Balconies vs. Patios: The Pros and Cons

in Help Me Now!, Small Space Ideas on by
Patio area at the back of a newly refurbished terraced house

A well-organized and pleasant outdoor area is something everyone craves. When it comes to apartment living, most units are equipped with either a balcony or a patio as part of their amenities. And while you may not always have the option to choose between the two, it’s still important to consider the pros and cons of each just in case you happen to run into them during your search.

Pro of a Patio: Ground Level

Because patios rest on the ground, by definition they must be located on the ground floor of a building. This is nice because you’ll be able to step off of it and immediately be on the ground, making it easy to use the door to the house or unit as another entrance. Plus, you can let your pet out without having to walk downstairs, or sit outside and enjoy your natural surroundings.

Pro of a Patio: Easy Maintenance

Small apartment patio

Because it is on the ground level, caring for a patio is usually easier than caring for a balcony. This is mostly because you can easily rinse off a patio with a hose or a bucket of water without having to worry about the run-off water affecting your downstairs neighbors.

Con of a Patio: Less Safety

Being on the ground floor, however, also has its drawbacks. Because they’re so easily accessible, patios are often less safe than balconies, which are completely inaccessible except by scaling the exterior of the building. While entry into the apartment or home can be made more secure by certain security devices, a patio’s overall accessibility makes it less safe.

Con of a Patio: Invasion of Nature

Being on the ground floor also makes it more likely that nature will inevitably impede on your patio. Bugs, wild animals, and weeds could creep up onto the concrete or bricks that constitute your space. And while you can combat weeds and grass with regular maintenance, bugs and animals are a lot harder to predict and prevent.

Pro of a Balcony: Bird’s Eye View

View of a simply decorated apartment balcony from inside the unit.

Because they’re commonly located on higher floors, balconies offer apartment dwellers a bird’s eye view of their surroundings. Regardless of whether that view is of buildings or nature, it can often be quite pretty and alluring all the same. Don’t be surprised if it’s the view from your balcony that draws you to it over everything else. 

Pro of a Balcony: Privacy

Unless you share a balcony, it will almost always be surrounded on three walls by your own apartment. This means you’ll have a ton of privacy when using it. On top of that, you can put laundry and other personal items outside to air-dry without having them visible to your neighbors.

Con of a Balcony: Smaller

Apartment Balcony

Unfortunately, because they must be built alongside walls, apartment balconies are often smaller than patios. A balcony may only be six or seven feet long and as many feet wide and still be considered spacious.

Con of a Balcony: Fewer Uses

Because a balcony is attached to the building, its uses are often regulated by the landlord or building owner. Items such as grills and heavy plants may be prohibited because of the safety risks they pose to the building’s other residents.

Both balconies and patios have unique features that are guaranteed to improve the quality of life in your apartment. In the end, all that really matters is that you’re able to get outside for a little each day, feel the sun on your skin, and breathe in that beautiful, clean air. 

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