When I think of the concept of an open porch design my mind drifts to the grace of a structure constructed with white columns where you spend the late afternoon relaxing and sipping iced tea. This image takes me back to a time when things were simpler and the world moved a little bit slower. The covered porches of today encompass that same great architecture that we remember from an era gone by. Round columns used in an open covered porch are still hugely popular and are considered quite upscale. When you look at a screened porch, the first thing you notice are these columns, which is part of the covered porch’s appeal and charm. The columns are used to make an architectural statement as well as laying a firm foundation for the structural integrity of the structure itself.
We enjoy designing and building both screened porches, and covered or open porches. If you’re thinking about adding a new porch to your home, how do you decide which is best for you? I’ll talk about several factors that may help you decide whether screens or open air are best for you.
In terms of shape, screened porches, because of the screens and the architectural limitations of making a screened structure, usually end up with a boxed structure, either square or rectangular. The dimensions are usually kept within certain confines to make the screened porch functional and in ratio to the existing house. Covered, open porches are very different in the aspect of what can be done in terms of shape. An open porch gives you more design flexibility by the use of columns. Covered porches can also be built in different shapes, like a half octagon, or even a full octagon reminiscent of a gazebo style design. The use of decorative columns is beautiful and is always popular.
Round columns, Georgian and Roman style columns, capital base and trim and even ogee ends halfway up the columns are commonly used in the construction of covered or open porches. Because screening does not need to be attached, column options are greater. The type of columns you choose should complement your home’s architecture, but in the same token, you can choose a design that will have a striking impact on the appearance of the entire back of your residence. With a custom designed and professionally built covered porch you can transform your average looking backyard into something truly magnificent.
Protection from the elements
With an open porch design you will get the same amount of sun protection that you would with a screened porch and you get a little better breeze because there is nothing to impede the air flow. There are drawbacks though, to choosing a covered “open” design versus screened design. This would be the insects. The insect barrier within a covered porch is non-existent without the luxury of an independent influence. Ceiling fans are commonly used on covered porches to help circulate the air and they provide some minimal insects protection. Insects are less likely to land on you when there is a constant flow of air. A covered porch is an ideal choice for people who want the open feel as well as the endless design possibilities, and those who have a higher tolerance level for insects or those who incorporate pest control into their landscape.
Ceilings and electrical
The homeowner has the same options with a covered porch as with a screened porch. Some examples of these options include open or closed rafters, recessed lighting ,skylights, electrical outlets and the capability to mount entertainment equipment such as TV’s, stereos and speakers. There are even open porch designs that incorporate the luxury of an outdoor fireplaces or outdoor kitchen as well.
Another viable option is to construct a deck and covered porch combination structure. In this structure, the porch sits on a deck and the deck extends a significant distance past the porch area. When designing this type of deck/porch combination, Archadeck of Maryland usually extends the deck surface five feet beyond the room and doesn’t add railings. The absence of the railing opens up the deck area and gives you a nice flow from covered to non-covered area as well as from the deck into the yard. This type of design supports the feng shui principles of “less is more”, and not impeding the visual flow from one structure to another.
This upcoming project we are working on in Highland, MD incorporates these same design principles. We are using Square columns, which are large and square to match the homes existing columns. This will ensure the house will match from front to back. When you walk in the home’s entryway, you will see french doors that will lead into the structure. With the aid of a design renderings, which we provide to all of our clients, the homeowners are actually able to “virtually” experience the views of the design before construction begins.
See more design renderings at the bottom of this post.
Archadeck of Maryland can plan, design and build a structure that takes you back to a by-gone era with the modern conveniences of today. Contact Archadeck of Maryland today to find out more about these and other outdoor structures. (301) 926 – 3001