With Summer fast-approaching, SoCal Contractor is fielding lots of requests for backyard patios and pool decks. From on-grade patios and split-level decks, to free-form patios with pergolas and pavel patios with fire pits at the center: we hope this blog will help you decide which design is right for your backyard and offer some pro tips to help you implement.

Take Your Backyard to the Next Level

What’s the Difference Between a Patio and a Deck?

Before you head to Home Depot and start buying up supplies, it’s important to prepare with as specific a design as possible and be sure you know the differences between a patio and a deck.  

What Are the Structural Differences Between Decks & Patios?

Structurally the difference between decks and patios is simple: Patios are built at ground level and thus don’t require hand railings, whereas decks are raised and you’ll need to take more safety precautions in designing and building your patio in the form of rails.

Pool Deck Overlooking the Hills

Build to take advantage of the beautiful view of the Hills, this wooden deck wraps around this Los Angeles home and is fenced in by black modern hand rails.

On grade patio in Lemon Ranch

This patio takes up nearly the entire backyard and the design allows for enough circulation for different sections of the backyard: Grilling, Dinning, Cabanas.

What are the Material Differences Between Decks & Patios?

You have so many options of building materials for patios: We love brick, stone, and tile for its aesthetic and sustainable properties. You can also op’t for a patio made of concrete, pavers, pebbles, rocks, gravel. By contrast, decks, are generally made of woods or sustainable composite materials (more on that in a minute).

How to Build a Green Deck or Patio using Sustainable Materials

Going green is a top priority of our’s and luckily, when you’re building a deck or patio, there are plenty of ways to do it sustainably: The best option for deck green building materials is to op’t for a composite material made of recycled material. The benefits extend beyond going green as well: They tend to be more cost-efficient than higher end luxury materials AND they’re more easily maintained. As we mentioned previously, the most sustainable building materials for your patio are going to be brick, stone, or tile because they hold up well and require less maintain than other material options.


This is an example of the rare raised patio in the backyard of this Palm Springs home.

What are the Differences in Cost and Labor Between Patios and Decks?

Because costs can vary so much based on size and materials chosen and whether you seek out a certified professional or try to DIY your deck or patio, it’s difficult to give a concrete figure. With that said, a patio will probably be less expensive than a deck. Materials like wood are going to cost less than concrete, but the labor required to build a deck will outweigh the materials cost.

How to Maintain Your Deck or Patio

Decks need to be resealed about once a year, patios less so, but there is still the potential of mold and rot build up. Maintenance is two-fold: First, you need to scrub your deck clean, focusing on the cracks between the wood plys, so you don’t apply sealant over mold and rot. Then apply a   sealant over the entire deck to repel water using a foam roller or something similar. This tutorial from This Old House breaks down how to clean and reseal your deck: