The popularity of shipping container houses is on the rise. While at the early stages of this trend, containers were rather used for small weekend lodgings easy to set up in the countryside. These days however the driving forces are the size of the living space, functionality, and elegance…
One of the major factors making container houses so attractive (especially for city dwellers) is the relative easiness to establish a new residence. One may establish them locations typically characterized as “in-the-middle-of nowhere”. Practically, it means – as much as possible surrounded by Mother Nature.
Shipping Container Houses – Modern architecture; Source: “Wonderful Two-Story Shipping Container Home, Peru”, livinginacontainer.com
And the best way to fully take advantage of such a “million-dollar” ambiance is to reach out to nature by expanding often limited “under-the-roof” areas to outdoors. Traditionally, it is done by constructing patios, courtyards, decks, or porches. That is allowing one to enjoy more personal contact with surroundings, but at the same time preserving the luxury and safety of a home-like “engineered” environment. These easy to clean and usually comfortable settings allow us to forget about mud on rainy days. We can easily also forget about weeds spoiling the harmony of expected “perfection”. Another advantage is limited the presence of crawling creatures, and so, to fully enjoy the calming scenery…
A large, ground-level deck with a tree, creates a courtyard-like ambiance. Source: Architect Maria Jose Trejos designs a shipping container home in Costa Rica, (Contemporist)
Most of us are familiar with the concepts of patios, courtyards, decks, and porches but it may be good to refresh relevant definitions. We will also show use this opportunity to show some already existing (and implemented) designs. Our goal is to inspire our readers to do their research. As you will see throughout these pages, the well—known saying “Sky is the limit” is not an exaggeration. The cargotecture truly offers a wide range of solutions. They not only improve the quality of our lives but also add elegance that can almost seamlessly “blend” with surrounding nature….
Shipping Container Home Patios
A patio is an open, ground-level area, that is partially or fully exposed to the outside world. Usually, patios are attached to the house, creating an easily accessible extension of living space. Due to their direct contact with the ground, patios are built from hardly decaying materials like concrete, pavement, stones, tiles, gravel, etc…
In urban (residential areas), patios are usually located at the back of the house, to provide some level of privacy. At locations “in-the-middle-of nowhere” the meaning of front and back-yard does not have much sense. That opens more possibilities for various arrangements.
Minimalistic patio blending with the surrounding landscape from IQ Container Homes. Source: homesteadingalliance.com
Shipping Container Hose Courtyards
The courtyard is an open, grand-level area surrounded by walls, and/or housing or supporting structures. In contrast to the patio, the courtyard is “mostly” hidden from the public eyes. That way it usually offers much-appreciated privacy. Courtyards have more complex layouts than patios because they may also include trees, little gardens, water pools, waterfalls …
Eagle Ridge Residence house by Gary Gladwish (Orcas Island, Washington). The L-shaped container house frames a courtyard garden that boasts an assortment of native plants, rocks, and a small pond.
A luxurious house built from 12 shipping containers at the center includes an open living area (sort of covered courtyard). – It was designed by an artist-architect Adam Kalkin.
Cargo Container House Decks
Decks, compared to patios are always (although often only slightly) elevated above the ground. They are almost always attached to the house. As a result, they can be built from warmer-looking materials like redwood and cedar. These days people use more-and-more popular weather-resistant “engineered wood” (composite materials). Even in their less-expensive versions from treated wood, they offer not only elegance but also a possibility to build them at higher levels matching higher floors. In such cases, they must have protective railings!
If properly maintained, they can preserve their inherent warmness and beauty for long, long years.
This wooden deck adds to this tiny container house a large living space and with it – the “personal” contact with nature. Source: “Transformed Shipping Containers are the Latest Lodging Trend” by Jacqueline Aguirre, (TexasHighways.com)
Here, the wooden deck greatly “integrates” into the overall concept of this shipping container house creating a sort of courtyard. Source: Living Big in a Tiny House, (YouTube)
Container house with classic wooden ground-level deck from IQ Container Homes. Source: homesteadingalliance.com
The concept of a deck in the garden by Alpha Tiny Houses. Source: homesteadingalliance.com
Shipping container houses are perfect structures for decks. Their main construction materials should match not only the structure of the container house like steel, or wood and composite materials (if these are used for exterior paneling). It should also be in “harmony” with the outdoor ambiance (presumably nature).
A beautiful example of a raised, steel-supported deck matching the spirit of cargotecture. Source: “Precious Cargo: the latest in shipping container homes”, Design Raven
A tempting opportunity created by shipping container houses (rarely seen in traditional residential houses) is the rooftop location for the deck. Such a location may create beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The construction process usually requires extra steps to make the deck last. It also protects the container itself. More on that subject on dedicated pages 🡪 Rooftop decks (work in progress)
A small container house (1 x 20ft) was turned into a lovely home with a concrete patio and rooftop deck with a garden. Source: “Converted Container with Rooftop Garden is a Modern Fantasy”, (itinyhouses.com)
Source: “A Rooftop Deck Adds to the Living Space at this Shipping Container House”, (Contemporist.com)
Rooftop wooden deck (together with the classic ground-level deck) substantially expand the living space in this “Tiny” shipping container house, Source: CargoHome
Shipping Container House Porches
Porches are small patios covered by a roof and typically attached to the front entrance door. In shipping container houses, porches are often making use of container’s side-doors which also offer protection from wind, creating a sort of walled “balcony”.
In contrast to residential houses in urban areas, this porch at the entrance of the container house offers a view of the surrounding nature. Source: Livinginacontainer.com
The small porch wonderfully blends with surrounding nature. Source: Grass Roof Company (UK)
The existing (“inherited”) shipping container’s doors can be used for protection of the porch (here uncovered), but also to create the balcony. Source: “We Can’t Contain Our Excitement! Peek Inside a $280K Shipping Container Home in Minneapolis” by Kristine Hansen, Realtor.