Start by creating an outdoor room. A porch is great but perhaps you don’t want a permanent roof over your deck. An awning is a great solution. A canopy that stays up for the summer (and can even be designed with screens) or a retractable awning can help protect the space from sun and rain and create an outdoor room you can actually use most of the spring, summer, and fall. Otter Creek Awnings has custom options for any home and the estimate is free.
Think of the size of your deck as you do the size of the rooms in your house. A 12×12 deck is about the size of a dining room or living room. Set up the space for dining or as a sitting area. If you want it to be multi-functional consider a conversation grouping of furniture with comfortable chairs and a low table in the center. Check out The Lighting House in South Burlington for great furniture options.
Keeping the deck clean can be a challenge, especially early in the season as we experience pollen and debris from the emerging foliage of the trees. Consider purchasing an inexpensive blower. It’s a lot faster to blow everything off the deck than it is to sweep it.
If bugs are a problem and you do not have a screened in area then try a fan. The moving air can keep bugs away and is a simple solution for when the mosquitos come out. Citronella candles can help and torches around the deck work great when the sun goes down. Consider some plants, certain varieties help to repel mosquitos and other bugs and make your landscape more attractive. Some plants that deter bugs and mosquitos are marigolds, citronella, catnip, lavender, basil and lemon balm.
Finally, outdoor spaces are not complete without some plants and flowers. Try to resist the urge to overdo it and crowd the space. You could try herbs on the deck (basil will do double duty as a bug repellent). They are attractive and conveniently located close to the kitchen for when you need them to cook. You can also bring many types of indoor plants outside for the summer. Add ferns and some inexpensive seasonal flowers that will do well inside in the winter. Just don’t put out more than you can maintain in regards to watering. Leave the watering can out and fill it when you are done so it is ready when you need it again.
Outdoor living in Vermont can be easy and enjoyable. Follow these tips and enjoy your experience this summer!