Home Design - Which Outdoor Space Fits Your Lifestyle?

Home Design- Which Outdoor Space Fits Your Lifestyle?

One of the most flexible areas in your home, the porch presents an unmatched opportunity to add comfortable, customizable space with plenty of outdoor exposure. The wide variety of home design types means you can pick the porch with the perfect personality for your home. Which of these spaces meets your needs?

Uncovered porch: True to its name, uncovered porches simply aren't covered by the roof. Depending on the home design, an uncovered porch can be a great fit; the lack of a roof tends to put the emphasis on the steps, which can lend a sense of grandeur to a house with two or more stories. Open porches like these benefit from plants that will thrive with the 24/7 exposure to sun and rain alike, as well as retractable awnings for occasions that demand shade.

Covered porch:  Extending the roof onto the porch helps moderate the temperature and weather conditions on the porch by

blocking sun and precipitation, though the lack of walls means the porch will still get the most foot traffic when temperatures are moderate and the weather is clear. With this type of porch, consider adding swings or a dining set for shaded relaxation.

Screened porch:  This popular, highly customizable porch style encloses the entire porch with screens to create an outdoor room that's usually placed in the backyard. Options include knee walls or rails, cathedral or flat ceilings, skylights, beams, finished trim and gable, shed or hip roofs. They offer a cool space to gather in the summer, but cooler seasons won't be comfortable when the wind can easily penetrate the screens.

Four seasons porch: A four seasons porch takes the basic utility of a screened porch and adds sliding glass windows or removable window panels to keep out chilly seasonal winds. In effect, the four seasons porch becomes an extension of the home. Add insulation to the ceiling or knee walls for added comfort, and be sure to rotate in furnishings that complement each season. A space heater and comfortable throw blankets ensure space is perfectly cozy in winter, while fans will be a welcome addition to move air around in spring and summer.

Sunroom:  Built as a complete structure, sunrooms are either attached or fully integrated into the home design. They typically utilize either large windows or a wall of glass, but unlike four seasons porches, the glass surroundings stay in place year-round to provide all-year use. These rooms are typically the most popular ones in the house thanks to the considerable amount of natural light they receive, so if you opt for a sunroom, consider adding HVAC to make it more comfortable.

Combination space:  Can't find a porch type that fits perfectly? Consider a design that combines features to create a space that fits your needs. For example, a sunroom doesn't typically have a glass ceiling like a solarium would, but adding a skylight like the kind you might find on a screened porch brings in extra light from the ceiling. Collapsible or removable screens add extra flexibility to sunrooms or four seasons porches.

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