Design Dilemma: Veranda, Terrace or Patio? | Home Design Find

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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