What’s the Cost of a Deck vs a Patio? 5 Factors to Consider

Lots of good stuff happens when you use the words “deck” or “patio” in a sentence:

“Come over for drinks on the patio.”
“After work let’s relax on the deck.”
“Let’s make s’mores on the patio fire pit.”

You really can’t go wrong. 

So, which cool outdoor hangout should you start planning — a deck or a patio?

What’s the cost of a deck vs a patio? What other factors are in the mix? 

Let’s take a look.

1. First Up: What Suits You Better?

Whether you choose a deck, a patio, or a combination of both, the first thing to do is chat with a landscape designer about how you plan to use the space.

Will you host every family barbecue, neighborhood potluck, and kid birthday party? 

patio with outdoor kitchen and seating area

Or do you crave a more intimate space for morning coffee and yoga, romantic dinners, or an outdoor work-from-home nook? 

Is a deck or patio cheaper? It depends on the size, construction considerations, and the amenities you include. 

Read our Detailed Guide to Planning your Landscape Design in Idaho
Both patio and deck designs can include separate levels with steps, terraces, and seating walls, creating outdoor rooms for different purposes. It’s like home — but outside! 

But a deck or patio can also be a cozy, small-scale spot.

Let your lifestyle guide your choices. A skilled designer in Idaho Falls landscape design can help you match your needs with the right outdoor haven — either a deck or a patio, or a cool combination of both.

2. Let Your Yard Help Decide

The shape and terrain of your yard plays a part here.

Patios are great for backyards that have flat ground. 

Crave privacy? Patios are at ground level, so it’s easy to add tall plants or a privacy screen to block boisterous neighbors or enjoy your morning granola in your robe.

paver patio with pergola and fireplace

Is your yard hilly or uneven? Decks don’t care. Their installation can accommodate uneven surfaces.

Do you have a great view? Lots of Idaho homeowners do. Decks are great for that. They’re situated up higher than patios, with height that helps you enjoy a lovely view. 

Is a deck or patio cheaper? There are several factors to consider:

3. Deck Construction: Wood or Composite?

If you’re weighing the cost of a deck vs a patio and leaning toward a deck, you probably already know you can opt for natural wood, which is the cheapest choice, or composite decking, the pricier option. 

Yes, wood costs less for deck builders to install initially, but a wood deck can end up more costly due to maintenance. Wood needs to be cleaned and stained every few years, and it can warp over time. 

While natural wood decks have been a top choice in the past, composite decking is beginning to catch up in popularity because of its durability.


Composite decking lasts longer, won’t rot or be devoured by insects and is low-maintenance. There are also lots of color, texture and style options with composite deck construction. 

Here’s how the cost compares:

  • Pressure-treated wood: $25-35 per square foot (lasts 10 to 15 years)

  • Cedar or redwood: $30-$45 per square foot (lasts 15 to 20 years)

  • Composite deck: $30 to $50 per square foot, and it can last 25 to 30 years.

4. Cost of a Deck vs. a Patio: How A Paver Patio Compares

Patios are great multi-taskers, allowing space for all kinds of entertaining, from boisterous weekend cookouts to quiet morning coffee and yoga to romantic wine dates beneath the stars. 

There are great add-ons for patios, too, from a cozy fireplace or fire pit to built-in seating walls to trendy outdoor pizza ovens.

patio with fireplace and pergola

But what’s the cost of a patio vs a deck? 

A paver patio can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 per square foot depending on things like its size, the type of pavers used, and the level of detail involved.

So a new patio can range from $10,000 to $50,000. We know what you’re thinking. 
There’s a big difference between $10,000 and $50,000. 

There absolutely is. But a lot of factors affect the cost.

For one thing, there’s a huge range of materials to choose from, and they vary in price.

While standard concrete pavers create a nice patio, higher-end options are available in a wide array of colors and design options, with greater detail: pavers that look like a mosaic of carefully sculpted stone, that mimic natural travertine or a cobblestone courtyard.

No matter which way you go when considering the cost of a deck vs a patio, higher-end materials mean a higher price tag. 

patio with firepit and water feature

The more intricate the patio design, the more labor is needed, so the higher the cost. 

Do the landscape crews have to take down fences to install your patio? Tear up grass they need to replace with sod? Is your yard sloped with elevation issues? Crews may have to excavate dirt, build a retaining wall or add steps to accommodate that.

This extra labor increases the cost of the patio.

Which leads us to:

5. Cost of a Patio vs a Deck: Either Way, Go With a Pro

Speaking of stuff like excavating dirt, building retaining walls or adding steps, patio and deck construction involves a lot of skilled planning and expertise. 

You want pros on the job. Mistakes can be costly. Here’s just one example: If patio builders don’t grade the area correctly, water can back up and cause flooding. Water can’t penetrate a hard surface like a patio the way it does a garden bed.

landscape under construction

That’s why we start our construction projects at Outback Landscape with a professional landscape design that incorporates not just your cool ideas, but all the tricky logistics of your deck or patio construction. 

Once you sign off on the design, we’ll get started on the construction process and installing your great new deck or patio. 

Don’t forget the details that will make your new deck or patio your go-to destination. We can also add landscape lighting, seating walls, fire features, shade structures or lush plants to boost the look and use of your new outdoor space. 

We’d love to show you more.

Need expert landscape design in Idaho Falls, ID?

Outback Landscape is a full-service landscaping company offering maintenance, design, and landscape installation throughout Southeast Idaho and Wyoming. 

We install beautiful, functional landscapes. But our work doesn’t stop there. We’ll stay with you for the long haul, taking care of your property through all four seasons.

We serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Call us at 208-656-3220. Or fill out the contact form to schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

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