A patio, balcony, deck, porch and veranda may all be categorized as outdoor structures or extended parts of the house, but that doesn’t mean they are all the same or completely indistinguishable. More often than not, homeowners use these terms interchangeably, ignoring the clear differences between each out of these outdoor living spaces that have always been popular in Pakistan owing to their functionality and visual appeal.
While a patio, balcony, deck, porch and veranda do share some common features, their designs and characteristics differ vastly from each other. Either of these spaces can be covered, uncovered, detached and attached to the main structure, but they are all utilized for relaxation and recreational purposes.
Let’s take a look at the difference between a porch, balcony, veranda, and patio and clarify some of your biggest confusions about these outdoor structures.
What is a Patio?
A patio can be described as an outdoor space that is usually constructed in the back of the house. It is typically located adjacent to the main structure. It can be either attached to the main building or built as a detached structure around the landscape. Although patios are traditionally open to the sky, some homeowners prefer installing an overhead shade for privacy and protection from the sun. Moreover, this outdoor space is almost always paved with natural stone, cobblestones, or concrete pavers.
The main purpose of a patio is to serve as an outdoor living space where the residents of the house can relax, enjoy evening tea and host guests. Patios in bigger houses also have an outdoor kitchen or a barbecue area, allowing the homeowners to organize small parties and entertain visitors in the area. They are mostly decorated using plants, outdoor lighting, fountains and functional furniture.
You can take a look at our stylish patio décor ideas for some inspiration on how to properly utilize this alluring feature of your home.
Furthermore, the condition of your patio can have a huge impact on the exterior of your property. Therefore, our tips on how to weatherproof your patio and other outdoor spaces may really help you out.
What is a Balcony?
Balconies are small outdoor platforms affixed to the upper floors of the house or an apartment building. They are usually connected to a given room, allowing the residents to step outside for fresh air without leaving their home. These elevated structures jut out from the walls of the main structure. Balconies also have grills or concrete parapets to enclose them. It is also important to clarify that one building or a house can have multiple balconies on each floor.
Balconies are an extremely important feature in apartment buildings, as they allow the residents an outdoor space, omitting the need for a patio or backyard.
Here are some beautiful railing design ideas for a balcony that you must check out. In case you have young children in your home, our tips on how to make your balcony safe for kids is also a must-read.
Balcony vs Terrace
A lot of times, homeowners tend to confuse balconies with terraces, even though they are quite different.
The main difference between balcony and terrace is that terraces are outdoor spaces that can be attached or detached to the main structure, whereas balconies are affixed to the building. In addition to that, terraces are generally larger and can have multiple points of entry. Meanwhile, balconies are smaller and can only be accessed through particular rooms. While terraces can be used to host parties and entertain guests, balconies are mostly used for ventilation and natural light.
Patio vs Balcony
Just like the deck, porch and veranda, patio and balcony are also two extremely different outdoor structures.
While a patio is an open space located at ground level, a balcony is an elevated platform constructed at least one floor above the ground level. It is linked to a particular room in the house and usually overlooks the patio.
What is a Deck?
A deck is an elevated outdoor structure that can be either attached or detached to the main building. Although not a common feature in most Pakistani houses, decks are mainly built in the houses located in the northern areas of the country. These roofless platforms are primarily made out of composite wood material or processed lumber. Natural wood is mostly avoided in the construction of decks as it is prone to splintering, warping and swelling under harsh weather conditions.
Moreover, since decks are elevated and can have multiple levels, they are usually enclosed with a railing to ensure the safety of the residents.
When it comes to their functionality, decks and patios can be quite similar. They are both used as an outdoor seating area, recreation spot, a space to organize open-air events, host a barbecue or a dinner party. You can even turn the deck into your personal outdoor sanctuary by decorating it with plants, ornamental lights and cosy outdoor furniture.
There are two main types of decks: platform or single-levelled decks and multi-levelled decks. While the former type of deck is generally used to increase the visual appeal of the house, a multi-levelled deck provides the homeowners with a better view of their surroundings. These decks are connected with stairs and found in larger properties that have more than one floor.
Deck vs Patio
Decks and patios share a lot of similarities. However, their main difference lies in their construction.
While patios are paved with stone, bricks and concrete pavers, decks are almost always made of wood. Furthermore, patios are typically on the ground level and do not require a railing, whereas a deck can be multi-levelled and requires a safety railing.
What is a Porch?
A porch can be described as an extension of the building’s entryway. It is an outdoor structure that is attached to the front of a house, usually enclosed with walls, columns or screens. Although a porch doesn’t necessarily have to be covered, most homeowners preferred them to have a roof to protect their property from harsh weather conditions.
Depending on the size and design of your house, a porch may only be constructed in front of the property but may also wrap around the sides. If a porch is completely enclosed, it is viewed as an extension of the living room and has a separate entry door for the main house.
Apart from offering your house protection against extreme weather, porches can also be used as an informal sitting room where one can relax and enjoy the weather or even socialize with friends and neighbours. You can decorate this outdoor space with a small table and a few chairs or even a swing. Moreover, don’t forget to add some potted plants, outdoor lighting and ornamental pieces to enhance the beauty of your home.
Porch vs Patio
People often get confused between a porch and patio. The biggest difference between the two is their location.
A porch is attached to the front of the main structure. It is thus considered an informal extension of the house. On the other hand, a patio may either be attached or detached to the main building. Patios are also usually bigger than porches along with more versatile in terms of functionality and aesthetics.
Furthermore, porches are usually required to have a railing whereas there is no such requirement for patios.
Porch vs Deck
Just like porch and veranda, a typical porch and deck may have a somewhat similar style of construction, but they differ in location and functionality.
The main difference between porch and deck is that the former is at least partially covered while the latter is usually open to the sky. In addition to that, porches are built as an addition to the entryway. Therefore, they are located on the front of the property. Meanwhile, decks are generally constructed at the back of the main structure and treated as an outdoor living space.
What is a Veranda?
Last not but not least, veranda or verandah is a covered platform that is usually enclosed with a railing or parapet despite being on the ground level. It is typically attached to the main structure from more than one side and is used to give access to the front or the back entrance of the building.
It can also be defined as a roofed gallery or a ground floor balcony that can be used as an informal seating area or an open-air place where you can entertain guests. In other words, a veranda is a large porch surrounding the house that can be used for different outdoor activities.
Ideally, this space should be treated as an outdoor room with a comfy sofa, a sturdy table, ottomans, hanging lights, and plants. Since a veranda is usually exposed to harsh sunlight and rain among other weather conditions, they are usually constructed with vinyl, composite wood, stone tiles, and treated materials.
Porch Vs Veranda
There’s little difference between the terms porch and veranda, which is why they are often used interchangeably.
However, there is one main difference between porch and veranda. A veranda is a roofed area attached to the front or back of the house and extends to its die. A porch, on the other hand, is affixed to the front of the main structure. It serves as an extension to the entrance.
In addition to that, a veranda usually has a fence or railing. In Portuguese, the word veranda means a long balcony. A porch can be both open and enclosed.
Balcony Vs Veranda
As mentioned above, a veranda is a covered structure located on the ground level of the house. It is usually attached to two or more sides of the main building. On the other hand, a balcony is an elevated platform affixed to a given room on the upper floor of the building. It is a small structure that juts out of the walls, overlooking the ground-level structures.
To conclude, a patio, balcony, deck, porch and veranda each serve a particular function. Though some of them may be closely related, homeowners need to understand their basic differences.
For more information about different types of outdoor structures and tips on how to decorate them, stay tuned to Zameen Blog – the best construction and property blog in Pakistan. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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