A back porch is the perfect gathering place to host a BBQ, watch a sunset or gaze at the stars. Fortunately, creating the ideal outdoor space for your small home is simpler than you may think. Whether you already have a back porch and just want to spruce it up, or need to add one, below are all the basics you should know, plus plenty of inspiration to get you motivated.
Finding the Right Porch for You
A porch is more than a deck with a roof and there are as many different kinds as there are different houses. You should look to your home and its architecture to help you determine what the perfect porch will look like for your house. Seek out pictures from the time period your home was built to see what types of porches have traditionally complemented the style of your home.
Porches can be raised or level with the rest of your yard. You can build a porch out of concrete, wood, tile or stone. If you raise your porch, consider how and where you plan to add stairs – and make sure you factor in railings for both safety and aesthetics. When adding a porch, you can increase the overall safety of your home by including the addition of motion sensor lights in your overall plan.
Beyond the motion lighting, it’s important to consider what sort of lighting your new addition may block. You don’t want your porch to block the sunshine from coming into your kitchen or living room. This may help you decide what style of porch you want and whether or not you may forgo covering it altogether.
Stone Paver Porch
If land is at a premium, you may want to consider simply transforming some of your current yard space rather than building a raised porch. Create a welcoming space by replacing grass with rustic stone pavers. Lay out the design in advance so you know what pattern you want to create. You can use paper to stand in for each paver to make sure you don’t lose the big vision once you start working. After the stones are laid, the real fun can begin. Find a charming bistro table and chairs, add color and fragrance with potted plants and herbs, and finish it all off with string lights or outdoor candles.
Curtained Wood Porch
Not all wooden decks need to be huge. This intimate space may be small, but the well-placed furniture, bright pillows and privacy curtain make it feel like a secret backyard oasis. By using a curtain instead of a permanent wall, it’s easy to expand the space. Simply open the curtain and welcome in the rest of your yard. This also provides a similar feel to a pergola, but with half the work.
White Back Porch
This porch creates the illusion of space by sticking to a neutral, white palette throughout. The white paint and the addition of the outdoor rug helps give the space a continual feel and the illusion that the space is bigger than it really is. Décor is kept to a minimum – just a few potted plants and an oar – which keeps the small area from feeling crowded or cramped. And the addition of the candle chandelier adds height that expands the porch heavenward.
Private Backyard Bench
The key to maximizing space in this stylish porch is the clever use of a built-in bench. Double one of your porch’s barriers – either a railing or a privacy screen – as a comfy place to sit and sip a lemonade. By eliminating the need to bring in chairs, you’ll make the most of even the tightest outdoor space. A consistent color scheme ties everything together and the addition of dramatic potted plants will transform even a city porch into a verdant jungle.
Pergola Bonus Room
Add an extra room to your house with a darling pergola. You can raise your deck and pergola as seen here, or build a pergola right on a paver or rock foundation. By not raising the pergola, you save yourself from having to deal with the addition of stairs and a railing. Pergolas are perfect for defining your outdoor area, and are structured enough to feel like a room without being constrictive. Adding special touches like drapes and overhead lighting invites guests to linger long after the sun goes down.
Smart Steps Everyone Should Take Before Building
- Call the utility company and request help identifying where gas, power and water lines are buried.
- Complete a home security checklist to ensure your new addition doesn’t compromise your home’s security.
- Stake and paint the area where you plan to build. Use spray paint or landscaper’s paint to make sure your patio goes in exactly where you want it.
- Decide the height you want for your finished patio. Make sure it’s slightly above any surrounding ground so you don’t end up with standing water from rain or sprinklers.
- Keep weeds from breaking through by laying down heavy-grade weed cloth before adding gravel and sand to your foundation.
No matter the size of your home or the limits on your outdoor space, it’s possible to create a back porch you’ll enjoy for years. With so many great options out there, the toughest part of your whole project just might be narrowing down which kind of porch you want.