To Screen or Not to Screen - Don't Let it Bug You!

Posted On: 02-01-2016
By: John Hudik, Outdoor Living Consultant

Born in Ohio, but having lived in Fort Lauderdale for the last 40 years, it was a pleasure to rediscover a seasonal climate with year-round, moderate temperatures right here in Texas. A climate that highlighted the change of seasons, yet was moderate enough to permit the use of patios and outdoor spaces any month of the year!

For me, this meant that my lifestyle of cooking and eating most meals outdoors would not have to drastically change. Only the nastiest weather of snow, ice and freezing temps would keep me inside.  If  I had only designed my outdoor space to include a few things not often seen in Texas!

I also couldn’t help but notice that North Texas has more than their share of creeping, crawling, flying and biting critters. Although not the entomological population found in Florida, Texas does have  plenty of roaches, grasshoppers, crickets, flies, beetles, spiders, bees and most importantly  mosquitoes! Who in their right mind would want to share time in the same space with all that!

Living outdoors for so many years taught me that these pesky critters could be kept out of our living  spaces with proper screening, but I just don’t see much screening being used here in Texas. For  decades screening has been effectively used to bring comfort to our outdoor spaces and to open our interior space to the outdoors . You see screening used throughout every part of  country. Why not Texas?

Here at Sunnyland, we often hear “we’d love to grill and entertain outdoors more often but we just  can’t fight the bugs!” Did someone suggest screening?

We also hear, “if you screen in the back porch, it’s no longer outside…you might as well totally enclose It!” Well, I never got the feeling that I was inside when sitting on my screened patio…nor did any of  my many friends or family members. We still enjoyed the fresh air, even the churping crickets and all of natures sounds…just no flying, biting, annoying bugs!

You see, a screened patio is not part of our indoor space but most definetly a part of our outdoor  space, but we should consider a bug-barrier around the perimeter walls, and screening is our best  choice! With the threat of seasonal hail, screened roofing is not a choice like it is in Florida, but if we  have a covered patio then serious consideration is recommended here!

We have both fixed and flexible options. For a more permanent solution that requires little or no maintenance a framed in structure in either wood or aluminum is the choice. With a framed  structure, I would certainly add roll- up clear vinyl blinds, like what you see in many restaurants. Installed on the outside of the enclosure and attached to the frame with zippers, Velcro or outdoor snaps you get a wind tight enclosure that adds a lot more usable days outdoors andwith the addition of an outdoor heater, firepit or fireplace you have a converted space that you can enjoy on all but the coldest days of the year!

A simpler option that gives adequate protection, especially from flying bugs and mosquitoes, are mosquito curtains or walls. These hang more like drapery and form a fairly secure seal with magnetic or Velcro fasteners and strips. Curtains can be tied back just like draperies or rolled up similar to blinds so you can have the best of both worlds…open or enclosed! Just google Mosquito Curtains for plenty of photos and ideas!

So don’t let it bug you any longer…..screen it…and convert your outdoor space to one that can be used much more than you ever thought possible!

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