Building homes with useful outdoor spaces starts in the planning phase. These thoughtful designs make outdoor fun a serious priority, with layouts that position porches within easy reach of both living rooms and bedrooms.

Solana with Outdoor Kitchen

M. E. Parker Photography
M. E. Parker Photography

Filled with the hallmarks of modern luxury, this elegant home fits nicely on a relatively narrow lot. A stone-covered archway welcomes guests. Inside, the open great room, dining space, and island kitchen flow into one another. The island gives you plenty of room to prepare meals, while guests can mix their own drinks at the nearby bar. In back, walls of sliding glass doors open the home to the patio and solana, where you'll find an outdoor kitchen. The spacious master suite also opens to this area via French doors, as well as offering a spa-like bathroom with a huge walk-in shower, a freestanding tub, double vanities, and linen storage. Three more bedroom suites provide comfortable accommodations for family and friends. See more images, information, and the floor plan.

Even the Laundry Room Gets a Porch

Outdoor living reigns in this one-story Craftsman. Even the utility room boasts a porch, making it easy for dog-owners to grab a leash and head out for a walk. The great room, dining area, and master suite all open to the large network of porches in back. Here, you'll find a fireplace-warmed screen porch for colder months, a covered porch with skylights, and a patio. The kitchen offers lots of counter space with a central island and a separate bar area with a prep sink. Homeowners will love the master suite's walk-in closet, well-equipped bathroom, and easy proximity to the laundry room. Two more bedrooms (one of them can flex to become a study) share a bathroom on the opposite side of the home. See more images, information, and the floor plan.

Deck + Porch on Top, Patio Below

Perfect for a sloping lot, this graceful home includes two levels of outdoor living in back. The main level offers a deck and a screened porch, both accessed from the free-flowing gathering areas. A snack bar and separate island add utility to the kitchen. You'll love the abundant storage and large bathroom in the master suite, which is located on this level for convenience. Upstairs, another generous bathroom serves two bedrooms and a study. For even more space, finish the bonus room or the walkout basement. See more images, information, and the floor plan.

Possible Second Master Suite with Porch Access

Talk about ready for a porch party: this open layout wraps around a large covered porch in back, with two of the three bedrooms and the great room all opening to it. A long island provides seating space for six in the kitchen. A butler's pantry leads the way to the dining room. On the left side of the home, two bedrooms (or an office and a second master suite, depending on which doors are closed) share a Jack and Jill bath. Every bedroom boasts a large walk-in closet. Don't miss the master suite's double sinks, corner tub, and separate shower. On the exterior, stone and brick give enduring curb appeal, and the side-entry garage keeps the focus on the front. See more images, information, and the floor plan.