Outdoor Living Spaces: Porch, Veranda, Patio, Deck, Terrace, Balcony

Take in the views. Welcome the breeze. Feel the sunlight. Enjoy talks and food with family and friends. Relax. All these at your outdoor living spaces.

Any one of these exterior spaces and features of a home — porch, veranda, patio, deck, terrace, balcony — enhances the design of a home, connects the interior spaces with the outdoors, and more importantly, enhances the owners’ quality of life.

Here are the most common outdoor living spaces and how they’re different from each other:


A porch is a covered structure attached to the front of the house. It’s a shelter in front of the house’s main door or main entrance. It’s usually at ground level or first floor elevation.

The word “porch” comes from the Latin word porta, which means “gate” or “entrance.” Porch implies entry.



A veranda is also an attached covered structure along the front of the house and can extend to the sides of the house. It’s usually open with just the posts or columns and without railings, but it can be enclosed by a railing on all portions or just a portion of the structure. It’s also level with the ground floor.

A veranda, sometimes spelled verandah, is wider or longer than a porch and sounds more expensive. A porch is only on the front side of a house while a veranda can wrap around the front and sides of the house.


A terrace is an entirely open space on a raised level with low enclosures or walls. It can be a terrace on the roof or a terrace on a lower level but raised from the earth around it. It can be accessed through a separate staircase or a separate entrance.


A balcony is an elevated platform projecting from the wall of a house, with low enclosures or walls. It can also be an extension attached to a room or two or more rooms above ground.

Balconies are usually small and accessed through a room or rooms above the ground floor.



A patio is a hard-paved space on the ground adjoining a house. It’s usually made of concrete, bricks, stone, stone slabs, cobbles or tiles.


A deck is an elevated roofless wood construction enclosed by a railing. Usually it’s adjoining a house, but it can also be detached from a house.


A pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of an open roof of beams and rafters supported by columns or posts. It usually covers a walkway or passage way or frames a particular location in the yard. Vines and colorful plants are usually grown to climb the sides and roofing to provide a shade. It’s usually detached from the house, but it can also be an attached structure.


A gazebo is a free-standing fully-roofed structure with open sides and raised flooring. Usually, gazebos are round but square structures have also sprouted.

All of these outdoor living spaces can be enhanced with outdoor furniture, plants, garden ornaments and items for recreation and amusement.