Outdoor Areas Defined

Many words are used, misused, abused, and sometimes even underused in the real estate world. Is there really a difference between a rooftop terrace and a rooftop deck? I’m not sure, really.

After numerous searches for clarification, I noted that different people simply define the terms in different ways, likely based on geographical/cultural norms or their scope of education in architectural history. However, for the sake of this site, I thought it would be fun to outline brief, generally accepted (although, not fixed) definitions that fit within the Vancouver property market.

Some of these words are used interchangeably, and often that’s okay – people see what they see, and like what they like – however, I do believe that different words have different connotations, and a well-thought description may impress upon someone a specific essence of a space, where other, similar words, may not create the same desired vision.


A balcony is a platform projecting from the wall of a building, supported by columns or brackets, and enclosed by a railing or decorated banister. Often smaller than other outdoor areas.


A deck, architecturally speaking, is an area, usually to the rear of a house, which has been floored with timber.


A gazebo is a form of freestanding pavilion, often hexagonal and usually open on all sides, found in parks or parkland.

Juliet (or Juliette) Balcony

A Juliet balcony is a balcony which does not project from the side of a building: it takes the form of a railing or decorated banister in front of full-length openable doors. It is thus a device which allows a conventional window to be replaced by patio doors, allowing in more light, or air in summer.


A patio is an outdoor living space often adjoining a residence, paved with stone, brick or flagstones.


A porch is a structure attached to a building, forming a covered entrance to a vestibule or doorway.

Rooftop Deck

Coming soon.


A terrace is an outdoor feature of a building above ground level, surrounded by a parapet or balustrade, larger than a balcony and open to the sky.

Veranda (or Verandah)

A veranda is a roofed open gallery or porch, built around a central structure, often enclosed by a balustrade.

These terms and definitions have been sourced from a variety of online pages, blogs, and dictionaries. If you feel that a description ought to be amended or extended, please feel welcome to comment below for consideration. Also, please let me know if there is a word/term that you would like to see added here. Thank you!
Sources: location works