Transform your porch and create the perfect hangout for the summer with these 5 ideas.

1. First things first. Winter weather can leave the porch in less than prime condition. A porch that isn't sealed will succumb to splits, mildew, algae and even fungus. If you're not sure the porch needs sealing, do the water test. Sprinkle water on the wood. If it soaks it in immediately, your deck needs to be sealed. If the water beads stay on, you're not quite there just yet. We loved these

2. As the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer, there's no better way to enjoy these spring and summer nights than to spend evenings winding down on your porch. Summer sunsets bring with them the challenges of darkness and mosquitoes. To create a relaxing, bug-free ambiance, consider the soft glow of string lights combined with the mosquito-repelling power (and refreshing scent) of citronella candles. If you're feeling especially adventurous, Katie & Eric can walk you through how to make your own.

Porch Project

3. Planters can add a burst of greenery and color to any living space, outdoors or indoors. The biggest issue is finding planters that don't take up too much space and leave us with plenty of room to enjoy sitting (or sleeping, see idea 5) lazily on the porch. Hanging baskets solve that problem by moving the garden upward. The best part is you can change the contents for a new look every season.

4. Having a beautiful outdoor space is wonderful… as long as the elements stay outside. With rains, mud, dirt and pets and kids enjoying the outdoors, it can be hard to keep the outside from messing up the inside. These non-slip door mats do a great job of separating the dirt and grime, letting the kids and pets in while keeping the mess out. They're made by artisans from natural, recycled rubber and sustainable fibers from coconut shells so you can feel good about cultivating a non-toxic and eco-friendly environment for you and your family.

5. The most relaxing part of the porch is undoubtedly the seating. Comfortable seats are very important to make the porch and functional and enjoyable. The traditional porch swing is a classic look and feel, but we also like the idea of rockin

a. porch swing: an eco-friendly option made in Wisconsin using only fast-growing and invasive wood species.

rocking chair Made right up there in Vermont, using local materials, these chairs are functional, beautiful and sustainable.

c. hammocks: these beautiful hammocks are made my artisan weavers who were in a cycle of extreme debt and poverty. You can feel good about daydreaming on these hammocks knowing you're helping build a brighter future for them and their families simply by taking a nap.