Robert Hadden wanted a new patio for his home. But he quickly learned pouring concrete is not as easy as the breezy backyard he dreamed of.
"As I quickly learned, just carving an area in the earth and putting down stones, I wasn't going to achieve much doing that," says Haddon.
Experts say patios and pavers work better in a flat backyard.
"You can get pieces that are large as 24-by-36 for an individual stone, so people seem to be trending more toward having larger formatted pieces in general,"says Kevin Schluchter.
Decks are more versatile because they can be installed over a variety of landscapes.
"We can put benches, privacy screens and railing, so it really can flesh out the space nicely," says Tom Booker of The Deck Store.
Homeowners should also remember budget must be part of the conversation.
"Keep in mind the price range can vary on installation, but you also need to consider what the lifelong maintenance is as well," says Angie Hicks of Angie's List.
Hicks says it's critical to choose a licensed contractor and never sign a contract without reading the fine print.
Before building a deck or patio, experts also recommend checking how the weather affects your backyard.
If the roof drains onto a wood deck, you could have a slippery hazard on your hands.