How to create a tropical porch
How to create a summer tropical porch
I have always dreamed of having a secluded tropical porch where I can sit back and relax, read a good book, sip a cup of tea, watch the antics of hummingbirds, or have a small intimate summer backyard party.
We had a redwood covered porch built outside the master bedroom several years ago to keep the bedroom cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. However, it looked bare, uninviting and therefore, not used very much. It took me many years to analyze, plan, and decide to turn the backyard porch into a tropical porch.
Follow the gradual transformation of the porch into a Zen and summer tropical porch.
All photos were taken by yours truly (Bakerwoman)
Our redwood deck porch - The bare beginnings of a tropical porch
The covered area of the porch measures 20 ft. x 10 ft. and built with redwood heart. It served as an extension of the master bedroom to protect the bedroom from the summer heat and the winter rains. But it looked bare, plain and underutiliized. There was a roll-up bamboo blind to add some privacy to the bedroom. Electrical outlets and switches were installed on the two posts with floodlights for nighttime lighting. There is a Japanese-style lamp outside the bedroom which has been there forever.
Lay out the outdoor rugs - Define the seating areas and make it warm and inviting
These outdoor rugs are durable, tough, and add an indoor coziness to the porch. Each one measures 5ft. x 7.5 ft. and are laid side-by-side. The center rug has a darker pattern because it gets the most traffic from the bedroom. The rugs also define the seating areas which I separated into the lounging area and the eating area.
Outdoor rugs from Amazon - Add color and style to the outdoor areas
Outdoor rugs perk up the outdoor area with bright patterns and colors. Store your rug during the winter and rainy seasons by cleaning it and rolling it up away from the elements. This way it's ready for the warm weather the next time around.
Bring out the cooler
Multi-purpose outdoor furniture
I saw this wooden outdoor cooler in an import store and a light bulb turned on in my head. This is just what I had been looking for. It will serve as a cooler for drinks when we decide to eat outside, as a stand for my meditating buddha, and as a storage place for the outdoor cushions in the winter. Well, not necessarily in that order. What a versatile piece of furniture.
Buddha looks so cool on the cooler - Bringing in a sense of tranquility to the back porch
There is something that is so calming about the presence of this Buddha which have been in the back porch for several years now. The only problem was that it used to sit on a set of stacking teak end tables which did not seem appropriate. I am really thrilled that I found this outdoor cooler that could easily pass for a piece of fine furniture but can withstand the elements.
Meditating Buddha statue
This is one of the nicer Buddha statues that I have seen. It sends a calm and serene atmosphere in a home or in the backyard porch. Play relaxation music and meditate or do your daily Yoga asanas.
Eco-friendly eucalyptus lounge chairs - Aged well and easy to maintain.
These high-quality and eco-friendly eucalyptus reclining chairs were purchased online ten years ago from Target. It is great to sit back and relax on these comfortable chairs which fold up easily for storage. These are low-maintenance certified hardwood, durable as teak and has great value due to its density, smooth finish and wood grain. Take them out from storage and just wipe them down with a damp cloth when the weather warms up and these are ready for the next round of summer backyard fun.
The Ming-style (with bowed legs) hardwood planter stand was a great find at a discount store. It is heavy and large enough to serve as an ottoman for the lounge chair.
Cushion the lounge chair for comfort
Sometimes a little padding for your back and behind makes it more conducive to sit back and relax. I purchased two outdoor patio chair cushions which easily fold up for storage. These will easily fit in the outdoor cooler (where the Buddha statue sits) when Winter comes around.
The hardwood stacking tables ( there were 3 of them) were purchased from a local supermarket years ago for $50 which I thought was a steal. There was no price tag on them during the clearance and the salesman decided to sell them to me for that price. The Buddha garden statue used to meditate on top of these end tables for a couple of years. Somehow it just did not feel right.
Ottoman can instantly turn into an end table to serve a drink aside or an extra seat
Add the sound of a gurgling fountain - Relax and rejuvenate with the trickling sound of water
This self-contained waterfall fountain has a quiet pump and just need water and then plugged in. The sound of water gently tumbling down the rocks is so calming and puts one in a meditative mood. Two pots of pothos add a splash of color to the fountain.
So what's wrong with this picture? - The porch is too bright and glaring
Who would want to recline on these lounge chairs only to be blinded by the sun's UV light? The porch is way too open, lacks privacy, and need to be partitioned away from the rest of the deck.
Roll down the bamboo blinds - Create privacy with filtered light and enjoy your Zen moment
Now this is what I call an inviting outdoor nook to get away from it all. The roll-up bamboo blinds provide shade, adds privacy and a tropical touch. Serenity abounds with the presence of the meditating Buddha and the calming effect of the gurgling fountain. A favorite book and a glass of white wine complete the picture of your time to yourself.
The roll-up blind behind the lounge chairs could not exceed 6 ft. to allow the bathroom door to swing open without hitting it. All the other blinds are 8 ft.. long and were very easy to install. Although these are outdoor blinds, these have to be used in a covered porch to last through the years. I just vacuum and dust these occasionally and keep these rolled up during the Winter season. The roof of the porch keep the blinds dry.
Turn the tropical porch into a Yoga Room - Easy and quick transformation
The great thing about folding lounging chairs is that these are collapsible and portable. As soon as the area is cleared, roll out the meditative Yoga mat to do some breathing exercises or engage in a session of Pilates. The sound of the gurgling fountain, the natural diffused light coming through the bamboo blinds will set the calming mood. Incense, candles or essential oils will help with relaxation. Buddha is still the point of inspiration.
LED lights of the fountain adds to the ambience to the porch
I really like this fountain which has a very quiet pump and has the optional LED lights to set the mood for relaxation. The gentle gurgling sound of the flowing water calms, soothes, and acts as "white noise" to cancel out distractions of every day life.
Set up the dining area - Eclectic but tied together
What is a secluded tropical porch without a place to dine? All the pieces of the furniture in this picture are a mix of the old and new. The wicker peacock chair is at least 30 years old and used to take up space in the master bathroom. It was put outside on the deck and was almost given away. I had a change of heart and it is good thing a woman is allowed to change her mind.
The folding wood table and the teak chair came from discount stores purchased two years ago. The only two new additions this year are the folding eucalyptus chairs which were on sale ($53 each) at a plant nursery. These are heavy eco-friendly hardwood chairs and well-worth the price I paid for them.
Chair fit for royalty - Peacock wicker chair
This chair is thirty-something years old but does not look its age. It is made of woven rattan and has survived many seasons. Often referred to as a Peacock chair or Hospitality rattan chair, this piece spices up the tropical theme.
Hospitality rattan chairs - Peacock thrones
Who can resist sitting in one of these hospitality Peacock chairs?
Folding teak chair - I love teak
Teak is a pricey hardwood but this one was a steal. The folding teak chair was a clearance item from a discount store. So you might say I bought it on deep discount. The reversible chair cushions with tie backs fit the lounge chair and this chair. Depending on the need, these cushions can move from chair to chair. These can be folded and stored in the cooler box ( where the Buddha sits) in the winter months.
Outdoor patio chair cushions - Brighten up your seats with color
Fade-resistant, mildew-resistant, weather-resistant outdoor patio chair cushions make your life so much easier. Brush off or vacuum dirt and spot clean.
Two folding eucalyptus chairs - Eco-friendly hardwood is the only way to go
My favorite cheeses
Swiss cheese plate
Parmesan cheese plate
Table is set - It's time for a backyard wine and cheese party
The table is set and it is time for the wine and cheese summer backyard party. Dressing up the table is always so fun. The cheese plates add a nice theme to the wine and cheese on the table. The grass placemats (these are old) add a hint of the tropics. Throw in some green seedless grapes, juicy red strawberries, mixed nuts and chocolate truffles. Shall we toast to the finished tropical porch?
Cheese plates for cheese and wine tasting parties - One can never have too many of these
Cheese plates come in handy in any kind of parties. These are great for small portions, appetizers, cheese, crackers, and fruits. Collect a bunch of them and let the conversation roll.
Pile appetizers on these colorful plates that make a statement.
The completed tropical porch - A great summer getaway that is not too far away from home
As you can see here, the lounging area is separated from the eating area. The outdoor rugs helped define the seating areas without drawing too much attention. I intentionally chose the neutral tones to blend with the natural beauty of the redwood deck, the eucalyptus and teak furniture.
In the WInter, this porch becomes a storage area for all the folding table and chairs. The Buddha has never been moved from its original location. It must truly have blessed my backyard with good Karma.
Hardwood tables and end tables - Quality wood at great prices
Sturdy, well-constructed, easy to set up and store tables for the patio or porch are prerequisites for money well spent. These will give you many years of usage and enjoyment.
Hardwood outdoor chairs - Nothing beats the beauty of real wood
Stacking and folding hardwood chairs are easy to set up and put away when not in use. These are beautiful and will lasts for many years.
When the party is over - turn the tropical porch into a personal internet cafe
You may not be able to surf in a tropical beach but you sure can in cyberspace. Lower the bamboo blinds to dim the porch, turn on your laptop and surf the web or watch your favorite movie in seclusion. A nice pot of your favorite herbal tea nearby saves a trip to the kitchen.
Bamboo roll-up blinds are very versatile in creating seclusion, providing shade and privacy, as well as opening up the tropical porch into a wide open party room.