What’s the point of having a front and back porch if you can’t even enjoy them? If you’re tired of the outdoor space you already have, want to make it more enjoyable for you and your family, or have built your new home and now it’s time to add a little charm, these simple guidelines will make your job of creating a space everyone will love much easier. Here at The Corbel we believe every portion of your home should be enjoyed, not just the inside! But as many of you know, it can not only can it be difficult to create an environment where people to be, but where they can take a big deep breath and feel some sort of serenity while in that space. While there are so many ways in which you can create an enjoyable outdoor space for both you and your guests, there are several constants no matter the shape or form it may take. So if you are ready to start the journey of allowing yourself the much-needed place of peace or respite, keep reading!


  • Level of Privacy or Feeling of a Separate Space
  • Comfortable Seating
  • Appropriate Lighting
  • Center Piece



Regardless of whether you want a place to drink your coffee in the morning or a place the entire family can enjoy a meal, one of the most important things you can do is allow your creation to “own” its space. While this may sound vague in nature, you know it when you see it.

One way this can be done is by adding some form of border around your area and “defining” the space, whether that be a brick wall, a picket fence, or a row of boxwoods. Having your outdoor area contained to some degree will allow both yourself and your guests to focus on what is before them and in some ways can be related to a sense of security. But a wall or linear physical barrier is not your only option. There is definitely space for creativity such as using pots or olive jars to define an entry, using light as the definition of space at night, or adding furniture and seating around the central point of focus. This brings us to our next point, creating a center piece.



Don’t let this one fool you, the centerpiece does not necessarily mean an item in the center of the space, though it can, this just refers to the purpose and goal you have for your area. The reason everyone loves eating together, and the means of them eating together is that there is a table that joins them. The reason everyone loves roasting marshmallows together is that there is a fire between them. And the reason people love drinking their coffee together on the porch is that there is a view they admire. The word, “centerpiece,” could really be translated to an object that solidifies the purpose of the space. So before you begin to lay out the plans for your porch, garden, or yard, think about how you want that space to be utilized and how to ensure no one will miss what you are trying to achieve.



Unless you are creating an outdoor concert venue with general admission access, you typically want someplace to stop and enjoy all that is around you. In every garden, there is a bench, around every campfire is a chair, and on every porch is a rocking chair. Having a good place to sit and enjoy your coffee or allow your many friends a place to congregate and enjoy good conversation can absolutely complete your outdoor space. One of our favorite seating (or sleeping!) items we place in our outdoor spaces is a bed swing! Not only does it accommodate several people, but it also provides for a great afternoon nap location or coffee sipping and book reading getaway.


Unless you want to lock the door and call it a night as soon as the sun goes down, you’ll need to supply some artificial sunlight to your location. This is not typically an issue when it comes to a porch, but when you are dealing with a garden, gazebo/pergola, or any other detached space, adding some form of light becomes necessary. The charming quintessential lighting produced by a nice fire and simple string lights are of course a great option, but if that is not available there are other options such as solar-powered ground lights at the base of a large oak tree or at the foot of a large pot. We typically like to take a simple approach that allows us to provide enough light to showcase the area, but not too much so that it overwhelms or draws your attention away from the space.


At the end of the day, you should be able to sit and relax in your outdoor space without the distraction of work or the other 8-5 worries you may have! And if you follow these four simple guidelines, you should be well on your way to providing that luxury to yourself, your friends, and your family!

July 12, 2023 — Alex Hardee