How-to- #PrepYourPorch: Front porch sitting and security
Oct 19, 2023, 3:30 PM
Front porches are the heroes of many neighborhoods. Porches provide shelter and security and can add to our home’s aesthetics. If the homes in your neighborhood are lucky enough to have front porches, our guess is y’all have a vibrant neighborhood as well.
Virtues of a Front Porch
A front porch can extend your outdoor living space. Much is dependent on a few aspects of the porch’s design. Porch designs come in all shapes and sizes. A front porch in the Southwest is commonly centered on or adjacent to a home’s front door. A front porch can set the design style for your home, giving it a welcoming feeling. The proximity to the sidewalk also plays a significant part in the role of your porch.
Most porches are ready for business when they are big enough for a couple of chairs. Porches serve several functions:
• Sitting: A porch is a great space to relax. Think about installing a porch swing or setting up a couple of Adirondack chairs! Add a small table for refreshments and your favorite book.
• Greeting: The porch is a great place to greet the occasional passerby. This function cannot be overstated. In all the places our family has lived, one of the most fulfilling benefits of front porch sitting is talking to our neighbors while they are out walking for fitness or the dog. The more social the neighborhood, the safer it is, and we don’t need statistics for that!
• Shelter: A common use of the porch overhang is a covering that protects the front door from inclement weather. Why, it can even give some temporary shelter to one of those neighbors you talk to when a surprise shower hits.
• Accessibility: Many front porches connected to an entry are at the same level as your home’s ground floor, allowing folks with mobility issues, such as a walker or wheelchair, to get out and engage other folks and not be lonely. It sure beats looking out the window!
• Decorations. If you like to decorate your home for the seasons and the holidays, well, by golly, the front porch provides an excellent canvas for you to be creative year-round.
• Create a private space; If you want a portion of the front porch to be more private, landscaping can help. Lattice work combined with climbing plants can make for a great screen while adding color to your home during the growing season.
Challenges of a Front Porch
While we heartily extol the virtues of having a front porch, we would be remiss if we didn’t give y’all a heads up about some of the few but serious challenges you might face.
Security can be an issue if your porch provides a space hidden from view when you either step out of or into the front door. A hidden space might give a potential attacker an advantage. Should your porch be designed and built with a space like this, there are ways to increase your security and eliminate the threat.
• Lighting: Make sure you leave a light on when you leave the house. Set the lighting so no dark spots conceal those weird spaces. Schedule them to come on at dusk and off at dawn.
• Windows: Be sure to have a window to look out on the porch before you go outside. This view is great if you just heard something and want to see outside. Check first before walking outside. If you don’t have a window with a good porch view, install a peep hole in the door for viewing outside activity.
• Furniture: Position tables or chairs in hidden corners, discouraging anyone from lurking there.
• Security Cameras: These cameras are becoming quite popular. Even the doorbell can be a camera. Cameras can take live streaming video and store the video for a time. Many cameras have an app allowing you to view the video feed on your phone and your computer. This video view allows you the opportunity to check out the goings on from anywhere in the house or while you are away. A notification function can be easily programmed to let you know if someone is walking up to the house or around the house.
• Porch Pirates: With the increase in our buying habits switching from going to the brick-and-mortar store to online shopping, the number of packages coming to our homes has risen substantially. Front porches and front entryways are typically where our purchase packages are delivered. The delivery folks will typically ring the doorbell and leave if a signature is not required. Porch pirates are the infamous few that troll neighborhoods, seeking out unattended packages and stealing them. Here are some steps you can take to thwart the thieves.
▪ Create an area on the porch where the delivery person can conceal the package from view.
▪ Install a parcel cabinet.
▪ Secure deliveries with a device such as a parcel vault. This handy device secures the package inside your home.
Front porches have been around for a long time yet, some suburban subdivisions have not yet included this feature in their new home designs. Many builders are now relooking at the front porch as a positive design choice and sales are doing quite well.
Architects and community planners have recently looked at reduced setbacks in planned communities to bring the porches closer to the sidewalk. This is a real plus for home designs to assist in creating a sense of community.
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Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert since 1988, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program. Call 888-767-4348 with questions & comments.