Choosing the Right Structures for Your Outdoor Living Space

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Having a deck, porch, or other type of living structure provides you with a spot to enjoy fresh air while offering shade and shelter from the weather. Which kind of structure should you pick for your home? Keep the following options in mind to help you choose which one would be the best fit for your outdoor living spot.

Four or Three Season Rooms

These kinds of rooms offer the most shelter compared to any other structures. They also give you an outdoor living spot that you can use throughout the year. A four or tree season room is more suitable if you enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors and have allergies or other health conditions that make things difficult. With a four or three-season room, you can continue to enjoy the outdoors even if you start to experience any health changes over the years. Your three or four-season rooms can include all types of entertainment options, like a television. You could install a ceiling fan or other HVAC components that allow you to keep the room warm and cool as you need it. For windows and window treatments, energy-efficient glass and coatings are highly recommended, along with some retractable blinds. One drawback, though, is that you’ll have to cook outdoors or in an adjacent spot rather than cooking inside your four or three season room.

Covered Porches

A deck with a covered porch provides shelter from the rain and sun, which makes this a nice choice for those that wish to spend more time outside. Since a covered porch is protected from all of the elements to an extent, you have more design choices to consider. You could choose from a wider range of materials for your covered porch, and you do not have to worry that much about any weather-related maintenance and upkeep. A covered porch won’t protect you from the cold or hot temperatures, allergens, and bugs, though. So keep this in mind when you are talking with your home contractor.


A deck with a pergola offers an easy way to ensure that you or older relatives have a spot to place time outdoors. Pergolas can have shades added for privacy, and they’re a good way to protect all of your plants. These structures offer shade when you’ve got them installed on a large, open, composite deck. If you have a bigger sized deck, you will still have space for an outdoor kitchen or a grilling spot.

Free Deck Plans
and DIY Designs

Hundreds of DIY deck plans to choose from and download

Plan 2LM2614P10

This 2 level deck features a 10′ x 12′ top deck completely covered by a decorative pergola. The 16′ x 14′ bottom deck design casually

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Plan 1LL1412

This 14′ x 12′ deck features clipped corners, an overhead pergola, and a cascading staircase. The pergola provides shade and an element of enclosure over

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Plan 1LK2212

This 22′ x 12′ deck mixes things up with an angled front face and a central stair that follows the geometry of the undulating perimeter.

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