When you think about remodeling or updating your home on a budget, it’s not just what’s inside that counts. Your garden is a perfect space to increase your square footage while simultaneously offering another area to gather with friends and family.

Building a patio or deck on a budget can add value to your home and enhance its enjoyability. Relax in the sun, cosy up to a fire pit, host a cookout, or brunch under your favorite tree – the possibilities are endless.

And while patios and decks are often used interchangeably, they’re far from the same thing. Which begs the question – deck or patio: which is better? And more importantly, which one is right for you? Let’s find out!

What’s the Difference: Patio vs. Decks?

Simply put, a patio is an outdoor space placed directly on the ground. A deck, on the other hand, is typically made of wood, vinyl (PVC) or Trex® boards – a high-performance composite decking material.

A patio may or may not be connected to a house, and is typically composed of concrete or a similar foundation like brick, stone, pavers, etc.  This makes a patio an ideal social space to place fire pits and built-in grills.

While most decks can be built near the ground, they all feature some type of support system, keeping them directly off the ground. As a result, decks have more versatility as they can be built off of a lower floor of the home or an upper-level room – giving homeowners a spot with a view.

Patio Pros & Cons: Benefits vs. Costs

Due to concrete’s affordability and its flush to the ground location, a patio typically costs less than a deck per square footage.  However, a patio needs to be on level ground, which can be hard to come by in a garden, particularly one near a rolling hill or slope of land – which is quite common in the UK. The cost of leveling off a piece of land to create a flat spot for a concrete patio foundation can drastically thwart those initial cost savings.

On average, patios require less maintenance. Whether it’s concrete, stone, or pavers, patios typically last more than 25 years without much upkeep. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re invincible. If the soil under the patio is not properly prepared – or you live in an area with extreme temperatures – your patio is at a greater risk of cracking. Not to mention patios, aren’t as easy to clean as a deck, making them more susceptible to stains.

Deck Pros & Cons: Benefits vs. Costs

Meanwhile, decks offer their own bundle of benefits. On average, wooden decks, while more expensive than patios, create a much larger return on investment than patios -- even higher than that of most indoor home renovations. These backend savings are something to consider while weighing upfront costs.

One thing to keep in mind is that wooden decks typically require more upkeep – power washing, staining, and sealing. Wooden decks are more susceptible to weather damage, fading and rot over time, if not properly treated. This is why wood composite decks are a fantastic substitute when compared to other decking materials

High-performance composite decks like Trex provide the same beautiful look and feel of natural wood alongside the longevity and relaxed upkeep of a patio. They’re capable of withstanding the harshest weather while staying true to color and form, without the fear of rot or mould infiltrating over its long lifespan.

Lastly, while higher decks are good for a view (and your resale value), many areas may require a permit and inspections to build one. This could result in a small fee and possible waiting period. It’s not the end of the world, but something to consider, nonetheless.

In any case, a patio or deck can both be a valuable investment in your home, as well as offer you countless opportunities to entertain, socialize – or just relax. When the time comes to upgrade your outdoor living space, do a little homework beforehand to make an informed decision that you – and your garden – will love for years to come!