What, Exactly, is a Porch?

Pool and Patio Glossary

House with front porch
Perry Mastrovito/ Image Source/ Getty Images

Porches have their history in early America and are often associated with a simpler time and way of life, free of small-screen distractions. Traditionally, one thinks of a physical front porch as an open room attached to the front of a house or residence.

A low structure -- often with a roof -- situated at the entrance of a house or building. A porch usually does not have windows and is an outdoor living space. Porches also can be enclosed or screened-in to provide protection from insects or extremes in weather. Porches were often built on houses in the early 1900s. Among their many purposes, porches:

  • Serve as an informal extension of the parlor or living room.
  • Provide shade and a place to relax during the summer
  • Used to be a form of neighborly socialization in small towns.
  • People would go for evening strolls and visit with neighbors sitting on their front porches.


Also Known As: Balcony, Sun Porch, Screened-in Porch, Enclosed Porch, Patio, or Loggia

Common Misspellings: Portch

Examples: After dinner, we like to sit on the front porch and watch the neighbors walk past our house.