Home Sweet Home – Part 13 – The Perfect Porch

The Perfect Porch

It’s no secret that outdoor living is all the rage in housing. But how do you make each space a special place to spend time in? So let’s spend a brief moment talking about basic dimensions and the overall feel of both front and back porch living.

Perfect porch

The Front Porch

A front porch is a semi-public, outdoor living space. It needs to be deep enough to be usable, 6′ at a minimum but 8′ preferred. The relationship to the sidewalk is critical. The elevation adds a degree of separation without a visual barrier. A handrail helps to define the space. The distance from the sidewalk is also critical. If there was a garage, driveway and a 15′ utility easement between the front porch and the sidewalk, the activity of the street would be lost. During the pandemic this is the perfect spot to be socially distanced from your neighbor without wearing a mask.

The Back Porch

Unlike the on-display front porch, the back porch offers a more private experience. A place wear you can enjoy your morning coffee still in your PJ’s. The trend has been for this private outdoor living to grow into three distance functions: lounging, cooking and dining. Back porches tend to be deeper – 10′ to 12′ or more.

Hidden away from the activity on the street to watch, we can add TV’s and fireplaces to back porches. The cooking is actually grilling and that can happen on the back porch or beyond in the backyard. You need to be mindful of the heat and smoke that comes with grilling making the backyard a nice alternative when space is limited – except of course when it rains.

Porch with TV Porch with outdoor kitchen

A New Trend

The next awesome trend is opening up the interior of the home to the back porch including disappearing stacking sliding glass door to accordion doors. In many climates this usually requires the porch to be screened so the house and porch don’t fill with flies and mosquitos. I wouldn’t advise completely opening up your house to your front porch. I’d also caution against grilling on the front porch unless you bought enough food for hungry neighbors passing by – otherwise, that’s just cruel!

Porch with disappearing doors

Porches are not a new concept, but they have become big selling points in a hot markets. When incorporating them in a home, it’s important to consider how these spaces will be used. Think outside the box and consider how to make each space memorable and inviting.

Adapted from Housing Design Matters Blog