We most commonly consider patios and all outdoor living spaces to be the exclusive domain of the backyard. After all, it is out back where we entertain our friends and relatives or just our own family in privacy, “far from the madding crowd.” Keep in mind that the back yard may have the swimming pool, the hot tub spa, the horse shoe pit, the volleyball/badminton/tennis net, the children’s play set with its swings and slides and monkey bars. Furthermore, here in the back we can create an outdoor kitchen, dining area, sitting area and outdoor bar; this outdoor living area becomes a natural extension of the comfort and privacy we enjoy indoors. However, why should the back yard be the exclusive domain of an outdoor patio? Of course we would not want most of these elements out front fully exposed to passersby but what about a simple sitting area at the front of the house?
It is time to reconsider the front yard patio; there are several reasons why to have one.
If we take a drive or stroll through any older, well established neighborhoods in any community across the country, those grand old houses with their large porches and verandas will be sitting there surrounded by large shade trees soaking up the appreciative glances cast their way. There may be homeowners sitting on porch swings or rockers or gliders or other types of patio furniture just whiling the day away, relaxing or reading or simply watching us pass by along the sidewalk. They may be doing the ironing or putting together a puzzle or building an antique model car or airplane. They may nod, or wave or even say hello and comment on the weather as we pass by. These grand old houses already have built-in front yard patios of a sort that project an old-fashioned romance which has its own rules of etiquette and procedure; they are warm and welcoming venues but we are only allowed to appreciate them from the sidewalk unless we are invited closer. We are allowed though to appreciate what these outdoor living areas offer their owners and consider how we can create or at least approximate the same kind of ambiance at home in our houses.
What we want then is to re-discover and re-invent this old-fashioned romance in our modern neighborhood.
The problem we face of course is that most moderately priced houses (if there is such a thing) built over the past twenty years in new surveys are not designed to contain this kind of grandiose patio setting on a large porch or veranda. This trend is a result partly of modern urban planning which attempts to make the greatest use of available land and partly as a means of creating affordable housing (if there is such a thing) in the face of today’s skyrocketing real estate and construction costs
Thus, we need to consider creating our own version of the front yard patio and incorporate it into the design of the house we have.