12 Ways to Prep the Porch for Summer
Small Floor-to-Ceiling Projects for Your Front-Yard Perch
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I'll describe as "collected." I got into design via Landscape Architecture, which I studied at the University of Virginia. I've been writing about design online for quite a few years over at Hatch: The Design Public Blog.
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta... More »
Spring's the perfect time of year to get your porch ready for maximum enjoyment in summer. Porches, which were a necessity in the American South, spread north during the Victorian Era. People realized the importance of communing with nature and spending more time outdoors, and porches provided shady spots for that. If you are lucky enough to have one, pick and choose from this checklist (depending upon your porch's condition) to make the most of yours this year.
Prune your landscaping. This helps show off the great railings and details of your porch and helps protect them, too. I learned the hard way last summer that my charming pink roses were causing my porch rails to rot. Some pruning could have saved me a lot of money in repairs.
Check the condition of the floor. If you're in a place that had a lot of snow storms this winter, your porch may need a good sanding or at least a new coat of paint or protective coating on the floor.
Paint the ceiling blue. Historically, porch ceilings in the South were painted blue. I always heard the reason was that it would fool the bugs into thinking the ceiling was the sky, so they'd bug off and not nest there. Apparently this is an urban legend, and several different theories persist. Whatever the reason, it's a charming detail that has spread all over the country. Check out Sherwin-Williams "Haint Blue" paint to get this look.
Prep your porch swing. A swing is one of the most enjoyable elements you can add to a porch. If you already have one, give it a good wipedown and clean your upholstery. You may want some fresh throw pillows to switch up the look and make it more inviting.
Have your flag cleaned so it's ready to fly. I remember helping my grandfather take out the flag every day there was nice weather, and folding it up properly each evening.
By the way, did you know that side porches in Charleston that look like these emerged in response to a tax law? Property taxes were configured using street frontage measurements, so most of the historic homes there have what we'd usually think of as the side facing the street, with the spectacular double porches down the sides, perpendicular to the street.
Install hooks for hanging plants. Nothing adds charm and curb appeal like a few well-placed geraniums.
Opt for a rug. There are many outdoor options out there these days that won't be ruined by rain.
Manufacture a breeze. Does your porch heat up a little too much in the summer? Consider adding a ceiling fan to create a breeze when there isn't one.
Make the entrance to your front door welcoming. Consider painting the door an accent color, making your house numbers clear and flanking the door with plants.
Breathe new life into your furniture with a fresh coat of paint. If your vintage wrought-iron, wicker and wood pieces are feeling a little stale, shake things up and paint them a vibrant color.
Play with your furniture arrangement. Program your space to provide spots for reading, visiting and dining al fresco.
Light it up. You'll extend the hours you can enjoy the porch. A mix of overhead light, sconces, table and floor lamps and candlelight will provide the right light for a variety of activities, from dinner to reading outdoors at twilight.
What do you do to get your porch ready for warm months? Please share with us in the comments section.
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Ideabook updated on June 13, 2011.
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