Porches are a timeless treasure! They’re the place you can enjoy a cool glass of sweet tea in the summer and where you can watch the fireflies with your grandkids in the evening. You can enjoy a patio all year round with any member of your family and friends. In the past, they were where all the gossip was discussed and invitations to events exchanged. Today, porches and backyards — especially among Southerners — are still going strong.

But what do you need to make your porch ideal for winter, summer, spring, and fall?

4. Season- Ready Seating

Obviously, the right furniture makes for a cozy porch in cool weather and a breezy one on hot days. Create a blend of design ideas that you can utilize in every season. Add a porch swing or a hammock on one side with a wicker couch or loveseat on the other. You can snuggle up with some blankets and hot chocolate or layabout in the hammock with a fan and a good book.

Choose seating that is weatherproof, rust-resistant, and durable to guarantee your investment in decor lasts for years. You should also decorate in a style that suits you! Use your favorite colors and patterns, as well as unique materials to create your own personal paradise.

3. Inviting Lighting

Whether you’re enjoying a front, back, or side porch, you’ll need proper lighting to get the most out of spending evenings with your family outdoors.

“Creative lighting can really transform a space. Whether you choose string lights or modern farmhouse chandeliers, create DIY masterpieces from found objects or buy a unique sconce, beautiful and functional lighting is within your grasp,” said Meggan Fadden Wynja, Interior Designer & Director of Color Cord Company. “It can be as simple as using a rattan or grass basket to create your own custom lamp. It’s a huge trend right now and not too hard to do either.”

Don’t just choose utilitarian lighting solutions for your exterior space. Make your porch just as much about your design aesthetic as you would in your living room or kitchen.

2. Useful Accessories

Once you have the furniture and lighting in place, it’s time to think about what you plan to do on your porch. If all you want to do is hang out and relax, then the only things you need are a bunch of comfortable pillows and perhaps a side table or two for drinks, food, and card playing. For larger patios that can handle big events, you may want to add in a grilling station, bar cart, or children’s playpen for the ultimate entertainment location.

1. Friendly Floral and Fun Features

Your focus shouldn’t just be about the porch itself — you want to make the most out of every part of your exterior spaces. From meandering stone walkways or flower pots lining the paths to koi ponds, vegetable gardens, and mini waterfalls, you can add a number of specialty features to your entire yard that complement your porch. Landscaping plays a huge roll in how attractive and eye-catching a home is, and a little work around the area can really make things pop.

Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate and finance.