There are many variants of external enclosed additions to a home. These can leave a great visual impression but also serve as wonderful extensions to the living space. Some are ideal in warm weather, while others can make sitting outside in wintertime a reality.
While many different names are often used as synonyms, understanding the difference between porch, patio, verandah, or lanai enclosures can help determine which one will be the perfect match for its indoor base point.
A porch is built in front of the building entrance. It is an outside extension on the same floor level as the interior. Porches can often be enclosed for protection from the weather, insects, and other external factors. Sometimes, the enclosure is more stylistic and consists of columns, railings, or short walls. In other cases, a porch can be entirely isolated with screens or full-height walls. Finally, porches are always covered, mainly by a roof extension.
In essence, a verandah is a type of porch that stretches along one whole side of the building. Some verandahs can even go around the corner and encompass several sides. An alternative name for this extension is a wraparound porch. Like other porches, it's located on the floor level and placed under the roof. When screened, a verandah can become a full-blown expansion of a home.
Patios are built on the ground level, as opposed to porches and verandahs. Furthermore, a patio won't be directly connected to the building but instead placed near it. The most basic form of a patio is simply a paved surface in the yard, made of various materials. The paved space can be covered and enclosed, but this won't make a difference in defining it as a patio. If screened, it will serve as a sheltered outdoor oasis. Furthermore, with some heating, an enclosed patio will provide a unique outside experience in the colder months.
Lanai is the least well-known of the terms and comes from Hawaii. In the broader sense, any porch, verandah, or patio could be defined as a lanai. However, the name describes a more expansive space, more like an additional room outside a house. Lanais are connected to an entrance and covered by the building roof, much like other outer extensions. A lanai will traditionally be located around the back rather than the front door.
Home outside your home
Whether connected to the house or placed nearby, an outdoor extension will provide more space for all sorts of activities and a one-of-a-kind environment. As part of the building and yet separate areas, porches, verandahs, patios, and lanais bring an undeniable charm and more functionality to a home.
These external additions can further benefit from being different types of enclosures. Partial enclosures will keep more of the outdoorsy feel, while complete screens keep the extended space warm and clean for year-round enjoyment.