Deck vs Patio: Which is Best for My Garden?

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We all like spending time outdoors when the weather is nice, and what better way to enjoy the summer sun than by relaxing on a sun lounger, ice-cold drink in one hand perched on your garden deck or patio?

Decks and patios can truly extend your living space outdoors, adding value and a unique dimension to your home.

So, what’s the difference between a deck and a patio?

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A patio is an outdoor area adjoining a house. You can build them in any shape or size, usually directly on the ground and made with paver stones, concrete or brick; however, these days people like to use a variety of materials such as pebbles and even tile. A patio is a direct connection between your indoor living space and garden landscape, usually built upon a base of sand or granite/gravel around twenty centimetres thick. Patios work well with additional stone features, such as fountains and other water features, as well as firepits and garden statues. Due to their lack of railings, patios provide a clean and streamlined look between your house and garden.

Decking area

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A deck is an outdoor area which you build above the ground. We build decks with wood, vinyl or a composite wood material. Depending upon the height of the elevation, decks often having safety railings, separating the garden landscape slightly from the decking. Similar to patios, you often attach decks to houses; however, they are also often freestanding. Rather than a smooth transition into the garden that a patio can provide, decks often take advantage of the view of a well-decorated and maintained lawn area.

The pros and cons of a patio

So, the question is, should you build a patio or a deck? Let’s look at the pros versus cons of a patio to help you decide.

Pros of a patio

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They are easy to maintain

Patios are easy to look after and do not require any regular maintenance. Some people choose to seal their patios; however, due to the durability of the materials used (paver stones, tiles, etc.), this is not a necessity. Due to the fact that patios are usually made of individual smaller units of different materials, replacing units is easy and does not require a lot of work.
Cleaning is easy, you can sweep mess away with a dustpan and brush, additionally, you can easily remove stains with soapy-water or purchase specialised products made for cleaning patios. Many people also use pressure-washers and power-hoses for those dirt stains which are a bit harder to get rid of.

They are long-lasting

A well-made patio can last for over twenty years with minimal maintenance, whilst still holding onto its value. Compared to decks, which you usually make out of wood, the materials used for patios tend to last much longer. Patios can weather a multitude of outdoor conditions.

More creative freedom

As aforementioned, we often make patios from a wide variety of materials; therefore, a patio offers the homeowner more creative freedom over the look and feel of their new space. Compared to installing a deck, you have a much wider variety of colours, shapes, and textures.

Cheaper

Homeowners can install patios for much cheaper than a deck. This is due to the materials used as well as the minimal physical-labour involved. The cheapest option would probably be a ready-mixed concrete, which can cost around £65 per cubic metre, which is roughly £6 per square foot.

Cons of a patio

Patio or deck

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Prone to weed growth

Because there are usually small gaps in-between each unit piece, if you install the patio in your garden, you can expect to have weeds growing in-between each paving unit. You can fill the gaps with sand or another filler material; however, they are often not very durable and can be washed away by adverse weather conditions.

Cracking

Even a well-made patio can be prone to cracks. If you do not prepare the soil or sand underneath the patio properly, cracking is much more likely to happen. Also, if you live in a hot country, the durability of the patio decreases and can crack easily.

Difficult to install on uneven terrain

It is usually recommended that you install a patio on even ground. Otherwise, you would have to create a level foundation, which is usually rather expensive and not the simplest of tasks.

Slipping hazard

If you live in a cold country or have cold winters, ice and frost can form on the surface of the patio. This can create a serious slipping hazard.

The pros and cons of a deck

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of a patio, let’s look at the pros and cons of installing a deck in your garden.

Pros of a deck

Pros of having a deck

High resale value

An appealing and well-built deck can make the amount of useable living space appear greater to the buyer. You now have an outdoor entertaining space which adds significant value to your house if you are looking to sell.

A unique feature

Although patios and decks are popular additions to homes, patios are certainly the more popular option in the UK – mostly because they are cheaper and easier to install. If you build a deck in your garden, it will appear to be a much more attractive and unique feature of your home – again, adding value to your property.

Customisable

A deck can be stained and painted in different colours, according to how you would like the feature to look. You can make your deck stand out completely, or you can have it seamlessly blend in with the exterior feel of your home.

Retain less heat

A deck is great for those who live in hot countries, as the wood or composite wood material is particularly good at reflecting heat rather than absorbing it. This means you can feel comfortable relaxing on your deck under the summer sun.

Better for different types of terrain

We mentioned before that patios are not particularly good when it comes to building on uneven terrain. Decks, on the other hand, are easier to build on all sorts of landscapes and can also provide a nice view if built off the ground.

Cons of a deck

Decking area in the garden

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More expensive

Decks are generally more expensive to install than a patio. If you install Timber Decking, you should expect to pay around £100 per square metre. This, plus the intensive labour involved can end up being a rather pricey job.

Less durable

As decks are generally made of wood, naturally they are less durable than the materials used for patios. They are not as weather-resistant, and hence do not last as long. The colour of the wood can fade, mould can appear, and the wood can also rot as time passes.

Hard to maintain

Decks are not easy to maintain. They have to be heavily cleaned, stained with colour and covered with a protective seal, sometimes even annually. If the wood rots, there is, unfortunately, no magic cure – you would have to replace it, which costs money!

Weaker

Decks are naturally weaker than patios. If you want to have heavy ornaments, outdoor appliances and decorations it is important for you to consider weight restrictions.

Choosing a deck or patio

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How much do decks and patios cost to install?

We’ve mentioned a few rough prices for the materials used for decks and patios, now let’s have a more in-depth look into how much these garden features cost to install.

How much does a patio cost to install?

The price of installing a patio greatly depends on the material of choice and the size of the patio. Generally speaking, expect to pay no less than £800, and anything up to £4,000. The process of installing a patio involves digging your space out to a depth of about 15 cm and filling it with an even layer of hardcore, which would then need to be firmly compressed into place.

To install a patio, including the procurement of materials, on average you should expect to spend roughly £115 реr squarе metre. Of course, this can come out significantly higher depending on whether you would like a budget concrete patio, or a more high-end flagstone look.

How much does a deck cost to install?

As with most things in life, price is proportional to quality and quantity. The same goes for garden decking. For the purpose of ease, we will be examining how much it could cost in order to procure and install 30 square metres of decking.

The whole process of installing the deck will include excavating the ground and assuring that all measures are in place in order to minimise weed growth underneath the deck. Additionally, the contractors would need to construct the frame and secure the decking to it, finally applying the colour finish and disposing of any waste.

For a high-quality Ipe, or ironwood decking, you should expect to pay around £7,000. This includes the decking, the frame, fixing, oil, and labour. On the other hand, for a budget decking, you could be paying around £2,000 for 30 square metres.

Add value to your home

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Will installing a patio or deck add value to your home?

If you’re not installing your garden feature in your ‘forever home’, you may well be doing it for pure investment reasons, in order to increase the value of your property for future sale. So you might be wondering how much value a garden deck or patio could add to your home…

The potential ROI on installing a patio

The National Association of Estate Agents believes that installing a garden patio could add as much as £10,000 to the price of an average home, so if you spend £4,000 on your patio, your ROI would be 150%! This points to a patio being an extremely profitable and beneficial investment, in terms of the possibility of returns.

The potential ROI on installing a deck

When it comes to return on investment, a classic wooden deck still wins the top prize. Although, as mentioned above, a patio can add great value to your home, a deck will add even more. A study by Barclays suggested that a wooden deck adds an average of nearly £15,000 to a home in the UK. This is on average, so you could only imagine how much a more luxurious wooden decking could add!

Overall, it is clear that the installation of a patio or deck not only adds an attractive outdoor space to your home but also provides a clear return on investment, which varies depending on how much you spend in the first place.

So, should I install a deck or patio in my garden?

Garden decks and patios provide a beautiful gradient from your indoor living space to your outdoor landscape, acting as an attractive feature to enjoy when the weather is pleasant. They provide space for plant pots, ornaments, barbeques and outdoor eating areas – a place for entertaining friends and family alike.

If you are planning on installing a patio or a deck, there are many considerations that you should make, such as the size of your garden, the level of the terrain, what would suit your house the most and what type of value you are looking to add to your home. Both a patio and deck require different types of maintenance and upkeep respectively, and both can function differently depending on what you are seeking in your new garden feature.

Both features can add value to your home, so from an investment perspective, they are both positive assets. So, whether a grand, wooden deck overlooking your garden is what you’re after, or a simple paved patio suits your fancy, we are sure you won’t regret installing either.

Let us know your thoughts on garden decks and patios in the comments below.

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