Missional thinkers/pastors often bemoan the loss of the front porch in neighborhood architecture. It used to be the place to relax after the work is done, sip tea, interact with our neighbors, etc. The back porch has become prominent, and it's where we hang in seclusion from our neighbors and do our own thing.
Here's a "front porch" hack: Turn your garage into your "front porch."
Drive down your suburban street sometime and notice how the garages are the most prominent feature on the homes. It's right out front. It's an ugly design. And when lumped in together with missing or minuscule front porches makes our homes seem missionally helpless. We can redeem that by hacking the garage to make it a place of neighborhood friendliness, fun and conversation.
Three easy steps.
1. Clean It Out. Toss stuff in the trash. You don't need some of that stuff. Give stuff away. Find another place for it. Tidy up whatever you need to leave in there. Make as much space as possible. If you think you can't, you're wrong.
2. Fill It Up. If you don't have one in there already, put in a fridge (even if only a college-sized one). Put yummy stuff in that fridge. Drinks, snacks, more drinks. Can't afford that, at least put cold stuff in a cooler. Then get a dart board, a bags set, iPod speakers/radio, chairs, basketball hoop, frisbee, or whatever you and others find fun. Keep the door wide open. Let the sound & fun bleed out into the neighborhood. Take the grill from the back porch and put it in the driveway.
3. Invite & Be Inviting. Start right after work. Wave at folks in as they drive home from work. Ask them over. Wave them over. Yell as they get out of their car, "Come on over!" Give them an special invite, if that's helpful. Offer them something to drink and ask about their day. Play a game. Stuff will happen naturally as neighbors feel welcome and stop by regularly.
Hard to get rained out (it's covered). You can do this regularly in most seasons as it's inside-ish (get a heater, fan, etc to stretch that time out).
Don't just do this every so often. Make it a rhythm of family & neighborhood life. I think it will make for a nice front porch for your home, and a great way to share life with your neighbors.