Tips on Getting a Porch
In the summer a porch will extend the living space into the garden. A porch is the perfect place for enjoying your garden during the warm seasons of the year. It blurs the boundaries between inside and outside perfectly but to make sure that your enjoyment of this garden room is not dampened by anything you should consider the following points.
Planning of the Porch
Ask yourself what purpose you want your porch to serve. Do you want to use it for sun bathing, for cosy meals with the family or barbecues with friends? Maybe you’re thinking about turning it into a play area for the kids? Flick or browse through some home and garden magazines, photos websites to get inspired and get an idea of what you want the result to look like.
It’s important that you know what you want otherwise you might realise too late that there just isn’t enough space for your grill or you parasol. A great side effect of planning ahead is the fact that you’ll gain knowledge of what kind of style your porch will have.
Location of the Porch
Your chosen function will also determine the porch’s location. A sun worshipper will want the porch south of the house so that he or she can bathe in the sun all day long. A west facing porch won’t be in the sun all day but you will be able to enjoy the warm evening light for as long as possible. It is thus ideal for enjoying the late afternoon and evening hours with a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
If you want a lovely outdoor space for having breakfast in the sunshine then your porch should be in the east. A north facing one should not be discarded either if the house doesn’t allow for anything else. Its advantage: In the summer you’ll get sunlight in the morning and the evening while it offers cooling shade during the day. So our tip for planning: whatever place you choose for your porch, test it out by sitting there during different times of the day. That way you will be aware of any trees or nice views that might need to be considered.
Size of the Porch
Regardless of how you want to use your porch later on: be generous with the space allocated to it. Your porch will be small and your anger great when furniture end up barring the way into your garden and every movement you make means that you bump into something. You don’t want to land on your lawn the moment you move your chair back from the table. Chairs should be at least one metre away from the porch edge.
So even if you are planning a cosy, dinky porch it should at least measure 3 x 3 metres. If your garden is very small then make a point of having a large part of it being a porch and don’t shy away from it. If you have a very large terrace you should be aware of the fact that during the winter months it might look quite empty since all furniture will have been packed away. You will have to get creative with plants and decorations to keep it interesting during the cold months.
Look of the Porch
A fantastic porch-style is the natural look. To achieve it you can use shrubs, perennials, low-maintenance furniture and a wooden or natural stone floor. A close-by garden pond brings in the element of water and improves the microclimate on a hot, sunny day. Furniture look best when wooden or made from aluminium or stainless steel.
It’s particularly cunning to include colours or other elements from the inside when decorating your porch. Once you open the door in the summer to step onto your porch you will have beautifully fused the inside and outside world.
Furniture for the Porch
Seating arrangements are important for any porch. They allow you to sit down, relax, eat and spend great time with friends. So make sure that you have enough chairs available and that the table is big enough. If you can’t do without plenty of sun then you will also need a deckchair to fully enjoy the rays. A simple rule applies when choosing garden furniture: get the more expensive set. It might be slightly higher in price but they also tend to be much more durable.
Furnish your porch with what you need. Outdoor kitchens might be all the rage at the moment but will you really be using it? If you are the romantic type then you can create the right atmosphere with a cast-iron rose arch whereas a modern feeling can be created with very straight-lined furniture rounded off with comfortable cushions.
Natural Stone, Wood or Tiles
There is a big selection of porch floors to choose from: natural stone, wood, tiles or concrete? Wood has the advantage that it doesn’t heat up too much in the sun so you can walk on it barefoot even in the middle of the summer. Wood has a natural, gentle look when compared to stone. It doesn’t have to be wood from the rain forest. Eco-friendly alternatives are locust and larch timber.
Stone and tiles have the advantage that they are extremely durable and very easy to care for. You can arrange them in all sorts of different ways to create a variety of patterns and the wide range of colours makes it even more versatile. In winter or when it is raining these kind of floors can get very slippery though so make sure you purchase non-slip material.
Lights and Weather Protection
Whether you have stone or wooden floor, the heat will still come from the sun up in the sky. That’s why suitable sun protection is important. Classic solutions include porch roofs and sun shades and of course a large parasol. If you prefer a natural shade-giver then plant a tree nearby or let climbing plants go up your porch roof.
On a porch, lanterns are particularly atmospheric but wall lamps and spotlights can also create a beautiful light. If you don’t have electricity in your garden and you don’t require much light then solar lights are a great alternative. Make sure that you get a warm white light to make it cosy and highlight the great parts of your garden.