I love lanais, porches, verandas - whatever you call them - they are my favorites! I love being outdoors. The ultimate relaxation for me is to be outdoors and comfortable too. That is what the lanai's benefits are to me. Protecting me from the elements of too much sun, too much wind or too much moisture. A lanai or the multiple "lanais" is a roofed patio. Imagine a family room outside - that is my idea of a lanai. A lanai is commonly known as a space to relax, a respite from the beaming summer sun. The term "porch" is commonly used here in Midwestern United States. It is the more temperate climates (the southern and coastal states) that are accustomed to the term "lanai". A lanai is more than a special space to design and accent, it is a room experience. A room to relax and literally take time to enjoy. Journey with us as we explore over a dozen lanai designs, all sizes, all shapes, all colors. In the end, we will simply close with the largest lanai of all - perhaps the largest lanai in the world. Is the very biggest the best?! You be the judge.
Lanai - Such a Strange Term to a Simple Midwestern Girl
Lanai is a term derived from Hawaii, in fact, Lanai is sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. The Island of Lanai is also known as the Pineapple Island because of its connection to pineapple plantation. A lanai in our homes is typically larger than a porch, used more often and is often denoted, unlike a porch, with a complete set of comfortable furniture. Porches may have a swing or a chair or two but rarely a full living room with tables and lamps and lighting.
Relax and enjoy the Beauty of Nature
A lanai is ideal for taking in the play of evening lights where evening shadows are cast and the playfulness of a firefly or a butterfly grace you with their flight. Listen carefully for the sounds of the birds and the mating of the insects. If you have water nearby and hear frogs - remember that a pond that has frogs is a good sign of a great eco-system.
Design & Building Consideration
When reviewing your addition, take special note of the effects two locations - the exterior and the interior locations.
Exterior Location Effects
Just as the preference for a porch is facing south, so too, with the lanai. The southern exposure lessens the access to the heat of the day.
West is often not preferred due to the fact the sun is lower and lack of shadows.
Also, take into consideration, how will the extension of the home affect surrounding foliage? Will sun loving plants need to be repositioned? Will shady plants need to be added?
Interior Location Effects
Be especially considerate of the light into your home. Blocking views from commonly used windows will disappoint your overall enjoyment of your home and your beautiful new room. Walk through your home and study each window that is affected with the pending new structure.
Continuity with Home Architecture
The design and the materials of the new structure need to compliment or match the existing exterior. When the budget allows, completely match, when the budget is strained, seek complimentary colors - tan with tan (material may differ - color is the common element), brown with brown, etc.... If a match is not feasible, you might want to consider pulling in an accent color - white from the shutters or some other color already included in your exterior color scape.
If continuity is number one, its equal is functionally. Take steps to ensure your roof is pitched for drainage, include drapery for intense sun, and sliding windows or doors for inclement weather. Drainage is always a needed item. Remember when Dubai flooded - and they stated it never rained! Be prepared for the 100 year flood. Let your flooring drain as much as your roof line.
Check out adding a skylight, a column (if appropriate for your home's character), or a wooden ceiling (my personal favorite!).
As the numerous photos showcase, a lanai is as personal as you wish. From modern to classic to cool colors to seashore to warmth of trees for a view combined with the richness of redwood for the lanai ceiling. The choices and sizes are simply endless.
Bolder columns. Consider adding architectural columns to your new lanai. 4x4 or 6x6 posts or column. Go to back to the architectural rule number one and make sure the columns tie into your home's character and are scaled appropriately. Columns can be a great compliment and the variety is endless - round, squared, or tapered. Real or just for show - you are the designer. Let your imagination flow.
Unlike other rooms often, the ceiling is critical in the lanai. Remember it is an outdoor room so the wood ceiling is a perfect reflection of Mother Nature. Also beam and vaulted ceilings work well in the covered porch. Even if your home has standard ceilings throughout, consider raising the bar and having a higher ceiling for your lanai.
Porches From Functional to Beautiful with Wood Flooring
Enclosed Swimming Pool - Back Porch
Covered Porch with a View
Wood Ceiling on Covered Porch
Grand Daddy of all Porches - The Grand Hotel Veranda
660 Feet of Socializing and Relaxation - The Grand Hotel
Grandest Porch Lanai of All - The Grand Hotel
The grand daddy of all lanais, of all porches - perhaps world-wide, is the porch on Mackinac Island on the prestigious hotel aptly named The Grand Hotel. The porch spans 660 feet in length1. A grand location with an equally grand porch. Mackinac Island resides between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas. A popular tourist destination since the late 1800s. The hotel much like the porch is reflective of the era of the architecture. Beautiful and distinction Victorian complete with matching white rocking chairs that have endured the test of time. True to the Victorian era, the Island does not allow motorized vehicles. Further adding to the overall experience with horse and carriage transportation complimented only by bicycles.
In keeping with Victorian fashion, the grounds at the resort as a splendid display of color with bulbs and annuals filling the vistas, enhancing the view and creating that true Victorian, step back in time moments of delight and enjoyment.
Porches on Amazon
Porch & Sunroom Planner on Amazon
Scott H from Sioux Falls, SD on November 06, 2019:
Expanding the indoors into outdoor spaces is one of our favorite types of construction projects. Love the variety that you posted which is versatile for about any climate. Thanks for sharing!
-Hjellming Construction, Sioux Falls Home Remodeling Contractor
sujaya venkatesh on August 23, 2015:
Ken Kline (author) from Chicago, Illinois on April 21, 2015:
I am absolutely addicted to outdoor spaces especially verandas. And today, there are so many sofas and outdoor canvas ideas made specifically for that unique space.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing.
AJ from Australia on April 18, 2015:
Wow! The white porches will get my attention every time. Thank you for starting my day with such beautiful design.
Ken Kline (author) from Chicago, Illinois on February 09, 2015:
Hmmm, I had no idea where my fan mail slot is - thanks for the notification. But most importantly thank you so recognizing me. Your sincere gesture is very much appreciated.
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on February 05, 2015:
Love this hub. Colorful and vastly informative. Great job.
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Ken Kline (author) from Chicago, Illinois on November 04, 2013:
Hi Jenn Anderson,
I am so sorry to hear of your traumas. I appreciate you sharing because we can all learn. Sadly, products are only as good as the craftsman who are trained to use them properly. We have learned so much over the years and continue to learn. Sadly we still learn from our mistakes. I wish you the very best my friend.
Rhino Shield on October 22, 2013:
I am having l nightmares over the Rhino Shield covering on my house, installed just over three years ago. Large bubbles are
in the material that I can slit and hand peel the material, right down to the bare red cedar clapboards, which were also
primed with an oil primer and finished with latex paint before the Rhino-Shield was applied. The material has a lifetime
guarantee, so when I called several persons, including the owner Rhino Shield they all came over quickly.
Rhino Shield said that the material was probably put on when the cedar was damp, and thus would strip everything and apply a
new primer and finish coat, let dry, then apply new Rhino Shield, adding that there will be no more work till flashing
Read more about my issue here
lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on July 21, 2010:
Living in FLorida means living on your lanai -- screened in of course, unless you like feeding all the bloodsuckers out there. As you describe so eloquently here, our lanai is a combination outdoor dining room and sitting room, complete with TV for the cool evenings. I can't imagine anyone living here without one. Thanks for this homage to the lanai. Lynda
Tony Lawrence from SE MA on July 21, 2010:
Ayup. It's a screened porch to us and we have a nice one with an Eastern exposure looking into woods. Cool in the afternoon, sunny in the morning, we eat our meals there whenever we can.
mwatkins from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC on July 20, 2010:
Makes me want to grab my purse, pack a bag and GO! Beautiful, well-written and hugely informative! Thanks for a needed reminder to enjoy the great outdoors! Thumbs Up!