A pleasant, well-designed outdoor oasis is suitable for all homes and all seasons. Some of us have porches, others have decks, balconies, a front patio, a back porch, or a porch.
While most people tend to exchange these terms (and believe that they all have the same meaning), each of them has their own characteristics and specifications. This is exactly what this article tries to explain.
Let’s go through them together and find out which is the best solution for our home.
The difference between a porch, balcony, porch, patio, and deck
Image source: Sheila Rich Interiors, LLC
We often hear people’s stories about sitting on the porch at the end of a long day. But what is a porch? Verandas are special outdoor areas that are typical of 90s house design. They are usually low and covered structures located at the entrance to the building.
Verandas can be both: open structures without windows; or closed interior extensions that protect the house from unpleasant weather conditions. But what is the difference between a porch and a deck? To understand this, we advise you to consider the specific purposes of the porches:
- Verandas can be open extensions of living rooms and salons;
- Your roof provides shade; This is exactly why verandas are perfect relaxation areas in summer.
- Porches or verandas are really typical of small towns where people get in touch with their neighbors.
- Verandas are perfect for pleasant conversations, coffee or evening drinks / dinner with friends and neighbors.
Verandas differ in different parts of the world, both in terms of purpose and appearance. For example, porches in northeast North America are often small, open, and positioned at the same level as the ground floor of the home.
Even if a porch traditionally has access to the main door, American homes perceive it as an integral part of the home, preventing dirt from getting into the house. Southwestern regions, on the other hand, use verandas to provide shade for both the entrance and the entire south wall.
Image source: Highland Homes, Inc.
British verandas are much older, however – they were first introduced in the Middle Ages and served the purpose of Catholic churches.
Back then they were made of stone rather than wood; and were usually placed on each side of the building. Its purpose was to provide shelter and protection for worshipers; But they were also used for liturgical ceremonies (for example the baptism of a child).
Image source: Design Unity
If we had to describe a balcony, we would say that it is an external extension of the upper floor of a building. with an average height of one meter (railings, balusters, screens, etc.).
Balconies as we know them today originate from medieval and renaissance architecture when they were based on stone consoles or oversized wooden brackets. The technique changed in the 19th century when solid concrete and cast iron took over the structure and strengthened it.
However, nowadays there are no strict rules of construction: balconies can be made from any solid and good-looking material.
Image source: Webb & Brown-Neaves
Balconies generally serve as space enlargers that provide outside areas for various activities. especially for homeowners who lack the pleasure of having a personal garden.
Balconies therefore have a great responsibility: they provide both sun and protection (classic balconies have their own roof, called a loggia). and they provide access to fresh air through louvre doors. The enclosed Balcony creates a bridge between inside and outsideProtection of occupants from stormy weather.
Their history is quite long: even in ancient Greece, people understood the functional need for a balcony (not that strange considering their hot climate, right?). As today, people needed balconies to bring fresh air and natural light into their homes.
Image source: AYA Living Group
In certain cases, balconies serve ceremonial purposes: in the Vatican, for example, the Pope gives his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing from the stony balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. This balcony is also known as the place where new popes are announced.
Churches also have internal balconies for singers, as do concert and banquet halls balconies for musicians. In theaters, however, balconies resemble status; and they accommodate important spectators and offer the best view of the stage.
Image source: Historical concepts
Now it is time for us to define “porch”. Verandas (also known as verandas) represent all types of covered platforms around the house. In fact, they play the role of a first floor balcony that surrounds the house and gives access to the entrance and back door of the house. While it’s mostly open, a porch can have a railing fence.
Since it is a large porch that surrounds the house, a porch can be used for all kinds of outdoor activities. For Americans, on the one hand, it’s a long veranda on which items are stored. In India, on the other hand, it is one of the most important parts of the home where the hosts receive their guests.
The term “veranda” has two possible origins: It comes either from the Hindi word “varaṇḍā” or from the Portuguese / Spanish “Baranda”.
Image source: The Anderson Studio for Architecture and Design
The first theory is much more accepted as the French and English also claim that the term was brought to them from India and that their languages have nothing to do with it.
Image source: John Kraemer & Sons
Now is the time to establish that Difference between a porch and a terrace. Our terrace definition includes sharing your Spanish roots. Patios were named after a Spanish synonym for backyards or backyard gardens. They represent the living space outside of your home, either a real garden or a simple relaxation area.
Depending on the size, terraces can be covered or uncovered. They are usually made of gravel, stone, brick, concrete, or flagstone. Of course, you can use any material you like and find it practical.
As a rule, terraces are attached to the house. Some houses have a front terrace. However, there are a few courtyards that at first glance have nothing to do with the house. It all depends on your needs, desires and capabilities. Unlike a covered porch, a patio can be an open area or even covered with grapevines to provide shelter from the summer sun.
Image source: Bagnato Architects
For a terrace to be considered an inner courtyard, it must be completely surrounded by walls.
However, there is no decision as to whether patios should be open or closed: they come in every size, shape, or fencing (semi-closed, covered, uncovered, etc.). If the imagination is lacking, we recommend following some of these three basic types of decks:
- A flat roof terrace attached to your home; and helps to drain water in heavy rain;
- Gable terraces with pointed roofs (can be both attached and free-standing);
- A modern terrace with a curved roof (made of aluminum).
Image source: Acorn garden houses
When defining deck, it is important to explain the difference between a porch and a deck. Unlike porches, decks look like additional wooden platforms deliberately created to connect to the building.
They are a little higher than the ground; and have a staircase that leads to the entrance / back door of the house. Some decks are attached to the entrance of the house and can be viewed as a Porch patio deck. The difference between a deck and a porch, however, is that a deck is more of a wooden addition to a home than an architectural feature.
If higher, decks have safety rails; or even fences with separate doors. Many people cover them with a pergola / canopy to control the amount of sunshine that gets into their home.
The main building materials are wood and vinyl. In the case of wood, processed cedar or pressure-treated pine is usually used. This means that a deck can be sculpted into a variety of shapes or styles. Decks can be used as patios, porches or even balconies. Deck balcony designs can be traditional, but a designer is free to imagine as a number of shapes are available.
Image source: Chioco design
Decks “magic” lies in their rustic look and the incredible amount of warmth and comfort they bring to your home. People also add padded seats and soft pillows to make them even more comfortable.
Like patios, decks can be attached to the house or stand separately. For example, if you have a large lot in front of the house and want to use it for great views, you can always put together a separate deck of different sizes or railings. This deck on the porch could be built as a great place to have a drink at the end of the day.
You can go as far as choosing specific materials that will protect your deck from insects or adverse weather conditions.
Image source: Urrutia design
One particular type of deck is the so-called “roof deck”, which actually stands for deck structures that are located on a roof.
Such places are found in both residential and commercial buildings; and are preferred because of the amazing cityscapes they offer. The trend is so popular that entire construction companies are specializing in the design of these modern outdoor harbors. A Roof terrace or patio has created the possibility for green spaces in urban agglomerations.