Balcony Vs Terrace or Patio Vs Balcony: A Practical Guide

Balcony vs Terrace

You are sitting in your outdoor living space with your friends while enjoying great food and a cold one. Everyone has a picture in their head about their perfect outdoor extension to their homes. However, the choice can overwhelm even the best architectural minds. You have balconies, terraces, patios, and everything in between.

What is the difference between balcony vs terrace or patio vs balcony?

When choosing between a balcony versus a terrace or a patio, you must understand the small differences between them. For instance, a terrace works great in urban areas too small for the others. Balconies are best when you have limited space available, while patios are best for when you have space but not the budget for anything else. 

Each type of space offers something unique, but also come with downsides. The only way to decide between them is to fully understand your yard and the type of activities you plan to have.

What are Balconies, Patios, Terraces, and Other Outdoor Living Spaces?

Outdoor living spaces come in all shapes and sizes. They let you enjoy the outdoors within the comfort of your backyard. They also enhance the value and design of your home, as well. While you must maintain them, these spaces are worth the quality of life benefits they provide.

The most common outdoor living spaces include:

  • Porch – a covered, mostly enclosed structure connected to the front of your home, usually leading to the main door or entrance.
  • Veranda – a porch, usually without railings, that can stretch along the sides of the house.
  • Terrace – an entirely open space raised above the ground with low enclosures or walls around the kitchen area. Terraces can be on roofs. They can also have their entrances separate from the main entrance of the home.
  • A Balcony is a small, elevated space that projects from the wall of a house. Balconies have low enclosures and can serve as an extension of a room. They also have no external entrance and must be accessed from their attached room.
  • A patio is a hard-paved, ground-level space adjacent to a house.
  • A Deck is an enclosed, elevated, roofless wood platform. Patios can be attached to a home or exist as a standalone structure.
  • A pergola is an open-roof structure supported by columns or posts usually situated over a passageway or walkway.
  • A Gazebo is a standalone, fully-roofed structure with open sides and raised flooring. Most gazebos are round, but square ones are growing in popularity.

Balcony Vs Terrace Vs Patio – Benefits, and Disadvantages of Each Outdoor Living Space

Balcony vs Terrace

All these outdoor living spaces let you enjoy the great outdoors at home, but they are not interchangeable. Each one has a unique style and purpose, which can make them better for some homes but not others.

Some reasons for this situation are cultural. Others come naturally by design. Knowing which style of space is best for your home requires understanding how the spaces fit with your taste and style.

Terraces Work Well in Urban Areas

Because you can locate them anywhere and make them any size, terraces work well when the other formats do not work. For instance, a terrace lets you have a garden in a busy city neighborhood with very little space. You can even use the space for a private bar or night club.

However, the terrace has limited direct access, especially when located on a roof. Usually, just the top floor can access the area and then by some obscure method such as a fire escape. This makes them only viable for apartment complexes where they can charge extra for the privilege.

Use a Balcony, Porch, or a Veranda When All Else Fails

Functionally, verandas, porches, and balconies are the same type of outdoor space. Their main difference is where they are located. Balconies are typically attached to an upper floor room, while verandas and porches are attached to the ground floor.

Therefore, your choice between them often just depends on where you have room.

  • Porches work best when you only have room around your main entrance.
  • Verandas are nice when you want your living space in your backyard or wrap around the outside of your home.
  • Balconies are great for the additional privacy that comes from their upper floor location.

You can even add a pavilion to these spaces to keep them cool and to add style.

These spaces are also versatile enough to work anywhere though their size limits what you can do with them. They work best when you want to expand a room or your home without the expense of a full extension to the house. Balconies also make great places for small gardens, storage, and entertaining guests.

However, their location may cause issues as you can only access them through their attached rooms. Beyond that, some local ordinances and regulations may restrict how you can use a balcony beyond the limits of their size. For instance, some places require you to enclose balconies with open entrances.

Entertain Guests on a Budget with a Patio

As they are simple slabs of pavements, patios are the perfect outdoor living solution when you are on a budget. You can also build them with any size or shape, giving you full control of the space. They are often free of government restrictions or regulations, making them perfect where all other space types are forbidden.

However, patios are open to everyone as they have no enclosure, making them unwise for the front of your house if safety is a concern. Still, they make for great entertainment pieces as your guests can come and go as they please.

Build a Deck to Live in Style

If you can afford it, decks make the best use of your yard for outdoor recreation, dining, and entertainment. You can also customize them to your liking, making them unique and personal. It is no wonder that decks are the most popular outdoor living spaces.

Their beauty and style come with downsides, though. Decks are expensive to build and maintain with steep regulations and restrictions. At least, you will have something you can boast about to your friends.

Choosing the Best Outdoor Space

Every type of outdoor living space gives you the same taste and sounds of nature. They give you the benefits of camping without leaving your comfort zone. However, that luxury comes with a cost.

Properties with space for them are always in high demand, and suitable locations are often limited in urban areas. Therefore, your best solution is to go with a property you can afford and then select the outdoor space that best fits it.

Another important characteristic is how much time and money you can put into maintaining the space. Maintenance costs can add up quickly, especially for the more elaborate spaces and structures. You want a space you can keep safe for everyone to enjoy.

That is if you can have one. Each type of space has location requirements. You cannot have a terrace or deck if you do not have the room for them. Patios and balconies have much easier accommodations, but they may violate local ordinances.

Once you deal with the costs and restrictions, only your personal preferences are the only factors to consider. Private outdoor living spaces are much about you as they are about what you can do with them. Remember, all outdoor spaces offer the same accommodation. Their only major difference is their location and the space they provide.


Outdoor living spaces offer value to your home and improvements to your quality of life. However, each type of space has a purpose and style that makes them work in some locations but not others. Terraces are great when you have the space for them, but patios work best when you are on a budget. On the other hand, balconies make the most sense when space is a premium.

Nick Peters

Nick describes himself as a “balcony geek” as he loves all things balcony. Besides blogging about balconies, Nick loves reading and writing about tech and cool gadgets.

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