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Decks, Porches and Patios

Outdoor Living

Decks, porches, and patios can add another element of enjoyment to your home. By drawing homeowners outdoors they appreciate the beauty, expanding your home’s living space, and rejuvenate the senses.  The hustle and bustle of life especially when working in the city calls for families to get back to nature.  If you think you need to wait for vacation plans think again!  Here are some wonderful ideas to help enjoy your backyard living space every day.

Porch Peace

The necessity of porches has diminished over the years with the advent of air conditioning.  In days-gone-by screened porches were constructed to offer a respite from the heat inside the home with the airiness of open walls.  Families and friends gathered on the porch to enjoy time together.  Those called “sleeping porches” afforded families the opportunity to beat the heat by enjoying a night’s sleep in the cool evening breeze.  Screened porches also inhibited the annoyance of pesky bugs that one finds sitting in the backyard.

Are porches passé`? I say “no”.  Many homeowners are looking for landscaped and manicured lawns or woodsy private forests to settle among.  The beauty of natural surroundings cannot be surpassed by even the finest décor.  In a time where folks are rushing everywhere with tight schedules, the beauty of nature offers a feeling of peace and tranquility.  Of course, you can pull up a lawn chair and sit in the grass. Most do not find this an attractive option trading the hectic pace of the day with swatting mosquitoes and dangerous UV rays.

sleeping bed for covered porch

Decks, Porch and Patio Design

wood paneled vaulted ceiling porch

Several things to keep in mind when planning are the height of the ceiling and floor.  Your porch floor should be level with the adjacent room.  This will offer continuity and accessibility, also minimizing the danger of accidents.  Consider using maintenance-free materials to reduce upkeep as porches will suffer from weather elements such as snow and sun.  The choices for these materials are amazing and look like wood.  Choosing rails that are also easy to maintain is a breeze.  See choices for deck and porch rails in our post, Deck Railing Designs.

Constructing a higher porch ceiling creates a brighter more open feel.  When contemplating your porch realize that an 8ft ceiling will work for an 8ft deep porch, but will look low on a 14ft deep porch.  Covered porches can reduce the amount of daylight entering the adjacent room.  So if an overall higher ceiling isn’t possible, the use of a vaulted ceiling could be a feasible solution. A vaulted ceiling angles upward from one side to create a feeling of openness.  Another option is the addition of skylights.  This is especially important if the ceiling of the adjacent room is higher than the porch ceiling.  Skylights can boost the amount of daylight to the porch and bounce more light into the house.

Are you considering designing or updating your porch? The ceiling might seem like an afterthought, but this aspect of your porch can make a major impact on its overall appearance. For ideas of styles to consider as you plan your outdoor porch check out our blog post, Outdoor Porch Ceiling Ideas.

Decks & Patios

Outdoor living spaces such as decks and patios can also expand the square feet of your home.  These spaces are less costly to build than a covered porch.  Many decks can be constructed from maintenance-free materials such as Trex makes upkeep easy.

The addition of a deck is more involved than designing a concrete or stone patio as it is tied into the framing of the home. The beauty of a patio versus a deck is that most require relatively no maintenance as they are built of concrete, brick, or stone.  Another plus is the ability to have a fire pit that can be built-in by your contractor. There are fire pits that can be purchased and require no installation.  Firepits come in all shapes and sizes and are available in your local hardware store.  This is a transportable and mobile option that can be elaborate to rustic and can sit on the patio or in the grass. Chimineas are a popular and attractive option, which is an outdoor fireplace that has a short chimney and is also transportable and mobile. They can be made from metal or clay.

Decks can be built as large and elaborate or as small and private as your imagination and space allow.   A deck running the length of the home with a view of your property can provide each room access through glass doors expanding each room’s view.    Do you have a well-landscaped backyard, view of the water, or property adjacent to a wooded area?  Are you looking for a tranquil and meditative space?  Having a deck allows for viewing the open sky, stars, moon, and sun stretching your canvas as far as the eye can see.