As a homeowner, you are constantly faced with decisions that impact not only the aesthetics of your home but also the functionality, value, and quality of life it gives you. One critical choice lies in the heart of your backyard: Should you build a deck or a patio? The answer will shape your outdoor living experience.
From understanding the differences in materials and maintenance to evaluating the costs and benefits associated with each option, we aim to guide you to an informed decision that best suits your unique vision, lifestyle, and budget. When you’ve decided, you happen to be on the website of the best deck company and patio builder in the St. Louis region, so ask us how to get started.
How You Will Use the Deck or Patio
When it comes to designing the perfect backyard, you have to understand your own lifestyle preferences. You’re making a choice that goes beyond aesthetics and budget and governs how you and your loved ones will enjoy your outdoor space. Here are some things to consider.
Entertaining and Socializing
If you love hosting gatherings and socializing, consider the type of atmosphere you want to create. A deck presents a more elevated and open feeling. Because of this, decks are ideal spaces for parties, barbecues, and outdoor dining. On the other hand, a patio can be designed to offer a more intimate and cozier ambiance. Private patios are perfect for smaller gatherings, dinners, or creating a separate oasis for relaxation and conversation.
Outdoor Activities and Hobbies
What do you like to do with your outdoor space? If you enjoy gardening, consider a patio with surrounding planters or garden beds. For those who love sunbathing, a deck with ample space for lounge chairs and sunshades allows you to follow your bliss. Homeowners with children or pets should consider their play area and safety when choosing between a deck and a patio.
Accessibility and Mobility
Consider the accessibility and mobility needs of your household. If you or a family member has mobility challenges, a walkout deck may be best, as it can be designed to be level with the exit from your home. In contrast, a patio usually requires steps down, which may present challenges for some individuals.
Privacy and Views
Do you want a private space, or a space where you can take in your surroundings? A deck, being elevated, usually gives better views and a sense of openness, while a patio, situated at ground level, will give you more privacy with the help of strategic landscaping or privacy screens.
The typography is one of the most important factors in the deck vs. patio decision. You have to consider the contours, slope, and overall layout of your yard to maximize functionality, aesthetics, and long-term enjoyment.
Sloping and Uneven Terrain
One of the primary factors that can influence your choice between a deck and a patio is your yard grade. While patios require level ground, decks offer more flexibility regarding uneven or sloping terrain. Decks can be built on basically any ground level and can even be multi-tiered, so you can follow your yard’s natural contours to create distinct outdoor living spaces. You can even make usable space underneath a deck!
Drainage and Erosion
Proper drainage is essential for both decks and patios, but the challenges and solutions may differ based on your yard’s typography. For a patio, level ground with appropriate grading is necessary to prevent water pooling or erosion issues. In contrast, a deck’s elevated structure allows for better airflow and natural drainage, making it a more suitable option for yards with poor drainage or erosion concerns.
Integration with Surrounding Landscape
The typography of your yard can also impact how well a deck or patio integrates with the surrounding landscape. A patio, being at ground level, can seamlessly blend with the existing terrain, allowing for a more organic connection to the surrounding garden and greenery. On the other hand, a deck’s elevated structure can provide unique opportunities to integrate the design with trees, water features, or other natural elements, creating a dynamic and visually appealing outdoor space.
Maximizing Space and Usability
The layout and contours of your yard can also impact the available space for a deck or patio. A sloping yard might limit the usable area for a patio, while a deck can help maximize your outdoor living space by extending over the slope. Additionally, a deck can provide extra storage space underneath, which can be particularly beneficial in smaller yards or those with limited flat areas.
Your Budget and Space
Your budget and available space are the biggest limiting factors in this decision.
The costs associated with building a deck or a patio can vary widely depending on factors such as size, materials, and design complexity.
In general, patios tend to be more cost-effective. They have simpler construction and lower material costs. However, this can change based on the specific materials and features you choose. For example, a patio made of premium pavers or natural stone may be more expensive than a modest wooden deck.
You have to factor in not only the initial construction costs, but also the long-term maintenance and upkeep expenses. Wood decks and patios generally require the same amount of maintenance, whereas composite decks will last much longer with less maintenance.
Navigating the St. Louis Climate
The St. Louis weather presents unique challenges. The hot and humid summers can cause wood decks and patios to warp or crack, while the cold and snowy winters can lead to further damage and potential safety hazards. Additionally, heavy rainfall can lead to drainage issues and the growth of mold or mildew.
You must build with materials that can withstand the weather extremes and minimize maintenance requirements. While wood decks and patios may have similar maintenance levels, they might not be the best choice for the region’s climate.
Composite decking materials, on the other hand, offer a low-maintenance alternative that is well-suited for St. Louis’s weather conditions. These materials are resistant to warping, cracking, and fading, and they require minimal upkeep compared to wood decks and patios.
For patios, consider using concrete, pavers, or natural stone materials handle the temperature fluctuations and moisture levels in St. Louis well. These materials are durable, low-maintenance, and can be designed to facilitate proper drainage, reducing the risk of pooling water or slippery surfaces.
Incorporating shade structures, such as pergolas or awnings, can provide relief from the summer heat, while adding outdoor heaters or fire pits can extend the amount of time you can use your space into the cold months.
Proper drainage and ventilation are a must to prevent moisture-related issues and prolong the lifespan of your investment.
Enhancing Home Value
You always have to keep in mind not only your immediate needs, but also the future value of your home. Adding a deck or patio can significantly increase your home’s appeal to future buyers, if done correctly.
Decks often have a higher usability factor. They can be built to provide seamless access from your home’s interior. You can walk right out onto the deck without the need for additional steps. This easy transition between indoor and outdoor spaces appeals to homebuyers, as it creates a sense of flow and connectivity.
On the other hand, patios often require steps down from the interior of the home, which can create a sense of separation and potentially hinder accessibility for some individuals. However, well-designed patios can still be an attractive selling point for potential buyers. It’s not a bad thing to have a sense of separation if you want your patio to be a refuge from the world (particularly if you work from home).
The aesthetic integration of a deck or patio into your home’s overall design significantly boosts the value it brings to the table. A thoughtful, strong connection to the surrounding environment makes the deck or patio more desirable to potential buyers. Ultimately, making sure your deck or patio “looks right” with the home is as important as the choice between the two options.
Maintenance and Durability
Prospective homebuyers often prioritize low-maintenance and durable outdoor spaces — these factors can influence the long-term value and enjoyment of the property. As mentioned earlier, composite decking materials are low-maintenance and durable, making them a big selling point on the market.