Have you ever considered adding onto your home but found yourself confused by all the different terminology out there?
Do you know you want a new outdoor seating area but aren’t sure exactly what to call the one you want?
Have you ever found yourself wondering about the meaning of terrace vs patio?
If so, let us clarify that for you!
Many people get confused by different words for home add-ons, like decks, porches, patios, balconies, and terraces. Some people may live in a part of the country where the word “terrace” isn’t regularly used, and others may live somewhere that has neither of these add-ons because it’s too cold to enjoy them most of the year.
If you’re someone who has had some trouble keeping track of the difference between a terrace and a patio, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll help break down these two different types of outdoor seating options so you can better understand which is which.
This way, the next time you’re looking up information about how to improve your home’s curb appeal or you’re thinking about buying a house based on its outdoor seating amenities, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at every time. So let’s get started!
What *PART* of the house are they located at?
A patio is an outside seating area that is usually attached to a home or, sometimes, to a restaurant. Patios are usually found in the back of the home outside the backdoor, but they may also be found to the side of the home, especially if there’s a side door located on the building. Patios are not found in the front yard in most situations, although it is possible to find a “front patio” on some homes depending on the style preferences of the people who live in it. Most people, however, have a porch in this situation.
A terrace, on the other hand, is a flat space of land that is almost always found at the top of a building or another structure. For example, if you have a “patio on the roof,” then you actually have a terrace. However, they don’t necessarily have to be on the roof, but terraces are almost always not connected to the home or other building. They are sometimes found in parks as their own, standalone structure, and if you have a flat seating area in your backyard that isn’t connected to your home in any way (other than being on your own property), then you probably have a terrace.
What do they both usually *LOOK* like?
A patio is a flat space next to the home, usually made of a concrete slab. It may be made of brick, tile, stone, or even wood, but concrete is the most common. Most of the time, patios are completely open, but sometimes, they have patio covers that function as roofs. If a patio is closed in completely, with a screen or with some other type of wall, then it is no longer called a patio and is instead called a lanai. Patios have a more casual overall appearance than most other types of outdoor seating areas.
Terraces also usually don’t have walls, but they may have posts around their perimeter (usually at the corners) that hold up a trellis or a sun shade to cover them. They often don’t have a cover if they don’t have one of these two things, however. Terraces may be made out of concrete as well, but it’s more common to find a terrace made of brick or natural stone, since it enhances the overall appearance of this slightly more upscale variation on the backyard seating area. Often, terraces are used for gardening and may have vines or crawling plants decorating them.
What type of *FURNITURE* would you use on them?
A patio is a great place for all different types of furniture. Many people enjoy decorating their patios with lounge furniture or with comfortable plastic chairs, while others prefer to use wrought iron bistro table and chair sets to create an outside dining experience. Still others might prefer something more casual, like a plastic picnic table the whole family can sit around and enjoy together. Patios are very casual and low-key spaces that don’t require a lot of specific furniture to make them look great, and they’re versatile enough to work well with just about anything you might want to put on them.
A terrace, on the other hand, is a little bit more of a classy setting that may require slightly more expensive furniture, although this is entirely up to the owner of the terrace. You may want to put a small sofa and set of chairs with a coffee table on a terrace, but be sure to choose furniture that’s designed for use in outdoor settings so you don’t have to worry about it becoming damaged due to the weather. A terrace is also a nice place for a standalone porch swing if you don’t have a porch to put it on.
What are the *FUNCTIONS* of both areas?
Patios are often used specifically for seating. Since they are connected to the house, they are often considered an extension of the home itself, and are treated like an extra, outdoor room. There may be some gardening on a patio, but not very much. Some people like to keep their grills on their patios, and they may also set up a patio table and chairs for use as an outside dining option when the weather is nice. In some instances, a patio may lead to a pool, too.
Terraces are used for a lot of different purposes. For example, rooftop terraces are often used to give people who live in condos or apartments a chance to have some fresh air and an outside seating option, even if they live in the heart of the city. However, even people who have terraces on the roofs of their single-family homes often like to garden on them, and rooftop garden terraces are very popular uses of this type of structure. Traditional flat land backyard terraces are also often used for gardening, and may also be used for a covered seating area.
Which of these options is right for your home? As you can see, there are pros and cons to both terraces and patios, and they’re both meant for specific situations. Depending on what it is you’re looking for, you may want to choose one option over the other, and that’s okay! It’s important to take your time and consider both alternatives in order to determine which one is right for your home and for your specific situation.
Keep our information in mind and you’ll be well on your way to making the right decision about whether or not to put in a terrace or a patio to improve your outdoor space!
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