Here at Structurally Speaking, our porch design and construction team has helped homeowners throughout North Carolina create the outdoor living space of their dreams. Suffice it to say, we’ve learned a thing or two over the years about good porch design! When thinking about what you want in a new porch, here are five tips to keep in mind.
Consider Traffic Flow for Your Outdoor Space Design
Like all areas of your home, your family will quickly become frustrated in an outdoor space if it has poor traffic flow. These are some common issues:
- An outdoor kitchen or grill that isn’t convenient to access from your indoor kitchen
- Too many small seating areas without room for everyone
- Having to walk around obstacles
- Doors that open in an inconvenient direction
- Areas where it is easy to run into people (like tight corners)
- Stairs that lead away from the action
- A confusing layout
- Inconvenient walkways
This isn’t a full list, but it will get you started thinking about the layout for your porch, deck, and/or sunroom. When we design an outdoor living space, the traffic flow is at the forefront of our mind. We want your space to be as functional as possible.
Maximize Use with Multiple Outdoor Areas
Your porch doesn’t have to be the only outdoor space you and your family enjoy. We can design a porch that leads to a beautiful deck or an indoor/outdoor space such as an enclosed porch or sunroom. We can also add on a hot tub deck if you want an ultimate relaxation zone.
Even your porch alone can have multiple areas or zones. For example, you might want a small nook where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a great view, along with a second larger seating area for family meals. We’ll make sure that traffic flow makes sense, while also making the most of the space.
Keep Your Outdoor Space Beautiful All Year Long with Smart Design
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when building their outdoor living spaces is not considering how they’ll use the space throughout the year. The weather might be perfect for grilling right now. However, will you use the space when we hit colder temperatures in the fall and winter? What about when it is raining? Is your new porch still useful during the hottest part of summer?
We look at the position of your porch in regards to the sun to make sure there is adequate shade when you need it. You have multiple options for shade, including roofs/pavilions, pergolas, and awnings. Additionally, we can design areas that are screened-in or even cooled/heated to make the space functional during most of the year. With good porch design and construction, you’ll get the most bang for your buck. After all, you don’t want to only use your new porch on the handful of “perfect weather” days we get every year.
Design Your Space with Maintenance in Mind
You have multiple options for materials to build your new outdoor space. One question we’ll ask you during your initial consultation is this: How much maintenance do you want to do?
Some materials have lower upfront costs, but you’ll pay more every year in maintenance. Other materials are the reverse. Of course, it’s not just about cost; you also want the material you choose to match your personal aesthetic and the look of your home. At the same time, if you absolutely hate outdoor work, you’ll want to choose a material that doesn’t require you to sacrifice your precious free time to keep it looking beautiful.
This article can get you started with learning about material options. During your initial consultation and design presentation, we’ll go into more detail about the options that will work best for you.
Remember, Your Porch Should Reflect Your Specific Needs
The Structurally Speaking team designs and builds custom decks because custom designs are the best options for homeowners. Cookie-cutter designs rarely meet the needs of homeowners. With a custom option, you’ll get the exact outdoor space that works best for your family.
Our owner, Jim, designs every porch and is extremely involved with the construction process. He has decades of experience designing custom options and can help you consider design elements that weren’t previously on your radar. For example, do you want multiple levels for your outdoor space? Are you interested in built-in features such as planters or benches? Do you need outdoor storage space? How big should your new porch be?
The answers to these questions vary from family to family. No two porches we build are exactly the same because no two families are exactly the same.
FAQs about Porch Design and Construction
When you work with our team, you can ask us any question that pops into your head. We’ll explain the entire process of porch design and construction from start to finish. No question is too big or small. Here are some of the most common questions we get:
Do I need a permit or license to build a porch or deck?
It depends on where you live. Most cities and many counties do require certain paperwork if you are building a new structure, but this may change if you are building a screened porch from an existing porch or building a patio instead of a deck. We’re extremely well-versed in the requirements throughout the Triangle area.
Do I need permission from my homeowner’s association to build a deck or porch?
Again, it depends. Some homeowner’s associations only require permission if you are building onto the front of your house. Others require permission for all building projects. We are experienced with dealing with homeowner’s associations and are confident we can get permission for your new porch with no problems.
Is my backyard big enough for a porch or deck?
Most backyards are big enough, but the size of your new outdoor living space will depend on the space you have available. We can get creative if you don’t have a large space.
Do you have more questions about building a new porch or other outdoor living space? Contact us today to set up a free no-strings-attached consultation.