Enjoying the outdoors from the comfort of your own property combines the best of both worlds! As you design that back porch area to be the absolute best, you’ll need to consider quite a few elements that will determine its functionality, durability, safety, comfort and style! The following tips will help you through that deliberation so that your end result is a porch you won’t want to leave.
Take the opportunity to give your exterior’s design a makeover! Modern trends are exciting and unique, using different materials, colors and features to create a look that you may love, but may not have thought of before! Browns and yellows are antiquated for both interiors and exteriors—instead, high contrast is the new go-to! Whites offset by accent black pieces or vice versa create a visually fresh and sophisticated look. Plus, you can add (and change at any time) an accent color that will stand out boldly from the black and white backdrop.
This area is constantly exposed to the elements, which can cause some substantial damage if the materials used aren’t durable enough to withstand those forces. Quality should be a priority! For your base, concrete is the strongest, most easily maintained material available. Concrete’s lifespan is much longer than that of wood, vinyl, turf or stone, but does not offer the same visual appeal that those materials do! Identify whatever weather patterns affect your geographic location most and then determine what level of durability your porch’s material needs while accounting for the aesthetic plans of the space. Once your base is covered, move onto the siding, any railing, windows and even ceilings!
Outside your home is also “home” to countless bugs and critters. While they are very “out of sight, out of mind” while you enjoy your indoors, they become painfully and frustratingly apparent as soon as you try to enjoy your backyard! Thankfully, there are ways to keep these pests at bay, which not only protects your comfort (and sanity) but your home itself! The simplest of these ways is to clean up any spills and crumbs that are a huge attraction to bugs. The next measure for warding off pests is smells: herbs, flowers, and essential oils all produce strong smells that you may love, but those pests will hate. If those don’t quite do the job, even stronger smells like citronella, hydrogen peroxide and even mouthwash can be used as barrier smells!
Of course, the main function of your porch is to provide you with some comfort! It therefore becomes important to choose furniture pieces (couches, chairs, benches, etc) that are not only comfortable but long-lasting! The elements that can damage the base material of your porch can also damage whatever is on it. In addition to choosing durable furniture, take measures to protect it. For example, sunlight can damage wood furniture, so you should keep it in the shade. For this aspect of your porch, comfort may be a priority but you will be grateful for pieces that last!
You may feel more inclined to enjoy your outdoor area during the warmer months of the year. However, on especially warm days that porch won’t be as appealing unless you have some sort of cooling measures! Invest in good shading and air circulation! Pergolas are a popular way to add some shade, as well as oversized umbrellas, shade screens, canopies, gazebos, pavilions, and roof extensions! Ceiling fans and standing fans are also a great way to help with air flow that will do wonders for cooling down your porch, keeping it a relaxing place when the weather threatens otherwise.
Let your relaxation time extend into the evening when the sun goes down! Install enough lighting fixtures to allow sufficient light. There are a wide variety of ways you can use lighting to add to the design of your backyard! Light your walkways, hang lanterns, line your yard with torches, or string those ever-favorite and ever-loved Christmas lights along fences, columns or the ceiling. Make lighting both a creative addition and a functional one for your use of the back patio.
Spend some time nurturing and designing your yard itself. A pleasant porch is much less pleasant if it’s surrounded by dead foliage, dry surfaces and a lack of color. You can make this area as simple or as complex as you want; just keep it healthy and happy and usable for yard activities! Consider using plants that are native to your area, as they will thrive without needing much help at all. Flowers, of course, add a splash of color that visitors (and yourself) are sure to enjoy. If you enjoy gardening, consider adding a garden bed or box to your space that will also add some color as well as providing you with a fruitful reward! Basic care will be enough to create a space you like to look at and be in.
One of the most fun aspects of back porch design is investing in a fun, creative or unique feature or two! What are you passionate about? What kind of things relax you best? Consider things that you and guests can enjoy consistently. This may also be an opportunity to demonstrate those things you love! If you’re a chef (or simply a food-lover), add a grill or smoker to a corner of your space and enjoy all the delicious products of outdoor cooking! A projector and screen for the movie fanatic, a pool for the energetic or a jacuzzi for the comfort-seeking—anything that draws you out of your house again and again for a fun time that you won’t find anywhere else. You might also consider what special features you could add to the aesthetic, like a stone walkway or a water feature. Choose something you will love and enjoy, all the time!
The perfect porch for you should be a combination of what you most enjoy seeing, feeling, and doing. Implement some of these tips to get you that backyard-relaxation-spot you can use all the time!
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