead and go with the deck, which will get you up off the ground. If your yard is sloped, the cost to level a spot for a patio may drive your project’s budget slightly higher than if you built the deck, even though decking materials tend to be more expensive.

Make a list of your needs and order that list from most to least important. Whichever option you choose, you’ll end up with a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the summer.