The porch's vaulted ceiling rises to 15 feet, which is 6 feet higher than the flat-ceilinged breezeway.

 

Sources
Chimney and fireplace masonry: by Randy Sells Stone Masonry, Inc., Richfield, NC; 704/463-7636. Floor paint: Mega Greige (7031); sherwin-williams.com. Sofa, love seat, and gliders: Classic Wicker Collection in Black Walnut (60167, 60168, and 60169) with cushions in Fife Wheat by Summer Classics (summerclassics.com) for Frontgate; frontgate.com. Pillows (on chairs): Bird And Nest Screen Print Pillow (D98); lacefielddesigns.com.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

You’ll never believe what is the number one, outdoor living must-have for spring and summer.

Zoë Gowen

I’ve spent years covering porches, patios, verandas—any and all types of outdoor spaces for this al fresco loving brand. Additionally, I’ve devoted many years to writing about entertaining, and without fail entertaining on a porch elicits the absolute best reader response. Don’t miss that Porch Party Primer that we tapped the nation’s best wedding planner, Tara Gureard to create for us.

But why is a porch party such a transcendental party setting? No matter the time of year, porches are places that remind us of the laissez faire ethos of summertime’s best. Time seems to stop. Agendas forgotten. Routines get delightfully interrupted. People become nicer. Everyone is united in a singular mission: the pursuit of a pleasant time. It feels old school, right?

Well, I’ve pondered the topic a lot and it boils down to two things: a porch is a hybridized indoor-outdoor setting. It’s the best of both worlds. With a roof over your head, there’s no chance that a mercurial Southern storm or merciless heat wave is a valid reason to cancel anyone’s porch time. Nothing can spoil a good time on a porch. Yet another reason why porches are only associated with positive thinking. There’s also the size factor that gets overlooked on most porch pro’s list. Most aren’t big and the one’s that are big don’t feel right. Because of this, making it to someone’s space-limited porches is a complimentary treat in and of itself. Given that “hand-selected nature” of a porch, it’s safe to assume that you won’t ever begrudgingly think of a porch party as an exercise in small talk like cocktail parties or seated dinners often become.

Pumped to invite people over to your porch? First make sure that you’re stocked with refreshments all spring and summer long with our porch must have: a low-profile, kegerator (who wants to deal with all those coolers, cans, and bottles?) and a commercial grade drink refrigerator (for the wine and LaCroix). You’ll never have to leave and neither will your company. 

If you must break out the hard stuff, here are a few of our favorite summer cocktails. Although nothing is as good as a margarita.