There are a lot of inside elements that go into building a custom home, but a house is more than it’s interior. The exterior of a home is just as important as the inside. Indoor-outdoor living is huge right now, and although Toronto doesn’t have the best weather all year round, that is just another reason why our clients want to take advantage of their outdoor space while they can.


When it comes to outdoor structures and overhangs though, the terms can be confusing. Our Toronto home builders are going to break down the main outdoor structures for you.



Porch is the term that most people are familiar with when it comes to outdoor structures. However, there are many different types of porches and this can be confusing. A porch it an architectural element that creates a space around an entrance of a home. Porches have overhangs to shelter people from the elements, allowing them to pause before entering a home. They can be enclosed with walls, screens, or windows depending on the style.



A portico is technically a style of porch, however, it has become popular enough to be used on its own. It is a feature that extends from the façade leading to the entrance of a home. They can be large, but in terms of a home portico, they are generally smaller and cover just the door. Many times they are added not to provide protection from the elements, but to add depth or variation to a roof line to make a home more aesthetically appealing.



A veranda is another type of porch, but is generally large and encompasses the entire façade of a structure. A veranda can be thought of a large outdoor hallway almost. It an open-air gallery that is attached to the side of a home. They are popular in hotter areas and are often used as additional living space.



Pergolas are becoming more popular due to their aesthetic and practical appeal. A pergola is a wooden structure that provides sun protection over an outdoor space. They are typically not fully covered, but rather a framework of wooden beams. Pergolas are great for custom homes because they provide shade when outside, but don’t block light from coming into the home.



“Patio” is a word that comes from Spanish meaning “courtyard” or “yard”. It is an outdoor space used for dining or entertainment, typically adjoining a home. Patios are usually paved with stones or concrete to create a flat surface. Patios can be exposed to the elements or covered with a roof. In Toronto, many people that build custom homes install hot tubs on their patios so that they can enjoy them all year round.



A terrace is an outdoor structure that plays into landscaping. It is a raised, open, flat area either near a building or on a roof. Terraces are great for homes that overlook a large chunk of land. They’re a great feature on grand custom homes as they provide a transition between the hard materials of the home and the softer ones of the garden.



Decks are one of the most popular outdoor structures for custom homes. They are flat surfaces capable of supporting weight, similar to a floor, but constructed outdoors. They are often elevated from the ground, either by a few stories or a few feet and are usually connected to a home. Decks are great for parties, grilling, and entertaining guests. Most decks are built from wood or wood-like materials.



Most people in Toronto know what a balcony is, simply because most condos in the city have them. A balcony is a small platform projected from the wall of a building. They can be small or large, and either open or closed. Not every home in Toronto can pull off a balcony, and many that have them put them in the rear of the home for privacy.


Want to learn more about outdoor protectoral structures or want to start building your dream custom home? Contact us today!