What Is the Difference Between a Patio and a Porch?

Patios and porches are outdoor structures that provide an exterior living space, from where you can enjoy the outdoors while at home.

At a glance these two structures certainly seem very similar, and so the two terms are quite often used interchangeably. They are generally designed for similar purposes, and each can be about the same size and shape. And both may also be covered with a roof.

However, there are also some clear differences that can be used to distinguish between the two. The key differences between a patio and a porch lie in the area of a home in which they are built, their elevation, and the materials with which they are constructed. They are each usually located at opposite ends of the home – it is very common that porches are mostly located in the front and patios in the backyard, although there are no hard and fast rules regarding this.

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So what is a porch? A porch is a covered outdoor structure built as an extension to the exterior of a house, generally at the same level as the floor inside.

Porches are typically constructed at the entryway of the house (the word “porch” is derived from the Latin “porta,” for entrance or gate) or the building as an extension from the main structure and providing access to the home’s interior.  The design of materials and styling are generally matched with that the house it’s attached to.

Generally covered by a roof, a porch may be open or enclosed by screens, walls, lattice/columns, or glass windows. Porches can be used to protect you from the elements while you’re waiting to enter the home or a place to take off your shoes and boots just before you enter. They can come in any size, including the size of a room, with furniture for relaxing or dining.


Patios are flat, usually built at ground level with paving made from materials such as bricks, concrete slabs, tile, or gravel.

Patios can be built adjacent or extend from the house, or as a detached structure away from the house. They can be fully or partially covered with a roof. Some more modern and innovative patios like the Stratco Outback Sunroof Patio even allow you to control the louvres (ie. the ‘slats’) of the patio roof to whatever position you desire. You get to control the weather!

Patios are usually designated as a place to entertain. They are often larger and able to accommodate plants, outdoor seating and dining furniture, and an outdoor cooking space (such as the good old barbecue). Larger patios can even include the area around an in-ground swimming pool or even a fireplace.

Some patios may require some maintenance, depending on the building materials used, such as bricks that need to be replaced, tiles that need to be polished or cleaned, or pavers requiring weeding between the stones.

So now you know the main differences between and porch and a patio, and even cool new patios like that from Stratco with a patio roof that can be adjusted to suit your needs.

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