Deck and Patio Blog

Understanding Outdoor Structures

December 22, 2016

Whether it’s spring, summer, autumn or winter in Maryland, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors, even if it’s only from your balcony, porch, veranda, patio or deck. And speaking of that, what’s the difference between all these spaces? These terms may be interchangeable to many, and while they are certainly similar to a certain extent, this doesn’t make them synonyms. Let’s get to know these outdoor structures better so when you start your next outdoor home project you’ll be able to best discuss them with your Maryland contractor.

Porches

In general, a porch is a covered shelter projecting in front of the entrance of a house or building. The structure is external to the walls of the building but it may be enclosed in certain types of frames including walls, columns or screens, extending from the main structure.

Gazebos

Gazebos are very popular in older homes and are making a modern comeback. You often see them at outdoor parks as well. Gazebos are most commonly used as outdoor dining or seating areas and they can be open or screened in.

The most recognizable traits of a gazebo are its shape and size. Gazebos are shaped to form an octagon and have a classically domed roof with 8 support pillars. Gazebos tend to fit around 5-15 people. They are smaller in size as compared to a pavilion, and you typically do not see them holding more than 15 people.

Balconies

A balcony is a platform on the outside of a building, enclosed by walls or balustrades, supported by columns or console brackets. The platform is projecting from the wall of a building, usually above the ground floor. Balconies are typically small and not used as social spaces or for entertainment purposes.

Pergola

Pergolas are covers for walkways and entertaining areas. They are rectangular in shape and have four support pillars. The tell tale sign of the pergola is the roof.  A pergola’s roof is characteristically made up of horizontal planks which latch across each other and can be decorative.

Verandas

A veranda is a roofed platform along the outside of a house. It’s level with the ground floor and often extends across both the front and the sides of the structure. It can be partly enclosed by a railing.

Patios

A patio is a paved outdoor area adjoining a house, generally used for dining or recreation. The term is Spanish and means “inner courtyard”. Common materials used when building a patio include concrete, stone, or bricks but tiles or cobbles can be used as well. Patios are often decorated with plants and outdoor furniture.

Sunrooms

Sunrooms are glass-enclosed porches or living rooms with a sunny exposure, it may also be called a sun parlor. They typically have many windows and their floors may be carpet, wood, tile, or any choice of the homeowner. A sunroom is typically fitted with heating and cooling options so that it can be used year round, but it doesn’t have to be.

Decks

A deck is a flat, usually roofless platform adjoining a house. Decks are typically made of lumber and are elevated from the ground. It can include spaces for BBQing, dining, and seating. Decks are generally enclosed by a railing. In some cases, decks can also be covered by a canopy or pergola.

Whether your next Maryland Outdoor home project is a deck, patio, or sunroom, know the right term so you can plan like a pro with your expert designer. Contact North American Deck and Patio to speak to an outdoor additions expert to discuss setting up a consultation and ask questions.

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Charles County Deck and Patio Contractor: La Plata (20646), Port Tobacco (20677), Rock Point (20682), Waldorf (20601, 20602, 20603)

Howard County Deck and Patio Contractor: Clarksville (21029), Columbia (21044), Cooksville (21723), Dorsey (21075), Elkridge (21075), Ellicott City (21043), Fulton (20759), Glenelg (21737), Glenwood (21738), Granite (21163), Hanover (21076), Highland (20777), Jessup (20794), Lisbon (21765), Marriottsville (21104), North Laurel (20723), West Friendship (21794), Woodbine (21797), Woodstock (21163), and more.

Montgomery County Deck and Patio Contractor: Olney (20832), Damascus (20872), Laytonsville (20882), Silver Spring (20910), Clarksburg (20871), Gaithersburg (20878), Germantown (20876), Bethesda (20816), Chevy Chase (20815), and more.

Prince George's County Deck and Patio Contractor: Bowie (20715, 20716, 20720, 20721), Beltsville (20705), Adelphi (20783), College Park (20740,20742), Greenbelt (25689), Hyattsville (20781, 20782, 20783, 20784), Landover (20785), Laurel (20707, 20723), Springdale (20774), Upper Marlboro (20772, 20774), Woodlawn (21207).

St. Marys County Deck and Patio Contractor: Leonardtown (20650), Mechanicsville (20659), Lexington Park (20653), Piney Point (20674), Tall Timbers (20690)