What to Know About Adding an Outdoor Living Space to Your Home

Thinking about adding a porch, patio, or deck to your home this summer? We say go for it! Vertical Construction Group believes that our beautiful blue skies, mountain views, and ocean breezes make Pacific Northwest summers some of the best in the country. Here are some things to consider when adding an outdoor oasis to your home.

What Are the Benefits of Adding an Outdoor Living Space to My Home?

Building an outdoor space on your property will open the door for tons of fun opportunities to live life in the fresh air. The extra space is a perfect area to entertain guests, host barbecues, catch up with friends, and share stories with family. Adding an outdoor space in the form of a porch, patio, or deck can also provide a tranquil summer escape, ideal for morning meditations, afternoons with a good book, or relaxing with an evening glass of wine. If you work remotely, an inspirational outdoor space close to everything you need might be just the right environment to help you destress and get things done.

What’s the Difference Between a Porch, a Patio, and a Deck?

You might hear a variety of different terms when considering building an outdoor living space, such as a porch, patio, and deck, among others. These terms all define different types of outdoor use spaces, and learning the meaning of each will bring you closer to deciding which one best suits your needs.


Porches are the most common out of the three outdoor use spaces we cover here. They are usually low to the ground and attached to the front or back entrances of the home. Most porches are small in size, usually covered, and enclosed with railings, latticework, or columns.

Most porches don’t provide much space for outdoor activities, but can be built to accommodate a small table and chairs to help you enjoy the outside air a step away from your front (or back) door. Wraparound porches provide more space and typically extend from the front door to the side of the house.


Patios are typically built directly on the ground, often with concrete bases, and usually are constructed in the backyard. Patios can either be directly connected to the main house, or constructed separately on the property, for example, around an in-ground pool or firepit area.

Patios are usually built without railings since they don’t sit off the ground. They’re also less expensive than decks overall.


Decks are outdoor use spaces built at least three feet above the ground, enclosed with a railing, and connected to the main house. Decks can also be built on rooftops, over carports, or on top of garages. If your backyard is unlevel, or if you have a view you’d like to highlight, adding a deck to your property might be the best fit for you.

[Related: How to Prepare for a Major Home Remodel]

What Are the Zoning Restrictions When Adding an Outdoor Living Space?

Research your city’s regulations and requirements for adding a porch, patio, or deck to your home through the Department of Construction and Inspections. Certain outdoor spaces may need additional paperwork depending on their size or the location of your home. Municipal code may restrict the size and placement of your porch, patio, or deck depending on where you live. One common rule of thumb is that your outdoor use space shouldn’t exceed more than 20% of your home’s interior floor space.

How Can I Weatherproof My Outdoor Living Space?

Even though summers in the Pacific Northwest are pretty perfect, Seattle natives know that a rain cloud can rear its ugly head at any moment. Keeping the weather in mind when designing an outdoor space is important.

When you design your patio, porch, or deck, add some sort of cover or roof to your space to protect it from unpleasant weather and also to provide shade for those sunny summer days. Depending on how large your space is, an outdoor ceiling fan might be beneficial to maintain airflow and a nice temperature.

For the construction of the porch, patio, or deck, consider weather-resistant woods such as cedar, redwood, or cypress, composite decking, or other eco-friendly materials.

What Accessories Should I Add to My Outdoor Living Space?

Decorating your porch, patio, or deck is a way of expressing your personal aesthetic while also preparing the space for its planned use — whether that be cookouts with family or cozy nights by a fire pit. Consider hanging bistro lights or lanterns to enhance the ambiance, or adding a picnic table, chairs with weather-resistant throw pillows, plants, small tables, or even bench seating. The possibilities are endless, and websites such as Pinterest and Instagram provide infinite inspiration.

Thinking of adding an outdoor use space to your property, or have any questions on the construction of patios, porches, or decks? Contact us today! Vertical Construction Group would be happy to set up a consultation and walk you through our process.

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