What is a portico?
A portico is a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns leading to the entrance of a building.
What is the purpose of adding a portico?
Adding a portico gives a small area of coverage in an entryway providing shelter from the rain. It also adds architectural detail and defines an entryway.
Why we decided to add a portico to our garage:
When we purchased our home we knew it needed a fair bit of work. One thing that was a terrible eye sore was the detached garage. The house was built in 1900 and at some point a two-car garage was added. It’s hard to say when exactly, but in this town it had to be a long time ago because it is in the backyard. Planning & Zoning would never have signed off on this. With an older home, it’s pretty nice to have a two-car garage.
The first thing we did was remove a lot of over grown landscape around the garage and the entire property. We created more of an open backyard, but then the garage, which is visible from the dining room and the kitchen, was even more obvious. So like all house related problems, we quickly realized paint was the answer. We weren’t ready to paint the house white (it was a light gray) so we went with black. Best decision ever. We painted the entire garage black, including the side door and the garage door. It was much better, but still we kept thinking more could be done to make it look more attractive. You can see the before here.
I started noticing porticos on houses in our area and then quickly moved to Pinterest for more inspiration. I created a Pinterest board just for Porticos. There were so many great options, but since this was the garage we went with simple. Our first idea included a galvanized corrugated metal roof, but that proved to be impractical. We still like the idea, but finding the material in our area was not easy and then finding someone to cut it to the right size was even more difficult. So we did what we always do in these situations. We improvised. We found a bundle of cedar wood shingles for less than $20 at Home Depot. Done. The rest was used for kindling in our outdoor fire pit.
How to build a portico
Materials used for building a DIY portico
We started with a unique size of wood we got from Home Depot. You kind of have to look for it. The actual dimensions are 3 1/2″ wide by 1″ thick (yes, 1″ and not the normal 3/4″).
From left to right, We created an L shape with two pieces of wood – one screwed to the garage and the other screwed to the top of the piece attached to the garage.
Next, we created a brace at a 45 degree angle. Then we built a frame around the braces in the shape of a box. Again, utilizing 45 degree angles for the corners.
The screws are all inset just enough so that patch and sand is easy. We usually drill a 1/4″ deep hole about the same size as the head of a screw so that it sinks in easily without splitting the wood.
Once we built the frame around it, we had to build the braces that create the slope of the roof. The only tricky part was determining the angle of the slope of the roof. After trial and error several times, we settled on a 25 degree roof slope.
Once the braces were attached to the garage and the frame, we then used slats of 3/4″ pine for the roof. Another option would have been a sheet of plywood. But that would have required another trip to Home Depot so we used the wood we had.
Once the roof was on, we laid the shingles starting at the bottom and working our way to the top. Not seen in the photo here, the finishing touch is a piece of molding at the top where the shingles meet the garage. We also painted that black. The molding closed the small gap between the end of the shingles and the garage and prevents rain and melting snow from dripping through.
A portico helped define this space as well as adding the industrial guard sconce from Barn Light Electric.
Having a white house and a black garage makes it so much fun to decorate for the holidays. Everything looks good with black! We especially love the Atomic Industrial Guard Sconce from Barn Light Electric. We loved it so much that we added two more for the back of our house. These mums are fading fast, almost time for Winter plantings out here!
Other options for porticos if you didn’t want to DIY a portico
I love Brooke’s portico especially on her house. It’s a fairly reasonably priced solution without having to DIY it! It looks great and provides coverage for entering the door in the rain and it adds architectural detail. She also added the screen door recently and she never misses an opportunity to add a detail like the Beach sign.