5 Natural ways to Repel bugs from your Deck or Patio

Summer is the season of backyard barbecues, grill outs, and pool parties… Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year that insects and other bugs like to make their appearance. Although many people depend on regular appointments with pest prevention companies to keep the bugs at bay, there are some natural DIY treatments you can apply to your deck and patio which are just as effective. Many of these suggestions also double as attractive decor options as well! Here are 5 ways you can get rid of insects before your next backyard get together:

Update your lighting features.

If your string lights, lamps, and ceiling fan lights contain white bulbs, it’s time to switch those out for a color which won’t attract as many bugs. Flying insects and spiders are attracted to bright, white lights, and aren’t nearly as keen on flying toward yellow or orange bulbs. Personally, we also think these yellow lights create a softer, more inviting atmosphere as well.

Another way to set the mood while also repelling bugs is by setting up citronella torches around your yard or patio. These torches include natural citronella scents, which smell disgusting to flies and mosquitoes. If torches aren’t your style, you can find citronella candles as well… Just be sure they are naturally scented with citronella oil, and not made with artificial scents which may not actually contain citronella.

Add some greenery and color to your deck.

There are many plants which naturally drive pests away due to their scent. You can plant herbs such as rosemary, lemongrass, mint, and basil around the edge of your deck to discourage insects from crawling up to your party. As a bonus, you’ll have your own private supply of these herbs available for seasoning your cooking!

You can also use these and other plants to create centerpieces for your tables to help keep bugs away from your food and drinks. Marigolds, lavender, chrysanthemums, and lantanas are known for their ability to deter insects, and especially flies and mosquitoes. These plants are also flowering plants, so they add beautiful pops of color to your decor.

Set up fans in various places around your deck.

While ceiling fans and oscillating fans can feel cool and refreshing to us humans, they feel like strong gusts of wind to the tiny insects buzzing around. When you’re hanging out on your deck or porch, keep the ceiling fans on to keep the flow of air moving around you and your guests. You can also set up some oscillating fans to discourage bugs from hanging out at waist-height, or in your seating areas.

Get rid of standing water.

Mosquitos (and other insects) love to hang around standing water, especially if it’s been in one place for a while. Stale water is a breeding ground for bacteria that bugs love to eat…and it also serves, literally, as a breeding ground for these insects. If you have empty planters or other containers on your deck, be sure to pour these out and rinse them after rain storms. Also, make sure your gutters don’t contain leaves or dirt which can block water from flowing out.

Spray your furniture with essential oils.

We’ve already mentioned that certain natural scents are great for warding off unwanted insects, but many people don’t realize they can use essential oils to spray down the parts of their patio which aren’t covered in plants. Some people are also afraid of discoloring or damaging their custom sofas, accent chairs, and other cushioned furniture with any sort of bug repellant spray. However, when used properly, essential oils are completely safe for use on our furniture.

First, make a DIY spray using a clean spray bottle, 12 oz of alcohol-free Witch Hazel, and 40 drops of your favorite combination of these essential oils:

  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Citronella
  • Lemon
  • Geranium
  • Tea Tree (this one is best for repelling ticks, while the other oils on this list are great for repelling mosquitos)

Next, do a ‘test spritz’ pointing away from your furniture, just to see how powerful your spray comes out of the bottle. Adjust the nozzle so the spray comes out gently, as opposed to dousing your target with one powerful stream.

Finally, spray down your seating cushions, throw pillows, and poufs. A light spray, evenly applied across the surface of your furniture, will do the trick—no need to soak the cushions.

Are you looking for more advice on decorating your deck or patio? Stop by one of our three Bay Area locations to see some of our custom furniture in person or to pick out some poufs to accessorize your backyard set up. You can also browse our selection and custom options online at!