What size is your back porch?

marti8aMarch 20, 2009

We are about to add a deck onto the back of the house where currently there is nothing. I would like it to be wide enough for a porch swing and a couple of chairs. I think 6-8' would be good. I don't want people to fall off the edge when they are walking around someone sitting in a chair IYKWIM. Dh thinks I am trying to make it too big and it will be too expensive. I want it to be comfortable.

Our front porch is 4' wide and luckily is concrete on grade or people would fall off trying to walk around someone. And a deck walk he built to the garage door is also about 4' and just too narrow IMO. Now I'm wondering if 6-8' is even wide enough.

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Ours is about 8x10' and there is no way a porch swing AND a couple of chairs would fit on it and still have people be able to get around it very easily. (Remember you have to leave room for maximum swing space for the porch swing.) Ours just fits our grill - not a huge one either - two chairs of the stacking resin variety or my outdoor recliner by itself and a little round table to put one's drink on, any more and no one would be able to move around. If we were ever to rebuild that deck we would move the steps down to the yard to make the area more efficient - we cannot expand the size. The front porch on our ca.1900 Victorian Lite is about 6.5' wide and even though it's about 20' long it is completely useless as anything but a passage area, a decorative element for the house, and a thing requiring much maintenance. ;-)

As for "I don't want people to fall off the edge", put up a railing, even if it's just posts and rope. You may be required to by code anyway, the height from the ground mandating a railing keeps dropping, but even if the deck is only a foot off the ground having a railing is much safer than not.

Can you use stakes and string to mark out the area you're considering for the deck, plop down some lawn chairs (borrow some extras from neighbors if you need to) and see what the minimum workable size is that both you and your DH can agree on? Stakes and string are better for the initial marking-out than ground-marking paint because you can redo your dimensions easily.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 7:26PM
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I just asked dh how deep his parents patio was & he said 10'. It was a good size.

When I said I didn't want people falling off the edge, I meant I didn't want them stepping off the edge because it was too narrow. We are going to build planters and benches on the edges with a drop off.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:52PM
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Since our house is small and our property is hilly we wanted a place that would fit a large crowd for entertaining during the warmer months. Our is 16' x 32' and we have dubbed it our 'family room' LOL. Better a bit larger than too small where a deck is concerned.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 8:05AM
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I agree 6x8 sounds pretty small for a porch swing and a couple chairs. You also have to factor in that people will be using them and taking up floor space too. Would anyone have room to walk around if there's more than 1 person on the deck?

When I think of 6 ft...that's only 6 inches taller than I am. I imagine laying down on a 6ft deck with only a few inches of clearance on either end of me.

Also, what if you decide you want to set a planter or end table with the chairs? I personally think there wouldn't be enough room.

I've heard one too many times people who built decks and then were not happy a year later because they built too small...underestimated their useage...didn't factor in accessorizing, and people space.

My experiences with 2 houses/2 decks...if I want to sit out there and use it with more than 1 person, I would go minimum 8x10...but that's just me.

PS: your question asked how big is yours...mine is 12x20 (screened). I've got an outdoor couch, 2 chairs & coffee table. I accessorize with a couple planters and a wicker hamper as the season permits. 4 people is comfortable. 5 people would start to get awkward.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 9:08AM
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We had a six foot deep deck and it was not wide enough. I built on a half circle of cement to be able to put the round table and chairs on the deck and be able to pass by it. It was all cement down on the ground. I do not remember how wide it was.

Now we have an 8 by 26 covered porch. It ok but I sure do with it had been 10 by 26. That extra two feet makes such a HUGE difference in the usage.

Another house we had a 10 by 12 deck and it was ok but the door into the house was centered which ruined the deck sort of for use. If I had had it to do over again I would have had it so the door was on one end.

So you live and learn. Chris

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 6:49PM
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we started out with an 8 ' out by 16 ' porch, then we added to it to make it 26' long and we added a shed at deck height to the long side and then we put a 10 x 10 deck beside that shed, then we started covering the porch with a roof, and the roof just kept growing and now we have added a furnace shed lean to to the upper shed at ground level another 16 x 16..just keeps growing..

so now we hav a T shape porch with the top of the T against the house and the left hand side of the T has a 24 x 16 shed attached to it..which will get another 8x 16 addition and a greenhouse addition this year..sheesh i know..

right now we have under the roof L shape..to the right of the T, a dining table with 6 chairs a sofa and coffee table and 2 more chairs..we have a matching chaise lounge, a covered swing and an umbrella and hammock that match that don't fit under the roof..that go on other decks around the house or fit into the yard..

I'll try to post a couple pictures of the back porch, we are in the process of glassing it in under the L shape roof right now we have 2 sets of sliders salvaged to glass in parts and some plexiglass going in in others..hope to finish it this summer, also needs paint and I plan to decoate with curtains and things..when it is done.

getting the roof over the porch...building..

Before any glass was put in..

no pictures of it with the glass going up or the painting and decorating getting done, hopefully we'll have it done this summer

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 8:08PM
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OH ronbre love your porch/deck.

I hope to sew curtains for our porch this summer too. I had shade cloth up last summer and it was good but not great. I have 15 or maybe 20 yards of a heavy white slick fabric I might use. I think it will make the front porch feel more private since we are so close to the road. We do not have a back porch. YIKES have to shut down HUGE storm just rolled in lightening big time.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Gayle, not 6x8, I was thinking 6 or 8 feet deep, but now I've changed it to 10 feet after reading here & finding out how big in-laws porch was. It will be about 28 feet long, but 6 feet of that is between a gate and a door so not very usable. Since we are assessed a tax on the square footage of porches, I want it to be big enough to be comfortable, but not a lot wasted. Our front porch is wasted as far as usage but it does shade the windows and probably keep the house cooler in summer.

Ronbre, I love your deck. The lattice type roof is what we will have to do too I think. How do you like it for shade?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 10:04PM
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Actually we were removing that roof..we were completely roofing it over...hubby on roof...

We originally had the first part by the sliders covered, the original deck..and then we put a shade cloth shelter over the second part by the shed..but that wasn't what we wanted, so we removed that and put up a roof over the part along the house and then had the roof come out at an L over the extension out toward the garden..since then we have put plexiglass to the right of the sliders to enclose that..to the left we put in a salvaged sliding glass door, and we have put glass and plexi from right behind where Ron's butt is to the far left side of the picture..there is still the part under Ron we need to build a glass or plexi door there and then there is the far garden end, which would be left of the end of that picture, that we have to glass in yet..there will be a catwalk around the deck that isn't under the roof or inside the glass..and then to the far east past the sliders is an 8x10 open deck for barbequing..that has doors to the 2 sheds there and steps to the path to the front deck..laundr room and we have a porch on the front of the house we are also glassing in..we actually have all the glass up and door up now..but haven't finished the trim or painting.

snippet of fron porch before done..not yet completely done either

all of our outside work is always in partial completion..as both husband and i are partially to nearly completely disabled but we do all the work ourselves or with my son's help..and he had total shoulder reconstruction in Dec..08.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 1:01PM
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I'll try to get some snapshots of where we have some of the glassed in part up..lost all my photos on my laptop.
this shot shows from the sliders out toward the garden where the catwalk is outside of the porch..now there is a glass wall between the part that is under the porch and the part that isn't covered..on the outside..the catwalk is 4' and goes L shape straight ahead and then to the right 10'..so the part where the tables are is glassed in..partly and will eventually be all done.

You can see where we "temporarily" had glass up sideways on the right of this picture..those were taken down and put vertically as a wall HERE..by the catwalk..and now the part where the glass was up there sideways is now done with clear plexiglass..so you don't even see it..

The photo here shows the open deck beyond where we put the sliders..right at the edge there of the roof where it stops at the open part, now there are glass sliders there..beyond it is the place where since this photo was taken we have built an addition 16 x 16 to that shed for our wood boiler..so there is the double doors to the shed now..and then there is another door to the new shed and steps going down inside..as it is at ground level..with the boiler in it..
there is also a lot of trim and painting to be done, decorating, curtains to be put up..etc..hopefully this summer it will be done..and i can put finished photos up.

this is looking from the front of the house toward the new addition to the porches and shed for the wood boiler..and it was put up hastily in the winter..so it hasn't been finished yet..but that is the new shed addition behind Ron ..that is off of the old shed above..so now it is 24 x 16..and will have another 8 x 16 addition put on the other side of this shed this year..and I'll be moving the little greenhouse close to the boiler this year too..so that it can have year around heat.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 1:26PM
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ronbre, Email me through GW,click on my name then email me link. If your lap top is not already in the garbage it might be saved and get your pictures back. Certainly worth try.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 2:37PM
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My deck is 8x8, with a 4x4 step next to it.

We kept it small because it functions mainly as a private balcony for the master bedroom. There are larger 'public' patios off of the dining room, foyer, and studio.

8x8 is the perfect size for two large chairs, an umbrella, a tiny table, and two sleeping dogs.

While I'm not a huge fan of decks because they usually have a tacked-on, unfinished look, I have to admit it's really nice having outdoor space that's clean enough to walk on in stocking feet.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 3:52PM
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Our front porch is 8' wide and we find it is wide enough for chairs, porch swings, etc. and we're still able to have space to walk. 10' would be nice but wouldn't go that wide if it increased my taxes, lol!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:57PM
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