Designing Spaces That Reflect You
Patio vs Balcony Differences Between Outdoor Spaces

Patio vs. Balcony: Differences Between Outdoor Spaces


The bank of words used to describe different parts of a home is vast and sometimes oddly specific. Realtors and tradesmen use these words to describe a home’s features to you in as few words as possible. However, it can get tricky to understand the minute differences between them. For example, what is the difference between a patio and a balcony?

A basic answer is that a patio is a ground-floor space that may or may not be attached to the home. A balcony, in contrast, cannot exist on the ground floor and is always attached to the building.

Let’s talk about some of the other Patio vs. Balcony Factors.

Differences Between a Patio and a Balcony

Differences Between a Patio and a Balcony

Patios and balconies serve a similar, but not identical purpose in the home. Additionally, they require different knowledge to maintain. You can tell patio vs. Balcony on visuals alone in many ways.

Balcony VS Patio


As I mentioned, a patio is typically found on the ground floor. This is because it is made of masonry that is set into the ground.

A balcony however is found from the second floor up since it gets its support from the building rather than the ground. Sometimes, a balcony will have posts that extend to the ground, but this is unusual.

This is one of the common Patio vs. Balcony factor.


Patios and balconies also differ in how they interact with the structure of the house.

A patio is essentially a freestanding structure – while it can be attached to the home, it would not negatively impact the stability of the space if it was not.

However, a balcony cannot exist without being securely attached to the building since it would fall. As a result, balconies are almost always built at the time of the buildings’ construction, while patios are frequently built later.


Patios and balconies also differ in how you can enter and exit them. Patios can be open spaces, allowing you to enter them from either the yard or inside the home. A balcony in contrast can only be entered from inside the home, as it is not in direct contact with the ground.

Additionally, while patios may have optional fencing installed around them, balconies rely on mandatory pillars and railings to keep them safe and stable.


Another difference between a patio and a balcony is the size. Patios are often larger and contain enough space for entertaining several guests. Balconies are usually quite small, with a limit on how many people can be out on them at a time.


Finally, the view favored by designers of balconies is different from that of a patio.

Patios are often designed to look out over a yard, allowing you to enjoy the appearance of your property. However, a balcony is elevated and usually built on the most scenic side of the building which allows you to view the surrounding area.

The view from a balcony is often described as one of the following:

  • City
  • Ocean
  • Mountain


A patio is made of concrete, masonry, or pavers. A balcony needs to be made of steel or wood for support purposes, which is then treated or covered to match the building’s exterior.


Patios are very easy to install, making them a popular DIY project. Balconies require more complex construction techniques and delicate engineering.

You can then guess which one is more expensive. A balcony can easily rack up double the construction costs of a patio.

Other Common Outdoor Spaces

In addition to a patio and a balcony, a home can have many other outdoor spaces. Each varies in purpose and construction.

Other Common Outdoor Spaces


A deck is a raised entertaining space made of wood. It often falls between the ground level and the second story in height and is supported by another adjacent structure such as a house or pool. Most decks are located at the rear of the house, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Because they are slightly elevated, a deck is most often entered via stairs.



A porch is like a deck, and some porches are also decks. However, while a deck can be built anywhere, a porch must be built adjoining the entrance of a building (usually the front door).

It is also a covered space, making it dry during rain and other inclement weather. Porches do not always have a separate roof from the main building, but this is common. Now you see the Patio vs. Balcony factors.



A veranda is a special kind of porch. It extends along an entire side of the building it is attached to. Sometimes they are also referred to as wrap-around porches.

Verandas are common in hot climates because they keep the home cooler. A veranda provides a shaded sitting area for occupants to escape to during summer and prevents the sun from hitting the windows and walls of the home directly. This slows down the heat transfer from the outside of the house to the inside.


Does outdoor space add value to a home?

Yes, houses are priced based on square footage (among other things) and outdoor space is counted. Additionally, each square foot of outdoor space is worth more than a comparable square foot of indoor space (between 25 and 50% more).

Do apartments always have balconies?

Apartments are more likely to have a balcony than a patio (because of the multi-floor approach of most apartment buildings as well as security concerns). However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Some apartments have a patio or may have no outdoor space at all.

What is the most expensive outdoor space?

An enclosed patio is by far the most expensive outdoor space. It also adds the most value to your home and is very popular among buyers. This is because it provides an outdoor space that is safe from rain and can be used year-round.


Knowing the difference between a patio and a balcony is the type of knowledge you’d have never thought about until you need it. Outdoor spaces fall into several different categories with unique names.

Two of the most common are patios and balconies, although decks, porches, and verandas are also common.

Patios are outdoor spaces made of masonry or concrete which are ground level and self-supporting. They are often larger and more open than a balcony.

Balconies in contrast are attached to a second or higher floor of a building and are entered from inside the living space only. They are often quite small due to structural limitations.

These names help realtors and landlords communicate the features of a home with potential residents, as well as help tradesmen give more specific advice. Searching for a specific kind of outdoor space is the best way to find the information you need.


Related Post