Maximizing Your Pergola Throughout the Seasons: 15 Decor and Plant Ideas
By Ed Ball | Published on October 16, 2023 | 6 min read
Your front porch is the gateway to your castle. Every home deserves a welcoming porch with a cheerful door and decorations that make you feel at home. Of course, most front porches are not spacious enough to hold many decorative items. If you have a small front porch, you’re not alone. Millions of homes have just enough porch to provide a few steps, a little shade, and protection from the rain as you unlock your front door. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a barren space.
There are many different ways to make your front porch pop with color, style, and details. With this guide, your front porch can become a beacon that both family and guests will feel drawn to as they arrive at your home.
One of the best ways to brighten up a small porch is to decorate the door. Door decorations don’t take up much space, while drawing the eye to the center of your front porch composition. Wreaths are the most popular way to decorate a front door, and you can change your wreath out to match every season or holiday to keep things lively.
Of course, you can also use hanging decorations other than wreaths. You can hang cheerful artwork, small blooming planters, metal signs, or holiday figures on your door, instead.
Your porch may be small, but you can always decorate the existing features. For example, a porch with columns or railings can be given new personality by spicing up these essential structures. You can add shapely trip to the eaves of your porch overhang, for example, or repaint your porch railings surprising and cheerful colors.
Many people wrap string lights or garlands around their front porch columns and railings during the holidays, and some love the look so much it becomes an all-year style. In some cases, you can even hang outdoor lanterns from the columns by running power up through the center.
A shady front walk is a wonderful way to give your front porch and front garden a little personality. Pergola structures are a great addition to the front yard because they provide shade, climbing space for vine plants, and give your curb appeal a touch of exotic style. Whether you’re going for a charming cottage look or a grandiose mansion approach, a pergola-shaded front walk is something every guest (and resident) will love when they arrive at your home.
Of course, your front porch light design is a wonderful way to make that small space feel more welcoming. Make your front porch glow in the night, acting as a beacon for family and visitors alike. If you have old or nonfunctional porch lights, you can always replace them with new wall-mounted lanterns. You can also hang an overhead light within a covered front porch to provide clear illumination over the entire sheltered space.
If you want to truly stand out, place colored light bulbs in your front porch lights so that your porch glow is unique from any other home on the street.
Seating can make any porch more comfortable. Small front porches often have just enough room for a bench, a porch swing, or two patio chairs. Adding seating adds a sense of coziness to your front porch. A nice bench or porch swing can also make it easier to remove muddy shoes at the entrance or relax with a guest in quiet hours just watching the neighborhood from the shelter of your porch.
In the age of online orders and constant deliveries, a small table is a popular porch addition. Give your delivery team a safe place to put new packages. A table can keep valuable packages from resting on the ground and save each delivery person the effort of stooping to set down your packages. The table can also act as additional shelter in bad weather or even protect your packages from porch pirates if expensive items will arrive while you are not home.
Very small porches often benefit from making use of symmetry. Place identical sculptures or potted plants on either side of your door with a wreath as the central element. Hang similar decor on posts that flank your front porch entrance and decorate both sides almost exactly the same. Using symmetry, even the simplest front porch designs will look elegant and artful.
Plants have a natural way of brightening up any front porch, especially when you have limited space. You could line your porch railing with thin herb planters or use small cluster of diferently-sized potted plants to give your front porch some vibrant personality. You can even use your vertical space and hang a few ivy plants or air plants from above to add some green to your porch without taking up precious floor space.
Playful sculptures are a popular choice for front porch decor. A frog butler, a seasonal penguin, or a cluster of colorful toadstool mushrooms are all fun choices that will reveal the personality of the family within. The best place to find the perfect front porch sculpture is at local markets, thrift stores, and antique malls where truly special items that have been forgotten by others will jump out when one matches your sense of humor and style.
Sidelights are glass panels that are placed on either side of a front door. They allow more light into the foyer, but they also can make a small front porch more beautiful. Many people frost their sidelights or even choose stained-glass panels instead of typical glass. The style of your sidelights will enhance the beauty of both your porch and foyer, making them an elegant and popular choice for smaller spaces.
Let’s not forget the magical effect of pathway lights. Light the way to your front porch with outdoor lights along the front walk. You can light the front porch stairs and place lamps on either side of the railing entrance to make it easier for people to find their way safely to your front door. Explore the selection of outdoor lighting styles to choose the ones that best complement your home’s exterior color and architectural design.
Lastly, don’t forget to update your porch decorations with each season or holiday. Your small porch will pop even more when guests are always curious to see how you have redecorated the small space. This gives you a chance to spotlight your designs like a piece of artwork in a museum because the porch itself sets the stage for each new arrangement.
At Ed Ball Landscape Architecture, we know what it takes to transform your outdoor space into a welcoming part of your home. Contact us for more great ideas on how to spruce up your front porch, back patio, and beyond.