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Patio or Deck?

Which is right for your place?

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So, you’re wanting to create a usable outdoor area at your place for entertaining or relaxing. Basically, you’ve got two main options: a patio or a deck. Not sure about the difference between a deck and a patio and which is right for you or your house?

Both give you and your family a wonderful outdoor living space. Yet, there are key differences between them. Let’s explore these.


A deck is built from boards and supported by structural elements such as joists, beams, and posts. Decks can be detached from the house, adjoined to the house or wrap around it. They can be covered, or left open, so they work with a variety of home styles and property sizes.


A patio is a paved area directly on the ground that can be attached or not to the house. Patios are generally made of pavers, stone, brick, concrete, or outdoor tiles, all of which are highly durable materials that can last for 25 years or more. You can use colour, pattern, and outdoor landscaping and accessories, such as a pergola, to create a stylish, personalised look. Stamped concrete is a cost-effective way to create patio designs that resemble brick, flagstone, or cobblestone.

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A patio or a deck: what is it to be?

When deciding between a deck or a patio, first consider the size, shape, and layout of your section or backyard. This will generally have the greatest influence on whether a patio or a deck is a better choice.

Next, you’ll need to consider each in terms of its functionality, durability, maintenance requirements, value for the money, and aesthetics before making your choice.

Backyards where patios work

Patios are ideal for backyards that:

  • Have flat ground. If your section is uneven, you will need to lay a foundation.
  • Have a need for privacy. At ground level, you can easily block neighbours’ views with tall plants or a privacy wall around the border.

Advantages of patios over decks

  • Flexibility in design: Patios can be built in any size or shape, making them a great option for small or oddly shaped yards.
  • Low maintenance: Patios do not require regular staining or sealing.
  • Cost: Patios are typically less expensive to build than decks due to the cost of materials – often up to three to four times less.
  • Accessibility: Patios are often at the same level as the house, and easy to access, whereas elevated decks may need steps or a ramp.
  • Safety: Decks have a greater fall risk than patios, especially if they are elevated or have no railings.

Downside of patios

  • Patios are vulnerable to cracking due to ground movement or poor foundations which can worsen with extreme weather.
  • Staining: Concrete, traditional pavers, and brick are porous materials that will soak up pigments from spilled liquids and foliage, causing unsightly discolouration.
  • Mould and mildew: To keep your patio free of stains, mould, and mildew regular cleaning with chemicals or a water blaster is needed.

Backyards where decks work

Decks are ideal for sections that:

  • Are uneven. Installed with posts, decks can provide level spaces over uneven ground.
  • Have a view. Being raised, their height lets you take advantage of the surrounding area.

Advantages of decks over patios

  • Natural feel: Typically made of wood, decks lend a natural, warm feel to the outdoor space.
  • Increased living space: When connected to the house, decks expand your living space and create indoor-outdoor flow.
  • Accessibility: Decks can be built to suit different needs using built-in steps or a ramp for easy access.

Downside of decks

  • Being constructed of organic material, timber decks are vulnerable to moisture and weathering, such as fading staining from spilled liquids, cracking, splintering and warping.
  • Wooden decks require maintenance nearly every year, from cleaning to sanding, staining, and sealing.
  • Some decks require a building permit and inspections because they are attached to the home and impact its exterior structure and appearance. They may also require rails if they are a metre off the ground. It’s important to obtain the proper permits before starting the construction of your deck.

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Decks have higher resale value than patios

Decks require a larger initial investment but generally speaking they can increase the value of your home and are a great selling point for potential buyers, especially in Auckland where outdoor living is the norm.

If properly cared for, and with regular maintenance, an average deck will last about 20 years.

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Let’s get started

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether to build a deck or patio. Ultimately, the decision between a patio or deck comes down to your personal preference and the overall aesthetic of your property. Both can transform an outdoor area into a useful space for entertaining, playing, relaxing, dining, and much more. You could even combine the two by having a deck adjoining your house and then connecting your patio area. The main point is to make your decision based on functionality, cost-effectiveness, and your personal style.

If you’re looking to spruce up your outdoor space, then it’s time to start planning. Get in touch with the team at DBS Residential to discuss your questions and ideas. We will work closely with you through the entire process, providing both inspiration and practical support to ensure your new deck works for your family, your lifestyle, and, most importantly, your property.

As deck builders in Auckland with loads of experience, we can help you make the right choices. We’ll make sure that your deck is delivered on time, within budget and with a level of quality and service that is simply unparalleled. Call Dan Hendy on 021 550 142 for an obligation-free consult about gorgeous decks at your place.