Subtle differences distinguish a patio and deck. Same with porch and veranda. A balcony is straightforward, but it too can be confusing. See photo examples and explanations of the differences among patio, deck, veranda, porch and balcony.
Porch vs. Veranda
I’ll start with this comparison because there’s very little difference between the two. The only difference is a veranda is a porch that runs along 2 or more sides of a structure (usually a home). You wouldn’t be wrong to call a veranda a porch; it’s just referencing a 2+ sided porch as a veranda makes it more clear that the porch is wrapping around the home.
Another difference is a veranda connotes a “gallery” that can be not a deep as a porch. It’s a gallery to walk along to get to another part of the structure’s exterior. A porch, on the other hand, is a place for sitting or an exterior entry point into the home.
Deck vs. Patio
This comparison is also very similar.
A deck is built of wood and is either built on the ground, but more often elevated off the ground on a foundation or joists.
A patio is an outside area that is built onto the ground, usually with brick, rock, concrete or tile. It sits on the ground while a deck is off the ground.
Sometimes a deck functions much like a patio because it’s very close to the ground.
Finally, a deck or patio can surround a swimming pool. It’s a deck if built of wood or composite decking and sits slightly elevated on some form of foundation. A patio if built of other materials flush to the ground.
A balcony is an elevated platform on the outside of a structure. It’s elevated and extends off the side of a wall. Balconies are common with condos, apartments and off primary bedrooms.
A picture says it all
Below are photo examples of each type of outdoor feature.