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Exploring Common Porch Designs for Residential Homes

Are you thinking about adding a porch to your home? If so, you’ll need to choose the right type. While all porches are outdoor extensions of a home, there are different types of porches with their own unique characteristics.

Rain Porch

Also known as a Carolina porch in reference to its popularity in the Southeastern United States, a rain porch is a type of porch with a roof extending beyond the edge of the deck. It’s usually supported with large columns that originate from the ground instead of the porch deck. Rain porches are often preferred because of their strength and durability. The extended roof protects the porch from rain, snow and the elements while also providing a natural source of shade to homeowners and family members.

The downside to using a rain porch, however, is that they can be difficult to construct. The columns used for support must be built into the ground, adding another level of difficulty to the construction process. Nonetheless, a rain porch is an excellent porch design for areas prone to bad weather.

Rain porches are often seen in historic southern homes. However, they are also seen in Green Revival homes like Rosemount.

Screened Porch

Also known as a screened-in porch, a screened porch is characterized by a screened enclosure. The walls separating the inside of the porch from the outside consist of a mesh screen material. Because of this design, screened porches offer several noteworthy benefits, including protection from insects and debris as well as privacy.

Screened porches can also be used for sleeping when the power goes out. The mesh screen walls allow air to flow through but not insects or debris. So, sleeping on a screened porch can be cooler and more comfortable during the summer if the power goes out.

Sleeping Porch

A sleeping porch features similar design characteristics as a screened porch. It typically features mesh screen walls that protect against insects and debris. However, the key difference between a screened porch and sleeping porch is that the latter is more finished. Sleeping porches often feature furniture and decorations. While most sleeping porches feature mesh screen walls, some have actual solid walls instead.

Sleeping porches have origins dating back hundreds of years, during which families would sleep outside to stay cool. Long before air conditioning had been invented, families would use sleep on sleeping porches during the hot summer months. Like a screened porch, the mesh walls allow air to flow through the patio while also keeping the bugs out. Sleeping porches became particularly popular around the turn of the 20th century ago. Back then, it was widely believed that sleeping outdoors would benefit individuals suffering from tuberculosis, as the fresh air would cleanse their respiratory system and subsequently ease some of the symptoms of this potentially deadly disease.


A lesser used porch design is the portico. Originating from Ancient Italy, it’s characterized by a tall height and supporting columns or colonnades. Portico porches were often in contemporary Italian architecture, though they’ve since made their way into other architectural styles.

Portico porches are often prized for their aesthetics and attention to detail. The large columns add a unique touch to the porch’s style that compliments the home and surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the columns used in its construction are heavy duty, allowing for ample support of the porch roof.

There are several different variations of the portico porch, each of which is characterized by the style of columns. The hexastyle, for instance, features six columns, whereas the octastyle features eight columns. There’s also a decastyle, which features 10 columns.


The veranda porch design is characterized by a partial enclosure with rails extending in front of the porch and to the sides of the porch.  Many houses in the Southern United States feature this type of porch.

The veranda porch doesn’t have mesh screen walls, but it still allows for a cool environment thanks to its openness. Additionally, construction is relatively easy and simple.

Sun Porch

Finally, a sun porch is a type of porch that’s designed to protect against weather. It often resembles an actual room, featuring walls, ceilings and glass windows. Sun porches, however, are designed as an extension to the home and not as part of the home itself.

Some sun porches are also designed with glass windows built into the ceiling. Like a sun room, this allows sun to penetrate through and into the porch; thus, promoting thermal warmth while keeping bugs and debris out.

These are just a few of the most common types of porches. Of course, some porch designs don’t fall under any of these categories. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to create a custom-designed porch based on their own specifications.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.

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How to Keep Pesky Bugs Away from Your Patio

It’s hard to enjoy an evening out on your patio when you’re constantly being attacked by pests. Whether it’s mosquitoes, gnats, bees, etc., they can prevent you from enjoying this outdoor extension of your home. And while there’s no way to completely avoid all pests, there are ways to discourage them from being on your patio.

Grow Garlic in Containers

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a relatively small bulbous plant that’s easy to grow. Aside from its countless culinary purposes — used primarily as a seasoning — it also works as a natural insect repellent. Place some garlic plants in potted containers, arranging them around the area of your patio where you sit. The natural chemicals produced by the garlic plants deters mosquitoes and other insects, all while adding color and life to your patio in the process.

Other insect-repelling plants to consider growing on your patio include the following:

  • Basil
  • Lemon balm
  • Pennyroyal
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Pineapple weed
  • Tansy
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree

Remove Standing Water

If you have a mosquitoes problem on your patio, check to see if there are any standing pools of water around your home. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers that collect water, including buckets, overturned furniture, cups, gardening tools and water pitchers. Even small amounts of standing water can yield hundreds to thousands of new mosquitoes. Therefore, you need to remove all standing pools of water from around your home. Without water-logged breeding grounds, female mosquitoes will look elsewhere to lay their eggs.

Citronella Tiki Torches

Tiki torches are a fun and unique decorative accessory for the patio. Featuring a wick atop a source of fuel, they will enhance your patio’s aesthetics while also illuminating the surrounding environment. Rather than using just any tiki torch, however, consider using citronella torches. They look and function just like a regular tiki torch, but they contain citronella oil mixed into the fuel. So, when you light it, it releases insect-repelling citronella oil into the air; thus, helping to keep your patio insect free.

Alternatively, you can make your own citronella candles for use on your patio or elsewhere. This involves melting beeswax, pouring it into a mason jar with an affixed wick, and mixing in a few drops of citronella oil. Once the candles have hardened, you can light for them instant insect relief.

Light a Fire Pit

Sometimes all you need is a little smoke to keep the bugs away from your patio. Insects hate smoke, preferring to keep their distance even if it means missing out on a meal.

Building a campfire on your patio is out of the question, though a viable alternative is to use a fire pit, such as those offered here at S&S Fire Pit. If you’re lighting a fire pit for the purpose of deterring bugs and insects, try using wood with a higher moisture content. Normally, it’s best to use dry, seasoned wood, as it burns the easiest and most efficiently. Wet wood, however, is particularly effective at keeping bugs away because it produces more smoke. Just remember to supervise your fire at all times.

Screened Patio Enclosure

Of course, another solution to keep mosquitoes, gnats, bees and other pests away from your patio is to use a screened enclosure. As shown in the photo to the right, a screened enclosure creates a barrier between your patio and the outside elements. Without a roof, rain may still drip onto your patio, but insects won’t be able to break through.

There are a few downsides to using a screened enclosure, one of which is the cost. Depending on the size of your patio and the type of enclosure, it may cost up to $1,000 (or more). An enclosure may also restrict access to your patio. These are just a few things to consider when deciding whether or not an enclosure is a good idea.

Turn on the Fan

Turning on a fan can help keep your patio free of pests. Whether it’s an overhead fan or standalone oscillating fan, the increased airflow will literally blow insects off your patio.

Sodium Vapor Lights

Ever notice how insects migrate towards your patio lights? Sure you have! Most insects are attracted to light, which is why you see them buzzing around bulbs at night. Rather than turning off your patio lights, however, you can deter insects by replacing traditional incandescent white bulbs with sodium vapor bulbs.

Sodium vapor bulbs use sodium in an activated and “excited” estate to produce light, typically with a wavelength of roughly 589 nm. Technical jargon aside, they produce a more yellowed-colored light as opposed to the white light of an incandescent bulb. And because of their yellow light, sodium vapor bulbs don’t attract insects. As a side benefit, they also consume less energy than their incandescent counterpart.

If you have any questions regarding how an S&S Fire Pit can enhance your outdoor living space; We can help.