A length of mesh makes the difference between a summer coated in bug juice---or worse, an abandoned patio---and a welcoming and protected outdoor space. A screened patio can be an unpretentious and functional enclosure or another room of the house. Recapture childhood memories of sleeping on the porch, enjoy a gazebo garden hideaway or revel in a leaf-free pool by adding screens to the backyard or terrace.
Simple Screened Patio
The back patio can simply be an open slab of concrete or, with a little modification, another room that is pleasant to use in clement weather. A simple screened patio is easy to install, with an aluminum frame to hold a stretch of roof screening and floor-to-ceiling screened sides with a door set in the "wall" farthest from the house. This design makes use of the house itself as the back wall and support. Container plants inside and out are easy to care for and patio furniture and a small fire pit make it a comfortable evening retreat.
Screened Pool Patios
A backyard pool in a screened enclosure makes for a bug-free paradise for the kids and much easier pool maintenance. No leaves or other yard debris collect around the filter and it eliminates the need for endless skimming before the pool can be used. The breeze can flow through without the flying, crawling things that set kids squealing. A tinted screen even provides a bit of privacy. A movable canvas "sail" inside the enclosure that blocks intense afternoon sun makes the screened patio safe to use all day, and inflatable rafts and beach balls won't blow away, even in the gustiest summer weather.
A terrace off a second-floor master bedroom suite can become a protected treehouse for relaxing by day and a cool spot to sleep on a summer night. A roof overhang makes this easy---the supports for the screen are installed along the edges of the overhang and additional supports are installed at the edge of the terrace. A screened half-roof and screened-in sides completes the job. A cafe table and chairs invites breakfast al fresco. A free-standing hammock frame provides a place to relax with a good book. A daybed piled high with pillows and old comforters is seating by day and open-air sleeping under the stars by night.
A lakeside or garden gazebo with its openings screened makes for a compact, cozy outdoor room. A carpenter can make a wood-framed screen door to fit the gazebo's entry. A screened gazebo in a garden, holding a few flowering plants or a butterfly bush, is a wonderful place to raise butterflies in the summer.
Spanish Colonial Courtyard
A paved terrace or patio that runs the length of the house can be a subtropical courtyard with the addition of a slanted wood-beamed roof, extending from the house and arched screened panels enclosing the back and sides. A screened door allows for garden access. Ferns and flowered vines hung from roof beams or a ceiling fan and wicker or rattan chairs and tables evoke a Mexican or southwestern hacienda.
- Photo Credit lizard on screen image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com
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