Mosquitoes crash the party like no one else; showing up uninvited and staying way too late. On top of that, they put their little bloodthirsty mouths into you. Some of them even spread deadly diseases.
Spray repellents are just one way to keep those mosquitoes at bay, though.
If you choose the right plants and flowers, your garden can actually do a great job at protecting you from mosquitoes, too. To that end, we've assembled a list of the best vegetation to keep mosquitoes from your deck and patio areas all summer long. We'll even throw in some other pointers, as well.
8 Plants That Mosquitoes Hate
Nearly all of the plants on this list don't just push mosquitoes away; they actually serve wonderful purposes in their own respective rights. Use some in your food prep. Use some to spruce up bouquets. Use some to add a splash of flavor to your iced tea. Really, its a win-win!
You may already know about this one. It's possible that you have even used citronella candles already. Did you realize, though, that you can grow citronella?
Citronella is actually a perennial grass that gives off a powerful scent. That scent is strong enough to mask other scents that mosquitoes really enjoy: like you! If you grow citronella in pots or planters on your deck or patio, you can move them to keep them nearby wherever you are chilling out. You could even just grow it right in a garden near your deck or patio.
Mosquitoes really don't care for lemon-scented vegetation, so you can also use lemon thyme or lemon basil, as well.
Lemon Balm is hardy, drought-resistant and a fast grower. Because it is a fast grower, you'll want to consider planting this one in a pot, lest it take over your entire garden. Of course, in a pot, you can also bring it to wherever you are hanging out.
This one is a winner on two fronts: Mosquitoes will hate you, but your cat will love you. This natural mosquito repellent is pretty simple to grow. You won't want to plant it with your other flowers if you have backyard cat, though, because they can't stop themselves from rolling in it.
Marigolds include pyrethrum, an ingredient present in many different kinds of insect repellents. Most pests, including mosquitoes, think marigolds smell awful. Green-thumb gardeners regularly grow them around the perimeter of their gardens to keep a whole host of pests from treating their gardens like a salad bar.
Not just mosquitoes, but most bugs dislike the scent of peppermint. A sprig of peppermint is also delicious in iced tea and lemonade, rendering it an excellent plant to keep on/by your deck or patio.
Pro Tip: Should you get actually get a mosquito bite, rubbing peppermint leaves on the bite can offer cooling relief.
In addition to it being a real turn off for mosquitoes, basil makes great pesto and bruschetta!. Basil is really simple to grow and does wonderfully in pots or planters. Like some of the other options on this list, you can pull it right up to your deck furniture or maybe even keep it by your grill.
Lavender's beautiful purple color is easy on the eyes and its scent has a natural calming effect on humans. Mosquitoes, however, hate it. Having fewer mosquitoes around is also pretty calming, wouldn't you say?
Along with the aforementioned basil, rosemary is another cooking staple that helps to keep mosquitoes away from your deck or patio area.
Pro Tip: Add a few stalks of rosemary to the grill or very near your fire pit to create a top-notch mosquito-repelling aroma.
3 Additional Ways To Keep Mosquitoes Away From Your Yard
After you have planted a garden of wonderful-smelling, mosquito-repelling plants and flowers on or near your patio or deck, you can turn to various other trusted methods to make those mosquitoes scarce.
DEET or Picaridin; New Information About Mosquito Repellent
Bug spray seems like a pretty intuitive option, right? There's new information in the world of mosquito repellent, though. For longer than half a century, DEET, a synthetic substance, has sat perched at the top of the bug repellent mountain. Recently, there has been a whole new option on the market: picaridin.
While both DEET and picaridin are shown to be effective at fending off mosquitoes and other bugs, each is very much unique. DEET can leave an oily feeling on your skin and, let's be honest, it doesn't smell great. It even dissolves certain synthetic materials, like rayon, spandex, and vinyl.
Picaridin is also a synthetic substance, but is was developed from the same plant genus as black pepper. Similar to DEET, the EPA has determined that the normally-recommended use of picaridin does not pose a health issue. Unlike DEET, though, picaridin is odorless, non-oily, and it doesn't break down plastics or similar synthetics. For this reason, an increasing number of repellents are opting for picaridin as their active ingredient.
Remove Standing Water
Standing water is where mosquitoes lay their eggs, so check your yard for any places that could be collecting water. Kiddie pools, rain gutters, and even bird baths should be considered suspect. It doesn't take much standing water to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes might great bloodsuckers, but they are terrible fliers. By thoughtfully placing fans on and around your deck or patio, you can seriously keep them from flying into your space.
Try out different rates of speed and placement until you get the right setup.
No one likes mosquitoes. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep them at bay. From tried and true plants and flowers, to chemical alternatives, there is absolutely no reason you should have deal with itchy bites this summer.
E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers commercial lawn maintenance services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.
After you have decided which annuals you want to use for decorating your landscaping this summer, you'll want to have a plan to highlight them while they continue to grow all summer long. Annuals get their name because you have to replace them annually. Each season, you can tailor your flowers to match or complement the rest of your landscaping. And since you can change it up every year, you have the room to be creative year in and year out! To really get the most of your annuals;no matter which ones you choose;there are a few tips you'll want to stick with. In this post, we are going to share some tried and true tips to help you prepare your annual flower beds for success!
The first thing you want to make sure of is that you choose annuals that can stand the summer heat. Ideally, you'll want to plant them as soon as you pick them up and get them some water as soon as possible, particularly if it's hot out. It's tempting to jump the gun and buy summer annuals in spring and plant them too soon. Late April and early May are notorious for giving false hope for planting, and if the weather is too cool, it can really stunt their growth if it doesn't kill them outright.
Prior to actually planting your annuals, you should have a plan in place. One way to do this is to arrange them in pots first to make sure they set right for you before you put them in the ground. You'll want to keep in mind that different annuals will mature to different sizes. As a result, some will need more space than others. A good idea is to arrange your annuals by colors first in a pattern that you like, then arrange them by size. If you put the tall plants in the front, it won't matter how beautiful the rest are because you won't be able to see them.
Prepping the Flower Beds
It's time to roll up your sleeves and grab some gloves and tools! You'll want to start by loosening up the soil in the area where you intend to plant, then use a spade to dig a hole deep enough to cover the entire root ball. Once you place the annual in the hole, fill in the rest of the hole with loose soil and gently tamp it down so that is securely anchors your plant in place.
For maximum growth, you'll certainly want to fertilize your annuals. Two common ways to fertilize are to sprinkle an all-purpose fertilizer around your annuals once you have them in the ground or combine the fertilizer with the soil before you plant your annuals. Whichever method you opt for, you'll want to first check the labels on fertilizers to ensure they are correct for your annuals and that you are following recommended application doses.
When you have all of your plants in the ground, it is critical that you water them right away. You should also add some mulch across the top of the soil. This will help retain the water, especially during those dog days of summer. Watering during the first few weeks is absolutely crucial. That is when the roots grow and take hold and the plants start to bloom. If you have spent the time and money to get the flowers you want in the places you want, it would be a total disappointment to lose them because they don't have enough water.
One of the greatest ways to exercise your creativity and add some variety to your landscaping to implement annuals. With proper placement, fertilization, and watering, you can bring plenty of pop to your yard year after year.
To get the most out of your landscaping, E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers professional landscaping services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.
A fire pit brings people together like few other things can. There is something about the hypnotic effect of the flames that just draws people in. The fire also seems to keep the bugs away.
Long nights with good conversation and maybe some good music playing in the background are a staple of summer in Michigan. And we haven't even gotten to the s'mores yet!
A well-built fire pit can be an outdoor gathering space well into autumn. When the air is cool and crisp and the fire is stoked to perfection, nights just don't get much better.
Decades ago, a fire pit was little more than a hole in the ground with some stones around it. Today, however, they look and perform better.
Contemporary Fire Pits
Modern fire pits can be as ornate as you like. They can be constructed from a variety of different materials. They can even be built with surrounding walls and/or benches.
Upscale fire pits are often referred to as "fire features" and can be made from granite and have polished glass on the inside to add even more sparkle.
If you like the old-school approach, you can opt for a traditional wood-burning fire pit. If you like a little more convenience, you can go with gas-powered options that you can even ignite from your smartphone.
In this post, we are going to look at the ins and outs of building a fire pit, so you can get a good idea of what options best suit your needs.
Wood or Gas?
One of your very first considerations is whether you want a wood-burning fire pit or a gas-burning fire pit.
We find that homeowners tend to lean towards gas fire pits nowadays. The advantages are pretty hard to ignore. No stocking wood. No ashes to clean up. No smoke, as the gas burns cleanly. Just ignite the fire from a switch or, in some cases, your smartphone.
Gas-burning fire pits have some additional installation steps, though, as they will require trenches to be dug for laying gas lines and electricity. The electricity is required for the electric igniters required for gas-burners, which are similar to the igniter on a gas stove top.
Naturally, some people will prefer a wood-burning fire pit and the rustic charm it offers. From the smell of the burning wood, to the soft glow of hot embers, to the crackling sound of a well-built fire, a wood-burning fire pit keeps tradition alive.
If you decide on a wood-burning fire pit, then you don't need to worry about the trenches for gas and electricity like you do with a gas-burner.
Modern Fire Pit Designs
If you decide on a wood-burning fire pit, the design can be as straightforward as a ring of small-to-medium size boulders around a gravel base. Of course, it could also be as grand as a full on outdoor fireplace that sports brick or even natural stone.
That said, the design options for both wood-burners and gas-burners are only limited by creativity. Choose from brick, to marble, to natural stone, to slate, and even tile.
If you go with the natural stone, an option is to design your fire pit to coordinate with any other stonework you might already have in place.
Modern concrete fire bowls are a popular option, as they can come with a number of different finishes, including oil-rubbed bronze or warm copper, just to name a couple.
In some instances, homeowners even opt for artist-crafted fire pits. These pieces look like art even when they don't have a fire going.
If you go with a gas-burning fire pit, you can fill it with colored glass and/or lava rock for natural beauty that adds another dynamic to your fire.
In short, you have a lot of choices.
Positioning Your Fire Pit
There are several options for positioning your new fire pit and they all have unique advantages. For instance you can place your wood-burning fire pit away from the house and out in the yard. Having it in a "destination" can lend to a more rustic feel as you roast marshmallows away from the shadows the house.
If you opt for a fireplace style fire pit, you can make it the centerpiece of a pergola or covered porch.
You could even position a gas-burning fire pit on your patio and right next to an (outdoor) kitchen. Then you and your friends can cook out and enjoy the a beautiful fire while you do.
If you have a pool, a fire pit by the pool can add lovely lighting for evening swims or a unique environment for entertaining.
Fire Pit Installation Times
One question we get often is, "How long will it take to install my fire pit?" And it really comes down to the size and style of your fire pit design.
A straightforward wood-burning fire pit of stone of brick can probably be finished in just a few days. If you are going with a gas-burner and/or a fairly involved design, a week or two is a safe amount of time.
Local Burning Laws and Ordinances
Before you spend time figuring out exactly what you want in a new fire pit, check your local city and township legislation regarding open flames in residential environments.
There are often rules regarding the size of fire pits, how far fire pits need to be from structures, and whether fire extinguishers are required. Knowing these things beforehand can save you a lot of time in not having to re-plan your fire pit.
Summer and autumn are great times to enjoy a fire pit. In addition to the cozy heat they radiate, there is something about the atmosphere a fire pit creates that just can't be duplicated by anything else. Just add some friends and family, and you and your new fire pit are ready to make some wonderful memories.
If you are looking to add a beautiful new fire pit to your landscaping, E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply offers professional landscaping services in the Jackson, MI area. Feel free to contact us online or call us today at (517) 990-0110.