Nothing says easy living better than your front porch.
But that doesn’t mean you have to go light on style. Your porch is your opening statement, where you make a first impression for your home and the hospitality within.
For fresh ideas for designing a delightful porch, we looked no further than local design and landscape experts Leggy Bird Designs and Craig Bergmann and Linda Hewitt, both of Craig Bergmann Landscape Design. Here are their best tips:
Keep it clean. Start with a good thorough cleaning and keep it up. Choose indoor/outdoor fabrics and furniture that will withstand the elements and keep up appearances.
Think day and night. A well-designed porch should serve you equally well for an afternoon siesta, a cocktail hour and a late-night card game. String lights for a festive nighttime feel, and lots of candles in hurricanes for an added glow.
Choose comfortable seating. While a swing is always a classic addition to any porch, make comfort and conversation a priority. Group seating to encourage conversation. Include enough table space for setting drinks and snacks, a backgammon board or card pile.
Make it beautiful. There are so many beautiful indoor/outdoor fabrics today – from vibrant solids to playful patterns. Regardless of your design aesthetic (vintage or modern), you’ll find durable textiles and rugs to fill your space and cover your floor. Make sure to pick fabrics that don’t just look good but feel good to the skin.
Accessorize with authentic treasures. Bergmann recommends introducing objects that have lost their usefulness in the garden (old planters, an aged wheelbarrow, anything fragile or needing protection from the sun) and turning them into distinctly stylish furnishings and containers.
Plan for the weather. Add a ceiling fan to keep the air moving on still summer nights. Conversely, since open flame is an obvious hazard to a covered porch, keep a few throws on hand (cotton or linen feel best against bare summer skin).
Entertain your options. Use your porch as an extension of your entertaining space. Dress up your table with treasured table linens, china and crystal usually reserved for the dining room. Move some of your favorite indoor entertaining pieces, like a bar cart or sideboard, outside for the event. Hang curtains, string lights and even a candle chandelier.
Leave technology indoors. There’s no better spot to listen to Mother Nature’s music, crickets chirping, leaves rustling, breezes blowing. And remember, nothing says hillbilly faster than a TV on your porch.
Make your own porch. Even if your home doesn’t sport a porch, create the same cozy atmosphere by building a pergola over your patio.
Experiment with Mother Nature. Plant choice is important on the porch, particularly when it comes to maintenance, performance and sensory value since your porch is a close extension of your living space.
- If your porch is off the kitchen, there’s no better spot for a large pot filled with fresh herbs and lettuces.
- Move beyond wave petunias for your hanging baskets. Bergmann loves Tillandsia (air plants), or ferns in unusual containers like silver orbs.
- Introduce a wide variety of unusual plants in either a riot of mixed color, complimentary hues or monochromatic tones.
- Fill an old wire baker’s rack with geraniums in the new neon colors (hot pink, vibrant orange).
- If you seek formality, try boxwood shaped as topiary, spirals and globes in classic iron urns. Vary the number and height, or add other wonderful and unexpected topiary such as fuchsia and coleus.
- Plant something delicious smelling outside the door like honeysuckle or lilacs. Place scented geraniums where the wind will waft the scent.
- Plant a shallow bowl with succulents, adding visual texture and color without a lot of maintenance.