Deciding between a deck or a patio

During the summer, both a deck and a patio can provide an outdoor extension of your living space.

But subtle differences between the two might make one better for your needs than another.

How to decide in this week's Angie's List report.

Choosing whether to build a deck or patio deserves careful attention as either can give you years of enjoyment if designed correctly.

Patios work best on flatter terrain because you need a minimal amount of structural engineering to put them in. Decks can be installed out over variety of terrain.

"We can create a couple of different spaces with the deck, higher spaces, lower spaces. So it can feel like separate areas. Also, we can put benches, privacy screens, and railing, so it really can flesh out the space nicely," deck contractor Tom Booker said.

An incorrectly installed patio or deck can be an unsightly blight on your landscape.

Angie's List says it's critical to choose a licensed contractor.

And never sign a contract without reading the fine print.

Before you build a deck or patio, you'll also want to look at the way weather affects your property and determine whether roof drainage could create a problem on an attached deck or if the way snow and ice build-up could create a slippery hazard on a patio.