What do I do with a huge side porch?

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Hey all! I will be deciding on how to decorate my side porch this spring. To call this side porch ginormous would be an understatement. The size is 58 feet x 10 feet. The chimney is at approximately the half way point. I welcome your suggestions. Ready, set, go! Thanks, everyone! @ #mycurrentproject
what do i do with a huge side porch, porches, View from the front to the back
View from the front to the back
what do i do with a huge side porch, porches, View from the back to the front
View from the back to the front
  24 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 03, 2013
    Becky, I think the first thing you have to figure out is what you want or need from the space. Do you want a space to hang out? Grill? Do you need shade? If so, adding a pergola would break up the space and do that. You could divide up a space that large into at least a couple of outdoor rooms, using plants in large pots as the walls.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Mar 03, 2013
    You do not need a lot of room for fun. My front porch is 6' x 25' but one of our favorite places. Use shepherd's poles attached to hang bird houses or baskets with colorful flowers. Here are our before and after photos. (Your railing will hide most of the color from your neighbors.) You can buy mis-matched furniture at garages sales or thrift stores and tie it all together with color. Then add colorful pillows and a small rug. With the size of your porch, you can add a table that can be used for eating or games. This could become a very favorite place. A chaise could become a reading nook behind a couch! Endless possibilities.
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Mar 03, 2013
    What age group are you going to be entertaining in that area? Kids, 30ish, 60ish?
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Mar 03, 2013
    @Becky from Practips @Douglas Hunt is right, figure out what activities are going to occur in this area. I think a pegola is an excellent idea :) If you want to bbq in the area, that should typically be closer to the exit onto the porch, perhaps a table and chairs nearby for eating. Over the table area you could put up a water resistant gazebo (Walmart has 10x10 in the camping section which are fairly long lasting, or Lowes carries a 10x10 in a hardtop but is considerably more expensive, but is four seasons). I like to sit outside in a light rain so this feature is important to me. Then for a conversation area you can add a cushioned loveseat and chairs with tables, possibly with outdoor speakers. Again, I like a water resistant cover for this area, but you could also have waterproof covers for the furniture. Then if you have sunbathers, you could also add a lounge area with a couple of lounge chairs - nice little reading nook in the last two areas. Becky would love to see what you end up doing, if you could, post a pic! Thanks for posing the question I love to dream about new areas and what I would do :)
  • Barb Rosen Barb Rosen on Mar 03, 2013
    A retractable awning might be a way to provide some cover from the elements and make a defined "room" and of course, lots of plants : )
  • Z Z on Mar 04, 2013
    I'm with the others. In order to help we need more info. Age, what activities and what direction is it facing and if the trees shade the area enough. I have to add what a great dilemma you have though. I'm sure we'd all like to have you problem.
  • Setting up a living spaces like inside your home would be ideal! An area for play, maybe with an outdoor rug & shade - An area for conversation with outdoor couches, chiminea, umbrella, potted garden - An area for cooking/grilling! Pick your favorite activities and designate accordingly. There are so many new & beautiful outdoor-safe furnishing options!
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 04, 2013
    Thanks for the input so far. Let me fill you in on some details. We are early 40's with elementary aged children. We love to grill out and entertain (all ages), as well as relax. We have sun in the morning and shade in the evening. The porch is next to a wooded area. This side porch is only a third of the wrap-around porch we have. I have attached a few more pictures.
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 04, 2013
    Please, no solicitations on this post. Thanks.
  • Z Z on Mar 04, 2013
    My guess would be you'll do your grilling here since it's open topped? If so then I'd use one end for dining, the middle for cooking and the other end for a seating area that could also be used for casual dining. You have a lovely home and setting Becky.
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 04, 2013
    Thanks, Becky. (great name by the way...)
  • Z Z on Mar 04, 2013
    You're welcome. I thought the same about your name too.
  • RentedMule RentedMule on Mar 04, 2013
    Do a potted theme garden in one area, or as outdoor room dividers. If you get alot of shade, do shade loving plants. Herbs grown in containers would be great for a kitchen herb garden. I would love to have your porch problems! I would make the most of the wonderful space by creating outdoor rooms, with lots of plants, functional low maintence comfortable outdoor furniture decorated in nature. But most of all Enjoy your wonderful space, and make it a reflection of your personal style.
  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Mar 05, 2013
    @Becky from Practips wow what a lovely veranda and home! love that it is covered all around, so you won't be needing to add any shelter. From the above pics it looks like the right side of the porch may be nearest the kitchen, so that is where I could set up the bbq area - if that is erroneous assumption then of course it would be most convenient to set it up closest to that access with perhaps and eating area nearby.. It looks like you will soon be entertaining teenage kids, so you can plan for that by creating a seating area for the kids - mine had kids over continually so we had an area for them on the patio and kept the deck for us LOL. I would also recommend a convo pit for adults - outdoor cushioned chairs and loveseat and side tables. I love candles outside, so we have a number of glass surrounded hurricanes/lanterns so the wind doesn't blow them out this adds interest in accessories during the day and ambiance in the evening. It looks like your railing might be just right for over the rail planters. This could always add more colour and interest. Another trick to bringing the indoors out is adding inexpensive drapery panels. They can be weighted at the bottom to decrease the blowing and tie backs added for when you want full lighting. We have neighbours whose deck and upper bedroom overlook our side deck and I have found the drapes provide us with more privacy. I can't wait to see what you do with it :)
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 05, 2013
    Oh, to have all that porch! You could divide the side area into three rooms using a couple of arbors, possibly with seats, as the dividers.
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 08, 2013
    @Gail Salminen You are right. The right side porch is actually closer to the kitchen, however, it's an easy walk through the living room. Since the project space is open-topped, the grill is there as it is in a safer location. I like the idea of separating the space for an adult area and a kid area.
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Mar 08, 2013
    wow you almost have enough room for suffleboard!
  • Z Z on Mar 11, 2013
    Now that's a fun idea @360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 23, 2013
    I thought I'd provide an update on our project. We have scavenged some items we already have around the property. This is what we have collected so far: a wooden arbor, a framed metal swing, two 10' long bench seats, two wire trellises, and a clay chiminea pot with stand. Our next step is to pressure wash everything, and give the railings, floor, and hardscape elements a fresh coat of paint.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 24, 2013
    Becky, maybe you need to shop around your property more often!
  • Tim McLaughlin Tim McLaughlin on Mar 26, 2013
    Well to start, have a huge party. Im sure the idea's you get that night would be quite interesting.With all due respect the arbor looks out of balance and in the way.The bench seats on the other hand look awsome.Perhaps a water feature at mid point with various clay pots having a combination of herbs and flowers on each side of the feature extending all the way in both directions.Clay does dry the soil quickly so may want to use plastic pots inside the clay pots.A few climbing plants on the house side and railing side would break up the repetitiveness of it all.Don't foreget the out door speakers for some soothing music. PerfectMatchInteriors.com
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 26, 2013
    @Tim McLaughlin The arbor is not in it's final location. It's just there for picture purposes. I like the party idea. When we had the house remodeled, we had our a/v guy run wiring for speakers in the attic beside this porch. We plan to add them at some point. We already have outdoor speakers on the covered porches. Thanks for your input.
  • Becky from Practips Becky from Practips on Mar 26, 2013
    Hey all! I thought you might be interested in our original "before" picture of the house. What a difference an exterior remodel makes, huh?
  • Tim McLaughlin Tim McLaughlin on Mar 27, 2013
    Sounds like you have your bases covered.Hope to see the final results.