Do You Want A Porch Or A Patio? Here Are The Biggest Differences

There's nothing better than sitting outside and enjoying the fresh air right outside your home. That's the perfect place to enjoy a cold beverage, read a book, or even have a conversation with friends and family. However, where you enjoy this outdoor time can make all the difference. Both porches and patios are outdoor spaces, but they're not the same. The difference mainly comes down to location — a porch tends to be in the front of the home, while a patio is situated in the back. Since a porch is in the front, it's also a good way to boost a home's curb appeal and make a good first impression.

Both porches and patios can provide a good return on investment, so if you're looking to build one or the other or both, it could be a good option financially. Porches are more public facing, which can inherently make them more formal and often a space to welcome guests. Backyard patios offer a little more privacy away from the street, neighbors, and passing cars.

Porches and patios are also constructed differently. Many porches are raised in some way and attached to the home. They can have a railing around the perimeter and may have an awning or covering over them. Patios are freestanding and built right on the ground. Whether you want a porch or patio usually depends on how you want to use the space.

Patios and porches are not the same

Location is not the only difference between porches and patios. Most porches are made from wood or composite wood and may require a permit to build. Porches tend to be raised, so they'll need stairs and a guardrail to be up to code. Porches can be covered or uncovered, as well as enclosed. Depending on the space and a home's architecture, porches can extend to the side of the home, creating a wraparound porch. On average, the cost to build a porch is $4,600 to $22,000, with factors like the material, size, and style affecting the final price.

Patios typically aren't attached to the home and tend to be flush with the ground rather than raised. They're usually made of some kind of stone, tile, or concrete. There are many different types of tile to use for an outdoor patio, so you'll often be able to customize the space. In most cases, you won't need a permit and you might be able to build a simple patio by yourself without needing a professional. Patios can be large or small, depending on the size of the backyard. These spaces can be uncovered or covered with an awning, roof, or pergola. The cost to build a patio, on average, is $3,000 to $5,500.

Porches aren't great for big parties, but patios are

Because of the locations of porches and patios, these spaces tend to be used for different types of entertainment. Since porches are in the front of the house, they don't provide a lot of privacy. Neighbors may be out on their porches or walking their dogs, and cars may be driving past. Porches tend to be more for relaxation, possibly enhanced by a porch swing, rocking chairs, or small outdoor furniture. You may sit out there with your partner or a few friends, enjoying a glass of lemonade while talking. It may be a place where you enjoy the evening sunset or read a book. Overall, a porch is more of a quiet space that's often for smaller gatherings.

Patios, however, are in the backyard, which means you have more privacy and can be a little more informal. You'll often have more space because you can extend into the backyard, which means you might find a patio useful if you like to host summer parties. Patios can also accommodate al fresco dining more easily. You can have sofas and side chairs to create an outdoor living room, a fire pit or fireplace to keep you warm at night, or an outdoor kitchen to grill or make pizza outside. However, you can also enjoy the quieter activities on a patio if you also want some privacy.