Converting a Patio to Open Porch

In life, it doesn’t always make sense to start from scratch with something. Working and enhancing what you have will sometimes provide you with the best end result. That was the case with this project from our patio and deck builder in Greensboro.

patio in GreensboroThis home in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina had a large patio off the back. As you can see, it was a raised patio that was accessible from many parts of the house. It had an area for an outdoor dining room and an outdoor living room. However, the homeowners didn’t feel they were getting much use out of it. They felt it would be better for them if the space had a roof.

Archadeck of the Piedmont Triad’s John Mallard was brought in to design and build the open porch. The existing patio was in good shape structurally, and it would be extremely costly for the homeowners to start anew. Instead, John suggested adding on to what was already there. The space and flow of the layout works well, all it needed was a roof structure.

covered porch GreensboroThe existing brick retaining walls called for the perfect spots to add some columns to support the roof. Only four were needed for the entire space. For the roof, John suggested a few design details to make the space interesting, usable and light. The horizontal beams of the roof were left visible in the space. By simply painting them white, it added a unique design detail that could be appreciated by the family. To me, it also make it cozy.

Open Porch GreensboroOutdoor ceiling fans were added over the dining and coffee tables of the space. While open porches provide shade and a cooler space to relax than out in the sun, they still can be warm, especially in North Carolina. Those fans can go a long way in making the space more comfortable.

Light can be an issue with any covered area, especially one as large as this. Shade is key, but when the sun is blocked, it not only impacts the porch, but also the rooms inside that it is connected to. To allow for more sunlight to come in, John did two things. First, he did not attach the roof structure to the home on the sides. There is still space between the roof of the home and the roof of the porch, allowing light to come down and into the space. Secondly, skylights were placed right above the doors to the main living spaces to the home, allowing more light to come through the glass.

The existing patio of this project was nice, but by enhancing it just a little bit, it is now absolutely beautiful. If you have questions on how you can improve your outdoor living spaces, please reach out to your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.

What to Invest in and what to DIY in your Outdoor Living Space

The best outdoor living spaces provide for just that, living outdoors. But with home and property obligations, it can be too expensive to have the best of everything from the beginning. We’re often asked what to invest in and what you can wait to save for. Well, here are thoughts and some ideas to make your space look fantastic without spending the big bucks.

When it comes to saving your dollars and investing in the outdoor spaces of your home, you definitely want to invest in the actual structure. While you can switch out furnishing relatively easily, you can’t do that with a deck, porch, patio, screened in porch or sunroom. You also want to know that whatever you have is built to code and will last for years.

If you are looking to add on smaller structures, like an outdoor kitchen, fire pit or fireplace, this is something we also suggest investing in because it will add value to the space and be there for a long time. Anything this isn’t mobile, we suggest investing in.

In terms of furnishings, this is where you can save in some areas and spend in others. If you are going to spend over a few hundred dollars, make sure that you absolutely love it and it will last. When my husband and I were looking for a new outdoor dining table, for instance, we set a threshold. We said if we were going to go over $XXX dollars, it had to be great quality and something we both loved. Below that, we could consider purchasing knowing that we may upgrade in a few years.

The smaller items in your outdoor living space are great places to save and create some easy Do it Yourself pieces. Here are some ideas that are cost effective, but also chic…

iStock_000004874324XSmallPlant it in something unique. Anyone can go into a home improvement store, buy some planters or pots and plant some flowers in it. Some homeowners however may want something a little more special. Look for things that can function as a planter, but have some visual interest. My aunt has a birdbath on her property that she didn’t want birds in (too many mosquitoes) but was too beautiful to get rid of, so she planted some herbs in it. I’ve also seen people plant in old wheelbarrows like this one.

Don’t forget about the pots. Just because planting in a terracotta pot may be predictable, doesn’t mean you can’t use them in your space. They are great bases for side tables. You can either flip it upside-down and place a piece of Plexiglas on top or sit it upright and do the same thing. If you keep it upright, you can also add something special in it, like shells or sea glass. Pots are also great ways to add color into the space. They not only are available in fun colors, but they are easily updated with spray paint.

Keep those pallets. Old wooden pallets are as multipurpose as they get. They can be used in so many different ways. Using a pallet as the top of an outdoor coffee table is just one idea. You can sand and stain it or paint it any color you want. They are a great option that fulfills the purpose and looks great while you find something that you love.

Think about it before you throw it away. Just because something wasn’t initially purchased for the outside of the home doesn’t mean it can’t end up there (this isn’t the case with all things). Take an old bureau or bookcase for example. If you treat it with an outdoor protectant to ensure it doesn’t rot, it could work incredibly well in a covered outdoor area, like a porch. An outdoor wet bar perhaps?

A gorgeous outdoor living space is normally a mixture of some “investment” pieces and some quick finds. The more important thing is that at the end of the day, you love it. If you have any questions, please contact your local Archadeck Outdoor Living office.