Part one of an article that was published recently in Southern Distinction Magazine-
Ah, there’s nothing like game day, is there? If you’re as competitive as my family (Dawgs, Falcons, Braves, Xbox, Backgammon, 🙂 etc.), then you know how important the venue is for peak enjoyment. I’d say that fully half of the decks and screened porches we build are meant with the viewing of sports events as the focus. If you’re a like-minded fan, here are some things to think about when planning your outdoor living space.
I want to mention right up front that unless you’re a audio/visual wizard, you need a covered porch as the central shelter for the entertainment center. There are some occasions when you can set up an entertainment center outside on a deck (clear skies/shade/night-time, etc), but it’s typically a lot of effort. I recommend that you build out with the entertainment center for the porch primarily in mind.
The first thing you need to think about is space. You’ll need to estimate the number of people (friends/family) you’ll typically have over to watch. We usually find that a sports viewing area needs to be a little larger than a common social area. After all, when your brother tells your nephew to ‘go out for a pass’, you don’t want him to be crashing into a tea set . For larger areas, such as for 15+ people, we recommend 400 square feet (eg. 20’ x 20’). If you plan on having 6 to 12 people over, a 14’ x 18’ area works fine. For a smaller group of people, say up to 5 (or even perhaps just you and your partner), a 12’ x 16’ or 14’ x 14’ area is suggested as a minimum. This space allows for a table with four chairs, a love seat/couch, an end table or two, and a space for your TV and stand.