How Can I Make My Outdoor Space More Inviting?

How Can I Make My Outdoor Space More Inviting?

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Janel Laban
Feb 2, 2010

Q: I have the challenge of a townhome back porch that I'd like to make more inviting, with a better, more inviting view from inside through the French doors, and more pleasant for sitting out of doors. Because the porch is mostly brick, it's extremely hot in the summertime for our dog (and for us).

The townhome is two stories, though, so I'm having trouble coming up with a covering or pergola or awning that would look trendy and yet provide the needed shade. I thought maybe an outdoor ceiling fan would give our dog some relief, but of course there's no ceiling (yet). I contemplated a little outdoor fountain, or a change to the wooden fencing to make the area feel wider and more inviting.

Plus, if there were suggestions of container plants or plantings for the small garden area that would discourage mosquitoes, that would be a plus. I'm also open to ripping out the wooden fencing and extending the lower brick portion of the wall under the fencing to making a planter, although I'd probably need an idea for a replacement for the fencing to maintain privacy. I'm even open to changing the look of the French doors, if that would help. All suggestions are welcome!

I've attached several pictures of the area. The porch is 9'4" x 29' feet, and the garden area is 9'4" x 6 feet. Of course, all the "junque" pictured in the space can be done away with, although it would be nice if the dog house could remain (or be transformed in some way, if that's possible).

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