Oval Office Patio

President Obama on the patio in 2011 (White House - Pete Souza)

The President's Patio

Just outside the Oval Office, on the south side of the West Wing, is a large, multi-level terrace—a patio space on the roof of the southern part of the ground floor. Here, the president can sit and have lunch or a casual meeting with staff, members of Congress, or visiting dignitaries.

Prior to 1952, this area was a simple terrace surrounding a large open court that brought sunlight down to rooms in the expanded ground floor of the West Wing. The court was covered to create additional space in ground floor for a cafeteria and kitchen. Prior to 1934, this area was a large lawn with two small open courts close to the West Wing building that allowed sunlight into the small ground floor.

Prior to 1910, this area was the original White House tennis court (the tennis court was moved south to the location of today's swimming pool and today's is further southeast). Prior to 1902, this area was part of the extensive conservatories built and expanded throughout the 1800s.

More Images


3D rendering of the terrace over the ground floor in 2007 (Peter Sharkey)

President Obama tosses a football with Congressional leaders under the pergola
outside the Chief of Staff's Office in 2009, looking south (White House - Pete Souza)

The Oval Office exterior in 2006 (Wikipedia - Nilington)

The patio outside the President's Dining Room in 1992, looking south (HABS)

The patio overview 1992, looking northwest (HABS)

The patio outside the President's Dining Room in 1992, looking northwest (HABS)

The pergola just outside the Chief of Staff's Office in 1992, looking northeast (HABS)

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter on the patio area just outside the Oval Office, circa 1977 (Carter Library)

The patio area just outside the Oval Office, circa 1972, looking north at Richard Nixon on the West Wing Colonnade;
this sitting area is just east of the larger patio and does not sit over the ground floor

Note the additional trees added by the Kennedys

The south side of the West Wing was quite bare in 1962,
prompting the Kennedys to add trees and bushes for more privacy (Corbis)

The West Wing, circa 1938, after Franklin Roosevelt had the Oval Office moved and a second floor built (Library of Congress)

Expanded West Wing after the Christmas Eve fire, 1929 (Library of Congress - Theodor Horydczak)

The south face, circa 1909 (note the clothes line on the east side) (Library of Congress)

The original tennis court, in 1909, just south of the West Wing, where the West Wing south terrace is now (Library of Congress - Harris & Ewing)

Theodore Roosevelt's original Executive Office Building, circa 1908 (Library of Congress)