Many people associate patios with summer, but Texans know summers are brutal.
In fact, in most parts of the state, fall is the mildest season. Even in the northern reaches of the Panhandle, the first frost often doesn’t visit before Halloween. Farther south in Laredo, temperatures rarely dip below freezing.
Fall can be the absolute best time for patio living in the Lone Star State. Here are some ideas for extending your patio season and making those idyllic autumn evenings even better.
Tell Mosquitoes to Bug Off
Since warmth lingers well into the fall in Texas, so do mosquitoes — one of outdoor living’s chief annoyances. Besides being irritating pests, these little bloodsuckers carry diseases such as West Nile virus. It’s important to protect your family. Here’s how.
1. Get rid of standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Even a bottle cap containing water can become a breeding ground.
2. Keep your lawn neatly mowed and the weeds out. Mosquitoes like to hang around tall growth.
3. Protect people with mosquito repellent. The most effective repellents for humans contain Deet, which is found in popular brands such as Off! and Cutter. Don’t use Deet products on pets.
4. Add mosquito-repelling plants. Citronella, catnip, peppermint, marigolds and garlic are among the plants that are a turn-off for mosquitoes and other bugs. Plant them around your patio and in pots as an attractive way to discourage the tiny vampires from party crashing.
For a more permanent solution, consider screening-in your patio. Screens will keep away mosquitoes, and other bugs such as flies, wasps and bees. They also give you some shelter on windy days. Screens are an ideal option for covered patios and can be a DIY project if you have some carpentry skills. Even if you call in a pro, the cost is probably going to be reasonable compared to other home improvement projects. Choose 0.013 inch fiberglass screen fabric for maximum insect protection. Black or silver-gray are the best colors for seeing through. And don’t forget to include the screen door.
While some outdoor plants end their blooming cycles as the weather cools, others are ready to strut their stuff. Varieties of asters, violets and chrysanthemums are among the flowers that like to show off during Texas autumns. Since it’s a great time of year for gardening, get out and plant them. Mums come in a variety of rich colors and will give your space the cheery atmosphere of a high school homecoming. An added bonus? They’re perennials that come back even better the second year.
Heat It Up
The trend across the country is to move the comforts of inside to the outside. Gone are the plain old burger grills on a concrete slab. Today’s homeowners build full kitchens and bars in their outdoor spaces. Manufacturers have seized on the movement to create furniture that’s as stylish as it is weather-tolerant. Fire pits and efficient patio heaters take the nip off the evening air, LED lighting keeps the yard softly aglow as the sun sinks, and big-screen TVs put you right in the stadium. The possibilities for extending your outdoor living are limited only to your imagination — and budget.
The Texas fall is ideal for enjoying the outdoors, so make the season last as long as you can.
Now, go outside and have an awesome autumn!
Cover photo courtesy Pixabay
Becky Moore calls herself a dedicated DSIY — a “Do-Some-of-It-Yourselfer” — who writes about home and landscaping issues. She and her equally handy husband have moved into and refurbished a new (to them) house every two years for the past decade.