Here in Southwest Florida we spend a lot of time outdoors. Whether it be at the beach, on our lanai, or in our pool, we love to soak up the sun and enjoy the great weather we are so lucky to have year-round. I have always felt that creating an outdoor living area really extends the homes value and livability. Today I will discuss some things that may help you enjoy your outdoor space to its full potential.

First, let us talk about the back porch, or lanai as we like to call it here in the Sunshine State. The place where families gather to have cook outs, birthday parties, or just sit back and relax. To make the most out of your back porch, try incorporating elements that tie into your interior space. Whether it be an outdoor area rug, a decorative planter full of lush vegetation, or a piece of wall art that is suitable for the climate, bringing the inside out helps tie the two spaces together. Use your personal tastes and style to make your outdoor living area a place where you still feel at home.

Next, we discuss bugs. As many can imagine, the bugs in Southwest Florida never truly take a vacation. Love bugs, no-see-ums, and mosquitoes, to name a few, can really ruin a backyard hangout session. To fight back against these pesky pests, invest in some type of barrier to keep them at bay. If you do not have a screen in lanai or porch you can use citronella candles or tiki torches, but did you know that there are several types of plants that deter insects? Here is a list of several plants that have been shown to ward off annoying insects:

  • Lemongrass
  • Basil
  • Lavender
  • Lemon thyme
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

Not only will these plants help with insect invasions, you can also cook with most of them. Double win!

Now my favorite part of the backyard, the landscaping. This is where you can let your imagination run wild and create a cozy place to appreciate all Mother Nature has given us. If you are limited on space or simply do not have the freedom to plant on your property, planters as I mentioned above can generate an environment of flowers, greenery, and even privacy depending on the height of what is utilized. Shop around for a variety of your favorite plants but keep in mind how much light the area you picked will receive. You can mix and match an assortment in one planter or plant your choices in a variety of decorative pots to really show off your style. If you do have the capability to plant your own garden, take notice of the soil drainage and lighting. Again, shop around for plants that you love and that also look great together. Note how tall a plant will grow once it has matured. The possibilities are endless, and you will enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come.

Now, lets all get outside and enjoy the day soaking up the Vitamin D and breathing in some fresh air!