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The age old debate - Paver Patio vs. Wood Deck : Ask the Landscape Guy

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The age old debate - Paver Patio vs. Wood Deck

by Tim Sanford on 04/13/11

I was just quoting a job where we are demolishing an old deck and replacing it with a paver patio.  I am running into that more and more these days, homeowners want low maintenance and are opting for patios over decks.  We are able to install a 3 feet high or under patio with the landing and steps for less than the cost of a same height deck.  Plus the patios just flow a little better for entertaining than a raised deck.  So when you are pricing out your deck, take a second to price out a patio, you just might be surprised!    

 Here is a little list of my thoughts paver patios vs. wood decks.    

Paver Patios Wood Decks
  • A paver patio can be built for about a third less than the price of a deck (DIY or professionals) 
  • A deck can cost a third more than the price of a paver patio (DIY or professionals)
  • Built at ground level with steps and a landing down from the door (see photo)
  •  Built above the ground, typically at door height  
  •  A ground level patio will not require railings
  •  Decks often require railings which can obstruct views
  • Built at ground level which creates an easier transition from the patio to the yard creating a better flow for entertaining
  • Built off the ground with steps that often lead directly out onto the grass, creating an awkward transition for guests   
  • Typically patios do not require city permits because they are not attached to the house (homeowners assoc. approval is a different story)
  • Decks often require city permits because they are attached to the house and considered an addition (may also require homeowners assoc. approval)
  •  On a patio you can build in add-ons that would make your patio a cohesive entertaining area -  a seat wall around the edge, a built-in fire pit and outdoor kitchen
  •  On a deck you would need to buy removable items – seating (possible built-in benches), a mobile fire pit (watch the open flames) and grill
  • Low maintenance – spray clean, occasionally after years a paver can raise up and will need to be leveled
  • High maintenance (wood) – power washing, clear coat, painting or staining nails can pop up, wood can splinter and rot
  •  And most importantly to my wife, you can go barefoot on a patio
  •  As a deck ages you would want to wear footwear because of possible splinters and nails

Below are a few photos of some patios to give you an idea of what you might be able to do in your backyard.  Enjoy!

This is actually a bluestone patio with paver wall. The patio comes directly off their house and transitions to a lower patio with fire pit.
This patio transitions from the door with two long steps down onto the patio.
These are circular steps down to the patio.


This is a raised patio that transitions down to a walkway with nice landscaping.
This is a raised patio that transitions down to a walkway with nice landscaping.

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