In response to the question about the best placement, we must ask you a question in return. How do you want to use this porch? Only when your answer is clear will we be able to recommend the best placement for your screened porch.
You can probably already see how each of these purposes would influence your decision about porch placement. If you and your spouse want a screened porch for your private retreat, then building it off the master bedroom would make perfect sense. Off the master bathroom? Why not? Yours would not be the first porch we have built off a master bathroom!
To thoroughly enjoy your porch with family, and to share it with guests, you must place it where people will naturally gravitate. Likely one that will be off the most frequently used room in your home, such as a family room, den or kitchen. We think of these rooms as public rooms.
The most successful porch is one that’s designed to meld perfectly with your lifestyle and the natural traffic flow through your home. You want the screened porch to become “one” with your home. You want to be drawn into your porch as you are drawn to your favorite comfy chair. You want the porch to be used naturally without having to encourage people to use it.
In contrast, while a formal living room is also a public room, it’s often not integrated into your day-to-day lifestyle. If you don’t use that formal room often, you won’t think about going through it to spend time on the porch. This could put you in a position of having to say, “Hey, let’s go use the screened porch . . . “ If you have to make that suggestion, your screened porch is probably not located in the best place.
Don’t overlook the option of having a screened porch for the kids to use. If they’ve reached an age where you don’t need to watch them constantly, a porch is a great place for them to enjoy. As teens, they’ll have a place to hang out. By adding a screened porch off the children’s room(s) or a bonus room, you give them their own space. They’ll appreciate the chance to be apart from the adults—and vice versa!
If you have a second-story screened porch, you may be able to use the space beneath it as a porch for the younger set. Using the porch as a kids’ game room gives them a place for ping-pong or cornhole and keeps those “rowdy” activities separate.
Next, let’s say your home includes a guest suite or a detached guest cottage. If you want to offer your guests a screened porch solely for their use, placing it off the guest suite or cottage is ideal. Just realize that when you have no guests in residence, the porch will probably not see any use.
This porch, one we built off a guest house, is equipped with motorized screens. The guests can raise or lower the screens depending on how they want to use the porch. They have the option to raise the screens and create an open-air porch when they want to enjoy the pool.
We usually don’t recommend adding a detached porch. While you may think you’ll enjoy it so much you won’t mind the extra effort to access it, that’s usually not how it works out. Our observation from speaking with homeowners is that a detached porch is rarely used. Similar to placing your porch off a formal living room, a detached porch is “out of sight, out of mind.” If your detached porch is accessible by a connecting breezeway or walkway, there is a better chance you’ll use it.
There are exceptions, situations where a detached design may suit your needs perfectly: using it as an entertainment destination. If you give large parties or host groups at your home, a detached porch can be a desirable destination. For this kind of usage, it doesn’t matter that the porch is not part of the traffic flow through your home. That actually becomes an advantage!
Here you see a detached porch we built with a wooden deck between the house and the porch. Our client wanted this porch specifically for large parties. We designed it to offer lots of circulation and plenty of areas for people to gather.
Another “destination” use of a detached screened porch would be adjacent to a pool or garden. Adults watching the kids splash about in the pool need a covered area so they can stay comfortably out of the sun. Then you also need to consider protection from seasonal insects. A screened porch that’s poolside offers the perfect place to relax and enjoy being bug-free while staying within earshot of the children swimming.
Along those same lines, a gardener may enjoy a screened porch next to the garden. What a perfect place to sit and enjoy the flowers you’ve nurtured! Again, this porch placement allows you to enjoy your time outdoors, protected from the sun and biting insects. We had a client, a very active gardener, who wanted a porch built on the rear of her detached garage. It was the perfect spot for her to gather with her gardening friends and view the garden.
What happens if you decide your best porch placement is off a family room or kitchen and then find out there’s an obstacle? We have seen this happen where it turns out there’s an HOA issue, roofline issues or setbacks. In such situations, we will help you determine the “next best” porch placement. This may be off another public room such as a dining or living room. While this may not be ideal, if that’s all that stands between you and your porch, we’ll make it work! Once you are clear about the purpose of your porch, we’ll handle the structural issues.
Are you ready to let The Porch Company design and build the perfect porch for you? As porch specialists, we can help you determine the best placement for your screened porch. Call us at 615-663-2886 or visit our design studio. We would love to meet with you to discuss your porch needs!