At Structurally Speaking, we love helping homeowners turn their outdoor living space dreams into reality. We can help you refine your sunroom, enclosed porch, deck, or covered back porch ideas to create the perfect design for your family. When you work with our team, you can rest assured that you will absolutely love the new addition to your home.
The Benefits of an Outdoor Living Space
Here in North Carolina, you can enjoy an outdoor living space during most months of the year. Even in the dead of winter, we tend to have some mild days. So, if you live here in the Triangle, you’re going to get a lot of use out of your porch, deck, or sunroom. Here are a few other benefits you may not have considered:
This is a Great Investment
Studies show that building an outdoor space is one of the best ways to invest your money if you’re looking to make home improvements. Someday, when you sell your home, you’ll be able to sell it faster and get a higher sale price. Here is a list of some of the top outdoor improvements to make if you want to see a return on investment.
Your Party Will Have More Space
An outdoor space is perfect for entertaining, even if you need to be cautious. Social distancing is easier and a small gathering is safer when you are outside. Even after we no longer need to social distance for health reasons, no one likes a crowded party. If you love to host, having an outdoor space like a covered porch or enclosed porch gives you room to invite more people.
Adding a Porch or Sunroom Gives You Flexibility
This space can act as a second living room, office, breakfast nook, etc. The possibilities are endless. Your family will love having space to spread out and use the porch in the way that makes the most sense for them. Our porch design options offer flexibility.
Porches Offer Protection
A back porch can help you enjoy your yard in ways a deck does not. Even when it is raining or even snowing, you can enjoy time on your porch. It also provides shade when the sun gets too hot. If you enclose your porch or opt for a sunroom instead, you also have a protection from mosquitos.
A Porch Offers Options for Plants
If you have a green thumb (or an aspiring green thumb), a porch or sunroom is the perfect place for potted plants. You can more easily control the sun/shade and water your plants receive with a covered porch.
Your Kids and Pets Have a Safe Place to Play
Porches offer a playroom option for kids and pets that is a bit safer than most backyards. Even if your yard is fenced, you may not feel comfortable with your kids playing outside alone. A porch is a great stepping stone so they can enjoy time outside without fully leaving the house.
These are just a few of the benefits of adding a porch or sunroom to your home. Different families find various benefits depending on individual needs. For example, maybe you have a teen who really wants to enjoy a sleeping porch in the summer. Or, maybe you and your spouse love to sit on the porch to watch the sunset after a long day at work. The sky is really the limit.
The Structurally Speaking Process
If you feel confused about your outdoor living space options, don’t worry. You are not alone! Most homeowners feel overwhelmed trying to choose the best option for their budget. That’s why we guide you through the process from start to finish.
We’ll create a custom design for your covered back porch or other outdoor space. This process starts with an initial consultation. During the consultation, you’ll sit down with Structurally Speaking’s owner, Jim Brennan, to discuss your specific covered back porch ideas and needs. Yes, Jim oversees every design consultation and the entire process. You get individualized attention and a custom design, not a cookie cutter outdoor space.
We meet some clients who know exactly what they want and others who have no idea. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless, Jim will show you multiple examples and ask all the right questions to understand what you want and need in your new porch.
From there, Jim will design options and schedule a design presentation. At the design presentation, you’ll get to review what Jim believes will be the best options for your home and lifestyle. At this point, you can still change your mind. There is no obligation, and we can make tweaks to your porch design. If you aren’t happy, we aren’t happy.
Once we nail down the design together, we’ll start the building process. Once again, Jim oversees the construction part of the project. We don’t subcontract the work to a team that doesn’t understand the design or cuts corners to get done more quickly. Jim ensures that the design pops from the paper to real life so you can enjoy your beautiful backyard complete with new porch.
Are Sunrooms and Three-Season Rooms Better than Porches?
As we walk you through the design options, you might be wondering if a porch is really the best choice. Along with porches, we also build sunrooms and three-season rooms (also sometimes called three-season sunrooms or three-season porches). The truth is that it just depends on your goal for this new outdoor living space.
Adding a sunroom is like adding a room to your home. They might have a wall of windows, but they also have heating and cooling. It’s the most functional option, even during the coldest days of winter and hottest days of summer. That said, a sunroom feels least like an outdoor space and is also typically the most expensive option.
A three-season room is like a sunroom, but typically does not have built-in heating and cooling, beyond a ceiling fan in some cases. They do provide a lot of protection from the elements, but you may not be able to enjoy these rooms year-round. Unlike an enclosed porch, these spaces are typically larger and have floor-to-ceiling windows or screens. However, many people use these terms interchangeably, which can be confusing. That’s why we’re so heavily involved with the design and construction process. We want to make sure you get exactly what you want, regardless of the terms you use to describe your vision.
Both traditional sunrooms and three-season rooms offer more benefits than a simply covered porch. However, these options are a bigger undertaking as well, requiring a bigger budget, more planning, and more space. Jim can talk to you more about all your outdoor room options during your consultation.
Enclosing Your Back Porch
If you already have a back porch, we can help you enclose it using windows or screens. In both cases, enclosing your porch can make it more functional. We can also add other features such as blinds, a ceiling fan, or even an outdoor fireplace.
But is enclosing your back porch the best option for your family?
First, consider how you currently use your porch. Enclosing your porch, especially if you choose screens instead of glass, can obstruct your view slightly. Some people also like the more open feel for a normal back porch.
However, it’s also important to think about how you could use the porch in different ways once it is enclosed. An enclosed space has more options. You can use a space heater or fans to control the temperature slightly. The windows/screens also prevent bugs from crashing the party. Most homeowners find that an enclosed porch is more functional.
If you’re not sure which option is right for you, Jim can walk you through the pros and cons during your consultation. Additionally, we can show you porch design examples so you can envision how a screened porch might look on your home.
Keep in mind that you don’t need an existing porch or to add an enclosed porch to your home. We can upgrade your back porch or wraparound porch, but we also have experience with porch construction. Our team can build your porch from scratch. We can also build a traditional non-enlcosed porch that could be upgraded to an enclosed porch later.
Covering a Deck
Instead of a traditional porch, you may instead wish to build a covered deck or cover you existing deck. A covered deck may or may not have railing like a porch. You can cover just part of your deck or cover the entire deck.
The first option is an awning, which attaches to your house. Awnings are typically made from fabric. They are low-cost while still looking great. Some awnings can be raised and lowered to meet the needs of the day while others are permanently raised.
Another option is to install a pergola. With a pergola, you get protection from the sun without blocking out the sun completely. Pergolas are a great choice if you like to garden, since you can easy train climbing plants to grow on the pergola. This provides even more shade over time.
We can also build a full pavilion over your existing deck. Pavilions provide a roof with full protection from the sun and rain. We don’t recommend this option if you enjoy using a fire pit on your deck. However, we can incorporate an outdoor fireplace instead if you want a fire feature that is safe to use under a roof.
Indoor/Outdoor Combination Spaces
If your head is spinning with the options and you don’t know which to choose, don’t worry. You also have the option to incorporate multiple ideas into a design for a true indoor/outdoor space. For example, maybe you want to enclose part of your porch, but have it lead to a traditional open porch. Or maybe you want a sunroom that leads out to a deck.
Because we design each porch to perfectly suit your needs, you don’t have to choose from a handful of pre-fabricated solutions. Your indoor/outdoor space will be fully customized to meet your needs.
We’ll also help you determine what porch size works best for your home. We look at how you intend to use the space, the size of your house, and the size of your backyard. Even a small porch can add a lot of pizazz to your home.
Top Decorating Tips – Covered Back Porch Ideas to Maximize Your New Space
Before you decorate your new back porch, we have to build it. However, to get a head start, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:
- Remember to use outdoor fabrics for pillows, seat cushions, curtains, etc. This type of fabric won’t fade as quickly in the sun and may be resistant to mold and mildew.
- An outdoor rug can make the space look cozy . It also helps to prevent your family from tracking mud and dirt into the house.
- Think about storage for some basic outdoor items, such as outdoor toys and smaller gardening supplies.
- Provide lighting in areas that will need it most. An enclosed porch will get a lot of sunlight. However, you’ll still need task lighting during the day.
- Add plants to help bring the outdoors into your home. Many plants do well in pots, especially if they’ll be getting a lot of sun, as is the case with a porch. You can even successfully grow some species of trees in pots.
If you have decor ideas that you want us to incorporate into your design, just let us know. We are happy to include an outdoor kitchen, built-in outdoor furniture, water features, fire features, special pavers, built-in planters, and more. Our goal is to create a beautiful backyard oasis that you use every day.
Book your free consultation now by filling out the form above.