Yes, we have a deck and it was a lemon too. After considering all of my options I decided to address circulation and continuity over aesthetic. I made only minor changes to the existing deck, planning to enclose it in the future as a screen porch. I focused on multileveled, covered walkways connecting to the geometric patio. The results were unbelievable; we could use our back door for the first time. Our screened porch is top priority and will begin this summer.

My first decision was to solve the problem of connection between the home’s interior and the new porch. My solution would remove and existing dining room window and replace it with French doors which would achieve both a more aesthetic view and better access. The addition of the French door greatly improved the interior light and enabled us to better visualize the space and all its potential.

Outside, the first step was the removal of the old, existing “lemon” deck. However, all of the materials would be recycled. With the site cleared the construction of block columns, which would support the porch, were built. Next the floor of the porch was framed and extended to a new dimension of 32 feet by 12 feet which doubled the deck space. My reasoning for extending the porch beyond the outline of the house was to surround the porch with screens to maximize the summer breeze.

The second phase was the construction of the walls and roof. Screened panels from floor to ceiling measured 36 inches wide with a low pitch roof allowed for a finished coffered ceiling. The perimeter of the porch was accented with painted spindles and handrails, this added detail and closure while protecting the screen from pets. Completing the interior, recessed lighting, receptacles and ceiling fans created a respite from the hot and humid Memphis summers both day and night.

As the back porch construction took shape, my focus became the design of a transitional area to connect the upper porch to the covered walkways. This intermediate deck, built from recycled materials from the existing “lemon” deck, expanded the gathering and grilling area and provided access to the lawn area below. This multilevel concept has given us several outdoor rooms to enjoy. The large screened porch has expanded our dining and entertaining areas, the intermediate deck is sunny and allows another option to enter the back lawn and the covered grilling area is conducive to the kitchen and outdoor dining.

A bonus to the new porch was a storage area beneath the floor. Part of the storage is a dry area capable of storing equipment, furniture and a potential location for an outdoor shower. The remainder of theĀ  space will be screened with removable lattice panels which will appear to float between columns veneered in stone to match the home.

With all construction completed, I began visualizing the furniture needs and layout. The space allows for two separate functions, outdoor dining and relaxing. Because of the openness of the screened porch, and to meet its needs, I selected all weather furnishings from Four Seasons Furniture to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. As for the dining portion of the space a granite countertop with a built in sink serving as a bar with bar stools, would complete the dining space which includes tables and chairs.