Choosing which one is right for you, your family and your garden is made much easier by working through the pros and cons of each option.
Choosing between a deck and a patio
Homeowners love entertaining outdoors and with the demand for useable year-long outdoor spaces, more patios and decks are being built. Often these names are used interchangeably, but they are actually two distinct garden features.
Decks are mostly made with wood, raised above the ground and have a handrail around it. They are often built up high to take advantage of views, but can also be slightly positioned above the ground too. A patio is usually made with pavers or tiles, but can also be made with concrete, stones or bricks. Patios are directly placed upon the ground itself and not raised.
Should I have a deck built?
Your home and outdoor lifestyle may suit a deck if:
- You have uneven or hilly terrain
- You want to extend your views
- You have the time to undertake regular deck maintenance
- You live in a warmer part of NZ, as decks absorb less heat than a patio does
A deck may not be the best choice if:
- You are unable or unwilling to perform regular maintenance for your deck
- You don’t wish to go through the building consent process
- You don’t want to have any handrails around your deck
- You want something that will last for a very long time, as wood is more susceptible to weather damage than stone
- You want to have a heavy pizza oven or spa pool on it, as it may have weight restrictions
Should I have a patio installed?
A patio may be the best choice for your home if:
- You have a flat garden
- You don’t want to spend a lot of time maintaining it
- You want to place heavy objects such as spa pools or install an outdoor kitchen on it
- You want to have a fire pit within it, as this would be safer than having one in a deck
- You would like one installed quickly and without waiting for a building permit
- You’d like it to last for over 20 years
Installing a patio may not be your best choice if:
- You live in ice prone areas, as ice forms easily on concrete and tiled surfaces
- You are not willing to live with the cracks which may occur in it, as patios are easily subject to ground movement and temperature fluctuations
- Your garden is sloping, although you can have a retaining wall installed to give you a flat surface for your patio
Both a deck and patio will give you a high return on your investment, making their installation a financially sound decision. In terms of landscaping, it is easier to incorporate a patio into your garden design and plantings than a deck. A patio can also be located elsewhere in your garden, but a deck needs to be attached to your home itself.