If you already have a front porch you’re aware of the advantages. It’s the place where strangers can comfortably wait, where teens can cuddle with their dates safely and the place where you join friends with something to drink as you enjoy your neighborhood’s charm. The best romantic novels always feature the porch for the first kiss or the final slamming of the door on relationships! No wonder we love our porches!
If you are stuck with a simple ‘stoop,’ a 4 x 4 concrete slab in front of the door you probably feel like the front door is a place to hurry up and get people through rather than enjoying the ambiance of the porch. There are affordable ways to create a relaxing and comfortable place to enjoy the neighborhood.
Walk outside with a pencil and tape measure in hand; critically examine what you have to work with. If you have a small stoop, note whether there is a roof over the stoop. Also make note of the ‘lay of the land.’ Is it flat or hilly? All of these things make a difference in what you can easily and affordably create to entertain friends. Measure the space that is accessible to extend the stoop to a porch; obviously this cannot exceed the length of the house. Make notes and rough draw the landscape and the house. Measure the length and width for your new porch.
If you have a stoop, consider creating a porch roof by adding pressure treated 2×4’s to create an overhang/roof. You will need to frame the structure with 1x 6 across the sides and front. The clamps attach it to the house at the back. Set the corners in place with 2×4 or 4×4 pieces of lumber anchored to concrete or buried in concrete.
You can use seconds which are under a dollar each at the lumber or home improvement store. Pick up the metal clamps there as well. These attach to the house with screws and have a slot to hold the 2 x4 in place. Screw the wood into the clamp and space 6″ apart vertically for the length you want to create a porch. Connect the first one to the roof of the stoop. If you don’t have a roof, extend this idea across the stoop and at least 24″ beyond it to create a covered overhang. You can choose to leave the wood natural or pick up a can of Min Wax and stain them to create a specific look, such as Mediterranean or Coastal. You can opt for an awning if the wood does not appeal to you. Pick up lawn timbers to layout the ground space. These are 4×4 pieces of wood and are also available in seconds for half price; the important thing is that they are pressure treated to withstand weathering without rotting. Check out the large stepping stones at the home improvement store gardening center to create a walkway to the new ‘porch’ and to the seating. They are very inexpensive and replace he traditional sidewalk. After placing the stones, add benches or the seating you have selected for your new space. Then add your favorite plants, mulch, pebbles or rock to fill the ground area level with the timbers. Add plants that vine, rope and climb to the corners; as they grow they will create a beautiful natural shade for your new ‘arbor.’ Top off with solar ground lighting, available for a dollar each, and miniature lights that rope around the 2×4’s to create a romantic space filled with ambiance. Enjoy the summer weather as you light up the night and your life.