There is nothing so nice as a great porch.

Here is South Walton, along the Florida coast, we love porches. The bigger, the better. My personal favorites include a pool and fireplace, although space for a grill and a huge comfy couch are high on the priority list as well.

While nearly all our clients walk in with "big porch" on their wish list somewhere, most leave it blank after that. However, a really great porch design needs a little more thought.

1. Do you plan to eat outside? Is grilling an important part of the weekly menu? If so, make sure your porch is big enough to handle your grill and table and chairs. Grills need extra ventilation and a countertop comes in handy.

2. Do you want a pool? Think about how you plan to use it and an safety features you need to consider, especially for little kids and pets.

3. Are you going to spend your porch time on the first floor or an upper story? We have often designed pools and hot tubs on second floors and rooftops to accommodate this.

4. Where does the sun rise and set? If you are going to be hanging out on the porch in the evening and the sunset hits just at the right angle, you may need shades, louvers or other screening devises built into the porch.

5. How do you want to access your porch? Or what amount of privacy do you like on your porch? Is this a quiet reading area off the master bedroom or a big party deck for the whole family and friends? The functionality of the porch is going to determine the size of the space, the way you access it and the kind of furniture you want to plan for on the porch.

No matter which way you go, the porch is a big part of what makes your home special.