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Design Dilemma: Veranda, Terrace or Patio?

traditional landscape how to tips advice

Traditional Landscape by Greenwich Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Conte & Conte, LLC
As you sip your lemonade on your front porch this summer, you may find yourself reflecting, idly: what’s the difference between a veranda, a patio, a porch and terrace? How does a deck fit in? Alas, these are the profound philosophical questions of summer. And as the humidity thickens and the temperatures soar, the urge to take refuge on a patio or porch builds, so we’ve got answers! Here’s a brief glossary to your outdoor space confusion.

A patio can be attached to a house, or completely detached. Either way, it is always hard-paved of stone or cement, and it sits firmly on the earth. We associate patios with the West Coast and Southwest, of the US — the perfect spot for a siesta in mid-afternoon or a margarita at the end of the day. It’s even better when there’s a fireplace on the patio for chilly desert nights.

mediterranean patio how to tips advice
contemporary patio how to tips advice

Like a patio, a terrace can be attached or detached and it is also always hard-paved. However, unlike a patio, it is always raised from the earth around it. The Atlanta house, below, has just the right amount of majesty, suggested by the word “terrace”. We prefer ours with sweeping views, or perhaps overlooking a pool.

traditional landscape how to tips advice

Unlike a terrace or patio, a veranda is always attached to the house and it has a roof, which is not a condition of patio-hood. It can be wooden or hard-paved. We like ours best surrounded by wisteria and hydrangeas. but we’ll also accept a leafy forest or palm trees as below.

contemporary porch how to tips advice
tropical porch how to tips advice

A veranda and porch are basically the same thing. Porches, however, are attached and do not necessarily have a roof. They are often enclosed, especially in hot humid climates where mosquitoes are a problem. Porches are likely to be smaller than verandas, but not necessarily. It’s just that “veranda” seems to be quite a grand word for a porch, which has a more ordinary feel to it.  We like ours screened in and outfitted with a couple of rockers and a hammock.

traditional exterior how to tips advice

A deck can be attached or detached from a house. It is of wood construction and is elevated above the ground, by just a few inches or a few feet. Decks are great for parties. They require a barbecue grill if they are to be considered fully-equipped.

contemporary deck how to tips advice
transitional exterior how to tips advice

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A Blissful Meditative Spa for Sonoma Sybarites

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A serene spa pavilion for meditation and yoga opens to the landscape of balmy Sonoma County in Northern California.

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The meditation retreat, designed by SF-based Aidlin Darling Design, is set in the rambling garden of an existing rammed-earth house.

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Friends and family can come here to regroup.

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Included is a peaceful dining pavilion to enjoy a leisurely al fresco meal with friends.

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Next to the dining pavilion, a pool offers a quiet place of rest and relaxation.

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The outdoor yoga studio overlooks the rolling hills of Sonoma, providing a zen-like retreat.

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A rustic trellis further provides shade from the California sun and frames distant views of San Francisco to the south.

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The utter simplicity of its design is conducive to a spa-like experience of getting away from it all.

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Connecting the spa to the main house is a quiet rammed-earth entrance curved around the stairs.

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A steam room completes the sybaritic retreat.

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Just a few strokes paint a space of pure bliss.

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A South African Retrofit with Timeless Glamour

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A renovation of the Moss Oaklands Residence by Nico van der Meulen Architects in South Africa has a sophisticated urban vibe.

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Water features prominently in the sleek redesign creating a glamorous presence to meet the client’s brief.

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A new water feature at the entrance to the house creates a bridge that must be crossed to enter public spaces to one side, and private spaces to the other.

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The house is an update of a charming old 1950s era house set in a wonderful tropical garden.

But not very well built.

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In the rebuild, stronger construction of the new double volume spaces and sturdy flat roofs makes it possible to add a second story if desired in the future.

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The small original building was enlarged to include for bedrooms and large entertaining areas in a larger footprint.

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The result is a timeless modern space with an easy flow between its spaces.

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The raised ceilings create a sense of unlimited possibilities.

Sliding stacking doors open up one whole facade.

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The renovation increased the size of the bedrooms as well as their number.

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Sleek built-in fireplaces appear throughout, even in the newly spacious bedrooms.

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The confident renovation is impeccably contemporary and welcoming.

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Space is delineated outside as well as inside the house.

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It’s timeless grandeur comes from a harmonious balance between warm textured finishes and vast neutral colour planes.

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An Oriental Screen for An Australian Getaway

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A house for an Australian family with two young children is given an air of intrigue with an Oriental inspired screened porch.

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Designed by Wolveridge Architects the design moderates some of the brilliant Australian sunshine of Victoria.

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The architects were briefed to provide a family home with plenty of outdoor space and play area for the kids and their friends.

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At the same time, the parents wanted a grownups home that reflected their tastes.

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Black provides a sophisticated accent throughout.

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Black is used effectively to provide a stunning contrast to this sunlit bathtub.

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The plan is simple and sweet.

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The house is kid friendly but it also has an adult sensibility.

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Five minutes’ walk up from Blairgowrie’s back beach, the young couple had found the land of their dreams, but it was sloped.

They wanted flat land for the kids to run around on.

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So the architect built up a flat area off the living room with earthworks.

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It was also important to have a wide open house with room for the kids to ride their bikes inside.

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But the most important requirement was that the house make a clean break from their lives in the city.

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Guz Architects Create a Soaring Roof for Rattan House

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Under a soaring wooden ceiling, an extraordinary hardwood staircase is the big feature in a new house from Guz Architects in Singapore.

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Like many houses in the sultry tropical climate, the Rattan House is designed to maximize natural ventilation.

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A highly polished tropical hardwood ceiling and wooden shutter doors gives a colonial feel to the shaded and water-cooled entry.

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Stepping stones in cool black stone skim across a koi pond courtyard.

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An angled wall of rattan allows for knickknack displays while allowing the free flow of air along a walkway to a private office.

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This upstairs walkway offers an incredible grandstand seating view overlooking a magnificent, spacious garden.

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A filmy rattan screen is slung between the rhythmic march of white pillars

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Private bedrooms and bathrooms are arrayed along the upper level, up the astounding staircase.

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What a truly stunning atrium space.