Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular among homeowners in recent years, and that popularity grew even more over the last year. As social distancing guidelines issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged people to stay home as much as possible, a desire for accessible, enjoyable outdoor spaces grew. A 2020 study of Google trends data from the home decor retailer Living Spaces found that searches for items such as patio daybeds and small-space outdoor furniture grew by more than 200 percent between the early part of 2020 and the middle of the year.
If outdoor living spaces are in demand, so, too, are ways to make those spaces as comfortable as possible. There’s much homeowners can do to make the most of their outdoor spaces, but they might feel helpless against some unwanted, often relentless guests: insects. Insects can turn relaxing days on the patio into wars of attrition with hungry bugs like mosquitoes. Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against insects while simultaneously adding a little aesthetic appeal to the backyard. The Farmer’s Almanac notes that planting these insect-repelling plants around the patio or backyard can help homeowners successfully repel unwanted insects, including mosquitoes.
Lavender: Lavender is a fragrant plant that adds a pop of purple and has been known to repel mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and moths.
Basil: Basil can provide the best of both worlds, as it’s been found to repel flies and moths and also makes for a tasty addition to pasta sauces and other dishes.
Thyme: Also a valuable ingredient to keep in the kitchen, thyme can help keep hungry mosquitoes at bay.
Mint: The Farmer’s Almanac warns that it’s easy to overplant mint, so homeowners should only plant with care and make a concerted effort to prevent overgrowth. Also great in the kitchen, mint has long been considered an effective mosquito repellant.
Alliums: Like lavender, alliums can add a burst of purple to your patio. And though they aren’t believed to repel mosquitoes, alliums have been found to be helpful against cabbage worms, aphids, carrot flies, and slugs.
Chrysanthemums: If ants are drawing homeowners’ ire, chrysanthemums may do the trick. These eye-catching flowers also are believed to repel fleas and roaches, among other insects.
Marigolds: The scent of this awe-inspiring plant is known to repel mosquitoes and other pests. Marigolds also attract insects like ladybugs that are known to consume aphids, which are minute bugs that reproduce rapidly and feed by sucking sap from plants.