Now more than ever, porches, decks and outdoor living spaces are essential to new home construction.  They provide superior protection to doors, windows and exterior walls.  They help with a home’s energy efficiency, and have many other positive benefits.  While all those points are important functionally, the necessity of the outdoor spaces today may be most needed because of our culture.

Many of us have memories from our past of time shared outside on the porch.  Personally, I love it when a Spring storm blows in.  I go out on our screened porch and just enjoy watching it rain.  The smells, the sounds, and the feeling of the cool breeze rushing by is both relaxing and invigorating at the same time.  Most importantly though, it reminds me of time with family.  Growing up, my father and I would do the same, and I guess that is why it sticks with me even today.  It was an opportunity for him to pull me away from MTV, or video games.    It gave him a time to relax.  Most importantly, it gave us time to connect.

Distractions within our homes are continuously growing; cell phones, iPads and iPods, recorded television shows, and the list goes on.  One great way to connect with family is by spending it outside of the home.  Equipping your new home with porches and decks is beneficial to your family, relaxation, and is also good for the home itself in terms of protection and appeal.

The rest of this article is dedicated to photography and ideas.  Most are practical and affordable ideas rather than over-the-top.  Use them as starting points to create the perfect space outside your home.