Do it Yourself Front Porch Design

Updated February 21, 2017

Create a front porch that is an extension of family living space. Plan a porch for dining and relaxing after work in good weather, for example. Use colours and textures that repeat what's already in your living room to make the outdoor space harmonise with the whole house. Build or remodel a porch with generous overhangs that will shelter you from rain and snow, so you will want to use it more often. Design it to support a porch enclosure in case you want to add glass or screening at some point in time, too.

Sketch the house and roof lines first. Design the porch roof lines to fit well with your home's existing hip roof, multiple roof lines or ranch-type roof, for example. Create the porch space to look as if it's always been in place, not added on. Draw the porch design with overhangs and guttering that blend seamlessly with the house overhangs to accomplish this.

Incorporate appropriate porch materials. Plan to enclose the bottom half of the porch, for example, with house siding and install large posts that fit the home's traditional bungalow design. Use round, formal posts every 8 feet on a porch that wraps around two sides of a house. Figure out whether to use roofing material matching what's already installed on the main house. Add cedar shakes to the porch roof of an English-Tudor design, or add a copper metal roof to the porch on a two-story brick home.

Figure out the porch flooring base. Use concrete if the porch will be built as a slab around a beach home, for example. Plan to install oak flooring if the porch will have a crawlspace underneath. Choose a floor foundation design that looks seamless with house foundation from kerbside, however. Use a stacked-stone foundation for the porch if stacked stones are used around the house foundation.

Sketch railings that might work for the porch. Use close railings no wider than 5 inches apart, if small children will play on the porch. Install railings to give the home an improved ranch look, if the basic house design is a retro ranch look. Utilise columns every 6 or 8 feet that fit well with railings and balusters. Plan railings to extend down each side of the front steps to add a more formal look.

Select lighting and furniture. Remodel the porch with appropriate light fixtures, such as brass lanterns or outdoor chandeliers, depending on what's popular in your neighbourhood. Buy an outdoor dining table with comfortable chairs, an outdoor vinyl sitting bench and metal accent tables. Use plastic rope LED lighting around the interior of the porch to create nice after-dark ambience for summer evenings.

Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad
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About the Author

Judi Light Hopson is a national columnist for McClatchy Newspapers. She is founder of Hopson Global Education and Training and co-author of the college textbook, Burnout to Balance: EMS Stress. She holds a degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University, and has been a professional writer for 25 years.