When you hear “backyard porch” you might think we meant to say “deck.” But the two are not synonymous. While porches and decks are similar in construction, they have different defining features. A porch is also separate in construction from a patio which has its own defining characteristics. The biggest differences between decks, porches, and patios include:
- A porch has a roof, is at least partially enclosed, and is attached to your home.
- A deck is completely open and is usually attached to your home.
- A patio is often detached from your home and built into the ground.
A backyard porch will give your home and outdoor living space a different feel than an open deck or a patio but will work with many of the same design elements. A covered porch is naturally more of a transitional space that acts as a buffer zone between the indoors and outdoors — a factor that will also influence its design.
Designing Your Backyard Porch as a Transitional Space
What’s a transitional space?
Transitional spaces are defined as those that bridge the indoors to the outdoors. In residential architecture, porches are often used as transitional spaces.
Why are transitional spaces beneficial?
Due to their overhead coverings, porches create the perfect environment to blur the lines between the interior and the exterior, creating a seamless transition.
When designing your backyard porch, include elements of your interior design in your outdoor space to keep the bridge between the inside and outside as smooth as possible.
Backyard Porch Ideas
These backyard porch design ideas will suit a variety of homes, from mid-century modern to craftsman, traditional, and more. Get inspiration for your backyard porch design, no matter your home’s style, with these ideas that cover everything from design details to larger themes.
Go Dimensional With Multi-Width Deck and Porch Boards
Add dimension to your backyard porch by using boards with multiple widths. Depending on your needs and the size of your outdoor living space, you can potentially use deck boards in your application.
Boards with multiple widths available include:
TimberTech® Porch boards come in standard (3.125”) and wide (5.5”) widths in the following colors:
TimberTech deck boards from the TimberTech® AZEK® Vintage Collection® come in standard (5.5”), narrow (3.5”), and wide (7.25”) width boards. You can also choose from standard or wide-width in the TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection:
- TimberTech® AZEK® Vintage Collection®: All three widths.
- TimberTech AZEK Harvest Collection®, Slate Gray and Brownstone: Standard and wide-width.
Combine porch and deck boards in different sections within your larger space for the look you want in your porch design.
Explore these patterned ideas that can be created with multi-width porch, deck boards, or a combination of both:
A picture frame pattern is achieved by running one (or more) boards around the perimeter of your porch or deck. Create a more dynamic look with different colored boards, or use multiple boards, for the “frame.”
The tight, woven-textile look of a herringbone pattern has exceptional appeal. Use this inlay on a larger porch with narrow-width deck boards, or amp up the volume and use the pattern across the entire porch surface.
An assortment pattern is formed by arranging alternating deck or porch boards of varying width, whether standard (3.125”) or wide (5.5”). An assortment pattern adds visual interest to transform your porch from expected to exceptional.
Add Touches of Indoor Decor, Outdoors
With a porch’s protective covering, you can introduce many of the design elements you use indoors, with little worry about damage from the weather.
Don’t let your fear of the rain stop you from putting out your charming tabletop decor, whether it’s your favorite candles, an outdoor tablecloth, or potted plants.
When nestled under a secure porch covering, your throw pillows won’t suffer from the full brunt of the elements. Still, it’s a good idea to use pieces made from outdoor fabric, even on a covered porch.
Capture indoor comforts with cozy outdoor-rated furniture that won’t mind any rain being blown in with the wind.
Create a Multi-Level Porch
Differentiate sections of your porch with multiple levels to add visual interest to your backyard porch design. Sections need only be divided by a stair or two to capture the effect of greater depth and dimension. Changes in floor level are ideal for smaller porches. The slight change in elevation helps to separate spaces that serve different functions, keeping things structurally and visually organized.
HOW THIS WORKS IN A TRANSITIONAL SPACE
Multiple floors help create depth for a comprehensive, polished look, without the use of a dividing wall.
Combine Covered and Uncovered Spaces
A roof or covering is a defining part of a porch, but that doesn’t mean it needs to cover your entire outdoor living space. Combining roofed areas with open areas captures on-trend dimensionality and gives you and your family the opportunity to experience the outdoors without worrying about the weather.
Enjoy the open area of your porch on warm sunny days, and retreat to the covered area when it starts to rain — all the while taking in the beauty of nature and enjoying the fresh air.
HOW THIS WORKS IN A TRANSITIONAL SPACE
Going from covered to uncovered is a smooth visual transition that allows you to gradually increase your exposure to the outdoors.
Bringing Your Backyard Porch To Life
See some of these ideas used in a real-life backyard porch to help you visualize what your porch could be like.
Indoor decor and comforts add warmth and a welcoming vibe to your backyard porch. The cozy furniture and roaring fireplace in this image invite guests to take a seat and get comfortable.
Make your porch levels even more distinct by using pavers or stone for a different textured surface. Go even further with your design and use pavers in complementary colors to your deck boards.
Covered & Uncovered
Mixing covered and uncovered spaces gives you different ways to enjoy your porch. Place seating in both protected and unprotected areas to ensure you and your guests have opportunities to enjoy the sunshine and escape the rain.
Now that you have backyard porch ideas and a better understanding of transitional spaces, it’s time to get started on building the perfect porch for your home. Partner with a TimberTech-registered contractor who can help you navigate different design options and guide you toward a functional and beautiful final build.