Angie's List: Creating a backyard oasis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - During the summer, both a deck and a patio can provide an outdoor extension of your living space. But subtle differences between the two might make one better for your needs than another. Choosing whether to build a deck or patio deserves careful attention as either can give you years of enjoyment if designed correctly.

Patios work best on flatter terrain because you need a minimal amount of structural engineering to put them in.

Decks can be installed out over variety of terrain.

"We can create a couple of different spaces with the deck, higher spaces, lower spaces," says contractor Tom Booker. "So it can feel like separate areas. Also, we can put benches, privacy screens, and railing, so it really can flesh out the space nicely."

Angie's Lists' Angie Hicks reminds you to always look at the bottom line.

"When planning a deck or patio first you want to get your budget in line, then see what your options are. Figure out how much square footage you're looking to add and then price it out accordingly with each different type. Keeping in mind the price range can vary on installation, but you also need to consider what the lifelong maintenance is as well. For instance, a wood deck is less expensive than a composite deck to install initially, but requires more maintenance."

An incorrectly installed patio or deck can be an unsightly blight on your landscape. Angie's List says it's critical to choose a licensed contractor. And never sign a contract without reading the fine print.

Before you build a deck or patio, you'll also want to look at the way weather affects your property and determine whether roof drainage could create a problem on an attached deck or if the way snow and ice build-up could create a slip hazard on a patio.

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