How To Design Outdoor Spaces for Enjoying Year-Round

Porch season never ends in the South.

2021 Idea HouseLouisville, KY
Photo: Marta Xochilt Perez

For many Southerners, porches are open-air extensions of our living rooms. Over the past year, especially, outdoor gathering spaces have been essential for safely visiting with family and friends. When our team had started designing our Kentucky Idea House, adding spacious porches for year-round living were at the top of their to-do list. With the Ohio River in our backyard, the house is oriented around the rear view. The sweeping landscape can be taken in from every inch of the 534-square-foot covered porch, plus the patio and bourbon pavilion that are nestled into the yard. These areas for entertaining and relaxing are so good you'll never want to come inside.

Living: Design for All Seasons

Set right off the kitchen, the outdoor living room is a cozy spot for morning coffee or evening cocktails. Teak furniture with plush cushions covered in durable outdoor fabric can stand up to both spills and weather. A wood-burning fireplace anchors this hangout spot, making it equally as inviting during chilly winter months. Screening this section would have obstructed the view, so the team opted to keep it open-air with columns that mimic those on the front porch.

2021 Idea House Outdoor Kitchen
Laurey W. Glenn

Dining: Bring the Party Outside

The second section of the covered porch is a dining room for alfresco entertaining—rain or shine! A long rectangular table from Summer Classics Home can fit a crowd. Copper lanterns add another element of warmth and age to the space. Down the steps, there's a built-in outdoor kitchen, plus around dining table for hosting and friends for cookouts.

2021 Idea House bourbon pavilion
Laurey W. Glenn

Relaxing: Take in the View

Set on the edge of the bluff underneath an old oak tree, a bourbon pavilion offers a front-row seat to the Ohio River. Here you can catch breezes on warm summer days or curl up around a fire on cold winter nights. Glasses of bourbon are meant to be enjoyed in the cozy Adirondack chairs all year long.

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