When Porches Feel like Garden Rooms


For decades I gardened on the edge of a wooded valley, which I could see best – for views like this one in the spring – standing at the edge of my deck.

From inside the house the best view was from my kitchen looking out the door to the deck, seen here in October.

The deck was my favorite part of the house – large enough to hold parties, actually large enough for the neighbors to call it an aircraft carrier.

Also large enough to be a huge job to clean and preserve  every couple of years.

When I left that garden six years ago I thought I’d miss the deck and the view into the woods terribly. (Which was predicted by one of my movers, who asked me “How can you leave this?” as he looked out over the woods – and that was in late December.)

Turns out, I don’t miss the deck, thanks to my new screened-in porch, something I’d wanted all my life.

I wanted the porch for its known advantages – a bug-free and dry place to hang out. An outdoor space that accommodates indoor stuff like cushioned seat, rugs, and lamps. Can you spot the cats in this shot?

But there’s one more, unexpected benefit to my new porch. Because it was built almost at grade, it feels like it’s in the garden. This panorama shot illustrates the point perfectly (ignore the distortion).

I like the view from the garden, too.

But it’s the view from inside the porch that really sells it. At least that’s what a new neighbor told me when I showed it to him. He said it convinced him to keep the sides completely see-through, rather than half open like the porches above.

He’ll have it constructed on grade, and he won’t be skimping on size, either.

Porch living is heaven!


  1. I grew up in a house with a small screened in porch, accessed thru a set of French doors off the living room. When we opened the doors it allowed a nice breeze to flow through the house and extended the living area to the outside. It was awesome! Sadly, only one of the 5 places I have lived since being married has had one, my present home does not.
    Two years ago I contracted West Nile virus, I believe from my own back yard. Building a screened in porch at my present home is now high on my priority list! Not only are mosquitoes a nuisance, they can be deadly.

  2. Love your screened porch! I love my screened porch and like you kept it open on all 3 sides …It makes living in the middle south with the danged mosquitoes all summer long so much more bearable!

  3. I clearly remember that lovely deck and your beautiful home but I can see your handprint very evidently in this welcoming, comfortable and cozy porch room. You rock it everywhere you go in life!

    • Yes I remember you visiting and taking a photo of me on the deck in the rain – with umbrella – and it’s one of my faves.
      Thanks for the nice words and I hope to return them someday when I finally see YOUR garden.

  4. We extended a tiny porch into our small, urban backyard, It is open to our neighbors on three sides with a great view of everybody’s gardens. Best of all, we designed it so the screens can be replaced with glass panels for colder weather. It’s wonderful.

  5. Having had both, I agree with you. A porch is more liveable and feels like you’re in the garden. Right now we have an elevated deck with a lovely view, but it feels somewhat disconnected from the garden. At our first house, though, we had a deck just one step above the ground, with no rails, and that was very much part of the garden. So maybe being at grade level is the key.

    • Yes for being at grade. Maybe worth having a porch down a few steps from the house, huh?
      Now wishing I’d made mine 4-season, though. Wonder how much it would cost to convert it…

  6. I like the wood plank flooring. What is it?

    We have a similar screened in porch that’s floor to ceiling screen. Alas we temporarily added lattice to the bottom half to stop our 150 mastiff from going through the screen.

  7. I have an almost similar porch and I love it so much. There’s just something magical seeing the garden in the morning.

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