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March 23, 2016

5 things every front porch needs - gatherings

I love porches.  Especially the old fashioned, wrap around the house kind with a well cushioned swing just waiting for a lazy day.  So for me, as soon as the weather starts to warm up just a bit I am thinking about ways to spruce up our little piece of real estate out front.

decorating a front porch

Our front porch is really small by conventional standards but we've managed to fit a couple of rocking
chairs, a small table, a foot stool and several potted plants on it to help give the feel of a larger one.  I think if I could describe the Lemon Lane Lifestyle that word "feel" would be at the top of my list. Most people don't have the time or money to create the home or lifestyle of their dreams, so for me getting the feeling of that life I imagine is what I work for and hopefully share with you. 


If I had to list what a great front porch needs to be inviting without increasing it's size, I would say it would be these five things.  Tell me if I missed anything.
  1. A comfy place to sit for at least two people.  If you have room for more, lucky you.  I will sometimes place a couple of Adirondack chairs facing the rockers on the little walkway that runs in front of our house if we have company.  You could add a couple of chairs to the lawn as well.
  2. A place to set a cool drink, some munchies and a candle.
  3. Great lighting.  Last year I added a row of Edison bulbs to our front porch and I love the affect they give after dark.  
  4. Living plants of some sort.  Hanging ferns come to mind but really pretty potted flowers that grow great in your area are all it takes to up the charm factor out front.  Plants give the sense of intimacy and comfort so use them liberally.
  5. And most importantly friends and family to share life with.  I have found that time on the porch is just slower for some reason.  Whether there's plenty to talk about or if you're sitting in silence listening to the sounds of the neighborhood and nature, it's that time together that memory making is all about.
Here's how I incorporated a few of those things on my small 3 x 6 foot concrete slab of a porch to help give the "feeling" I am after.



Since my porch doesn’t have enclosed railings, I use lushly planted pots to set the defining boundaries around the area.  Any ever green bush will achieve this affect.  Azaleas are a great green backdrop all year round for us here in Southern California even when they aren't in bloom.  When they do bloom it is a spectacular sight and after their show if finished I just add a few inexpensive annuals from the garden center to give it some fresh color. 


I love these rockers my husband bought me several years ago and I'm always sure to have a pretty throw pillow tossed on them to make them more comfy and inviting.  In my heart of hearts I want a porch swing so my mind is still going as to how I can squeeze comfortably fit one out here.  I may have to save that dream for our back patio which has a lot more space.


I mentioned that we added this strand of Edison light bulbs to the porch last year.  There are so many great string lights out there on the market right now.  Walmart just got a bunch of new outdoor lighting sets in this season that are worth checking out and you definitely can't beat the price.


Now with the lemonade poured I'm all set for a bit of relaxing and visiting with anyone who happens to stop by or anyone who happens to wander out from inside.  Actually the truth be told the front porch is one of my favorite places to have alone time as well.  I just switch the lemonade for a nice glass of wine and I can think on things really well out front.


When I think about life on the porch I think of long summer evenings with kids playing out front, sipping cold drinks and visiting with neighbors who I usually don't say more than a quick hello to. Or maybe it's a place to sneak off to after dinner with family for a quiet, intimate conversation for two. The reason for porch sitting isn't what really matters, it's the acknowledgement that people are important, and all the goings on of the world can wait an hour or two while we sit and simply share each others company for a while.

Don't let the fact that you don't have a traditional front porch stop you from enjoying everything this space has to offer.  Use your imagination, I'm sure there's a spot outside just waiting to have a front porch feeling just for you.

xo, Patty

p.s. If you'd like to see our front porch reveal from last year take a look.

8 comments:

  1. Patty, this is just wonderful! I love all the elements you chose to make it comfortable and inviting. Our front porch is tiny but we try to do all of these things on the back porch. :)

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  2. Hello Patty. That's a very pretty front porch with all your plants and lighting. It looks very cozy. We don't have much of a front porch but my husband made a little courtyard by laying bricks between our house and garage and building a little gazebo. That's where we head once the warm summers months finally arrive.

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  3. Good Morning Patty, you sure know how to pack a lot of punch into such a small space. I am amazed and love what you have done. The other thing that I noticed was your windows . . . they are so unique and have so much cottage charm. Spring is looking lovely in your neck of the woods :)
    Happy Easter!
    Connie :)

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  4. After reading your post last year about the lights hanging on the front porch.....I went out and bought some for our deck in the back. We put them on a timer so they come on and go off by themselves. They have stayed up all winter long. Where did you get those cute planters with the birdies on them? I want some. :-)

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  5. Patty, The part of our porch that's covered is the same size...I love your sweet porch. It has all the nice things that make someone want to sit and visit. Blessings for many visitors, xoxo,Susie

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  6. I think your porch is very inviting and pretty - doesn't matter that it's small! We only have a tiny wood deck on the front of our porch which leads up to a cement stoop. I at least decorate that area with potted plants and a chair or two. There's nowhere to string lights in that area (nothing overhanging). Our main sitting area is on the side of the house where there's a patio.

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  7. I think you covered it for the 5 things needed! I once lived in a big old Victorian house that had a huge wrap-around porch! I miss that to this day. I had a swing out there and a place to set my glass or plate, but not much else.. but I loved that it was in the front of the house, in a small town, where I could sit there on a summer evening and watch the neighbors stroll by, ride their bikes, etc. I miss that small town feel. More and more houses don't even have front porches anymore, which is sad. The new (old) house we just bought only has a tiny cement stoop, about 3 feet by 3 feet.. we plan to build a little deck out from the stoop into the yard, so we can sit there and watch the world go by, and hope someone walking down the street will stop for a short visit. Having a backyard deck is nice, but I think we miss alot by not sitting out on our "front porch"! Yours is darling and very inviting.

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, i was looking for such article for many days...
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