Barn Spiders, Calico Spiders, Corn Spiders, Garden Spiders, Banana Spiders...
The list goes on & on. But at the end of the day, they're all araneids. Or Orb Weaver Spiders. They're found the world over in the form of more than 4,000 different species. 180 of those living right here in North America. Orb Weavers are called such because of the spiral or wheel-shaped webs they weave. Like most other spiders, they have 8 eyes. Two are primary eyes, used to form images. The others are called secondary eyes, and they're used to track movement and gauge distance. They also have the requisite 8 legs that are hairy or spiny looking. You typically see the females because Orb Weavers tend to be sexually dimorphic, the female can grow up to 9x larger than the male!
These guys can be very scary looking, especially when you're minding your own business weeding the garden or sweeping off the porch. Then BOOM! There's this huge, thick spider web with a ginormous spider looking at you like you might be lunch. No worries, though. These species love to eat the insects that love to eat your garden: flies, mosquitos, moths, beetles, wasps, lizards, and sometimes if the spider grows large enough-snakes & birds. They're also not usually aggressive to humans. They won't bite unless provoked and while that bite may be non-poisonous to us, it will definitely be felt. An Orb Weaver bite has been compared to a bee sting. I dunno about you, but a bee sting definitely would get my attention in a painful sort of way. So, it's best to just let them be to work their spidery magic on our flowers and such outdoors.
By the way, did you know Charlotte, the spider from Charlotte's Web, was an Orb Weaver Spider? Her name was Charlotte A. Cavatica, as in Araneus cavaticus aka the barn spider.