Make the Most of Your Porch This Summer

Whether you’re sipping cold brew after a morning run or catching up with old friends over a glass of wine as the sun sets, the porch is a prime spot to slow down and savor summer. Vow to make the most of it by adopting a few (or all) of these rules of summer that put the good stuff—hello, hammock nap—at the top of your to-do list.

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1. I will savor my first cup of coffee outdoors.

Getting some fresh air first thing in the morning starts the day off on a positive note. Bring your mug of coffee or tea onto the porch to sip while watching the clouds, writing in your journal or reading something inspirational.

2. I will prioritize connection over perfection.

When we can do this, it’s a lot easier to say yes to having friends and neighbors over for impromptu gatherings. And while hosting with grace means letting go of perfection, it also means being honest with ourselves about what we want to take on. If having people over for dinner just feels like too much, it’s better to find a workable alternative (porch party, perhaps?) than commit to an event when your heart’s not in it.

3. I will say yes to eating outside.

The porch is the perfect way station between indoors and out: partially enclosed (whether or not you have screens) yet open to the breezes and fresh air. This makes it the ideal place to enjoy a meal outdoors, since you get all the benefits of alfresco dining without the risk of getting caught in a summer rain shower.

4. I will encourage hammock napping.

When you find yourself with a lazy afternoon and the cries of “I’m bored!” begin issuing from kids and grown-ups alike, try doing…nothing. Allowing for downtime may feel uncomfortable at first if you’re used to having a full schedule, but we all need some wide-open space in our lives. Just wait it out and see what happens. Once the books have been read, the garden watered and the dog walked, maybe someone will find their way to the hammock to swing and daydream.

5. I will treat my porch to a bouquet of fresh flowers.

Who says flowers are just for inside the house? The next time you come across a great deal on seasonal blooms at the market or farm stand, scoop up an extra bouquet especially for your porch. This small touch can go a long way toward making your porch feel like a bona fide outdoor room.

6. I will give my house a name, at least for the summer.

In the purely-for-fun category, why not give your house a name for the summer? Get a sign made, enlist your kids to create one or do it without the sign—the important part is to have fun with it.

7. I won’t complain about a bad view, I’ll just get gorgeous outdoor curtains.

If you haven’t been using your porch as much as you’d like because of an unattractive view or too-close neighbors, make this the year you address the issue. And while fences and living walls (aka shrubbery) are fine permanent solutions, if you’re looking for a quicker fix, outdoor curtains may be just the ticket. They create a visual barrier without completely blocking the light, and they’re easily removed if you change your mind down the road.

8. I will savor the last drops of sunset.

I can’t think of a much more relaxing scene than this: sitting on the porch, glass of wine (or mug of tea) in hand, the sun dipping below the horizon as the heat of a summer day fades to welcome a cool evening breeze, the sound of crickets chirping and birds participating in one last chorus before retiring to their nests. Summer is glorious. Let’s savor every last bit.

Tell us: How do you use your porch in the summer?