share post

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

by | May 28, 2008 | Gardens & Outdoor Rooms

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

Here are a few solutions to common problems with outdoor spaces.

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

I’ve seen this hint used in Cannon Beach, Oregon. They hang a clear bag of water above doors to keep the bugs out of shops. They say it helps, something about seeing their image magnified or thinking it is a body of water keeps the bugs out. Guess it is worth a try! Photo: Living Etc.

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Don’t have enough room for gardening? Try going vertical! I saw this in Living Etc, but couldn’t find the actual product. However, you could hang planters just like you do window boxes, filling up a blank wall.

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

We got one of these net cabanas at Smith & Hawken last year. You simply put it over your umbrella and it keeps the bugs out!

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Don’t know what to do with your patio furniture in the off season? Use furniture covers from Pottery Barn.

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Need to cover a less than lovely patio or porch? Or simply want to define a space? How about an outdoor rug?

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Want a more permanent solution to spruce up a concrete patio? How about acacia wood interlocking floor tiles from Pottery Barn?

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Need some sun protection but don’t have a large space? How about this half umbrella from Grandin Road?

via The Washington Post

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Chilly nights? Try a table top patio heater! Via The Washington Post, at Lowe’s stores in July

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Need to shade a large area? Use an offset patio umbrella from Cushions and Umbrellas! Use the discount code theinspiredroom for 10% off!

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

Need to transform an old wood deck? How about painting some diamonds? Domino Mag

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

If you really want to garden but must sit on a stool, why not throw your pride out the window and wear a strap on stool? Yeah. That is wacky alright. Clean Air Gardening Supply via This Old House.

Outdoor Rooms: Solutions

And last, but not least, if you want to garden in the rain… via This Old House

Happy Wednesday everyone!


  1. nel

    Some gorgeous ideas! Love the outdoor mat and the net over the umbrella. The red planter boxes are such a gorgeous color with the pink flowers. I’m not too sure about the weird umbrella at the end though… think you’d get a few looks with that one, lol.

  2. Vee~A Haven for Vee

    Lots of fun products, but my favorite is that half umbrella. It reminds me of the half Christmas trees that I’ve seen. Wonderful solution in a tiny spot.

  3. Sally

    Now I have seen everything!! Strap on stool!!!! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. Becky K.

    Those are some very nifty ideas.
    I am so excited. We are going to enhance our outside living space with a pergola over the existing deck. I remembered something I had seen in one of your posts that really caught my eye. I have been attempting to dexcribe it to my husband and he was catching the vision, then a trip to Longwood Gardens sealed the deal as we saw exactly what I was thinking of and he knew he could build it. YAY!
    Becky K.

  5. Beverly

    Melissa, I was so enjoying all of the inspiring pictures, and then I got to the last few. You have made me sit here at my desk and laugh out loud.

    I am going to have an image of the strap on seat in my head all day. That must be a sight when you stand.

    Thanks for the smiles.

  6. the Farmer's Wife

    I’m going to try that bug trick. I love the half umbrella and the really big umbrella.

    Unfortunately, here in northern Illinois umbrellas do not fare too well. The insane winds that blow across the prairies usually break them or carry them off. I’ve been through lots of umbrellas.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  7. Monkey Giggles

    That last pictures cracks me up.

    I might try the clear bag of water above doors to keep the bugs out . Anything is worth a try.

    Have a happy Wednesday

  8. Kari

    Beautiful solutions as always…but girl, I am totally CRACKIN UP over the port-a-stool and umbrella-o-head picts!!!! :D ha!!! Have a lovely day….hope you are having some great weather! :)

  9. Jrizzo

    I love that outdoor stuff! though,. I did have to laugh at the “seat” as clever as it is…Jen R

  10. anne

    That was brilliant, I love the vertical planters!!!

  11. Kathy Delgado

    I love, love the ideas but as any avid gardener will tell you, they love the soft rain while gardening. So needless to say the last pic of the spaceman umbrella made me laugh!! haha that was great! I’ve shared your link with tons of gardening friends this morn so they can enjoy. Thanks!

  12. Diana

    Love that half umbrella thingy!

  13. Karla

    What clever ideas! We are fixing up our yard, so I’m interested in knowing what kinds of things are available. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Robin

    I LOVE that half umbrella…what a great idea. What will they come up with next? We have a very boring back yard…we spend more time on the front porch.
    Hugs to you!

  15. Lisa

    Those are some neat ideas. That last one is hilarious!

  16. Lara

    That umbrella is too funny! I LOVE the red planters on the wall… just perfect!

  17. Christine Annette

    I love your outdoor room ideas. The last two were so funny! I could see my neighbor out with that head umbrella. Thanks for sharing the great ideas.
    Smiles, Christine

  18. Aina

    Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful Images. We just found a new place to stay here in Norway and I am now planning how I wil decorate my Balcony/outdoor place. A few of the images went directly to my heart. Thanks!!!

    I hope you are enjoying your work and lovely summerdays!
    HUgs Aina

  19. Laura Ingalls Gunn

    The diamond patterned floor is my favorite!

  20. Janet


    Really, really cool stuff! Love that net cabana! But really, how is it that that model can still look gorgeous and dare I say, even reasonably cool wearing that umbrella-helmet? I, sadly, wouldn’t look nearly so good. But I bet it works like a charm!!

  21. rochambeau

    Hey Melissa,
    All great brainstorms. Never heard of the water solution. Like the bug netting idea very much!

    Have a great rest of today!

  22. courtney

    Melissa – I was SO with you, hanging on your every word, impressed at the practical and beautiful ideas…until the last two. Then I had to laugh out loud! Thanks for both the inspiration AND the laugh!

  23. Christine

    Fun stuff!
    If it will ever warm up here in the WI
    our back yard will be our living room for sure!
    have a wonderful Wed. evening.

  24. Kristin

    That umbrella is hilarious! Can you imagine the looks you would get walking into Target with that?!

    I do love the wooden tiles, though. I saw some at Ikea just like that a few weeks ago; I’m not sure how much they cost, but would probably be pretty reasonable.

  25. jeanne

    Beautiful pictures! Love the idea about the water for keeping bugs away. Have you tried it yourself yet?

  26. Melissa

    Glad you guys get the humor of the last two photos. After I posted them I thought, hmmm, so tacky of me. But they made me laugh, and WE NEED TO LAUGH sometimes.

    I have not tried the water in bag trick myself, although that is something I should try. I really hate bugs in the house. They drive me crazy. Actually, I don’t like bugs outside either, but that is their home.

    Hope you are all having a great day!!

  27. Donna

    I am definitely going to try the clear bag of water thingy.


  28. julia

    wow, now those are some way creative and interesting ideas.
    I am always amazed at how you come up with finding these pictures Melissa.
    I love seeing new things for the outdoors, one of my favorite living spaces. The netting on the umbrella is so beautiful and summery, might have to check out Smith and Hawken for a little dream session.
    Thanks so much!

  29. Jo

    Thanks for visiting my blog, I’m glad you like it!

    That first picture with the bag of water just made me laugh ;-) Not because I don’t think it would work (who knows, it might!), but because I’m sure my husband would poke it until it got a hole. He’s the type who can’t leave a burning candle alone either…has to play with the wax!

    I love the diamond-painted deck!

  30. Marie Louise

    Don’t think I’ll be hanging out in the Nubrella anytime soon but loved all the other outdoor stuff you featured. All I can say is I am glad summer is finally here!

  31. all things bright and beautiful

    Oh Melissa – your pictures on your blog are getting lovelier and lovelier!!

    Cant see myself wearing the numbrella tho’ – looks like an Alexander McQueen creation!

  32. kayellen

    Love spending time outside in my yard…listening to the birds, the fountain running…great photo’s. I have never seen the water bag idea before…
    The last two pic’s just made me laugh!
    What a funny “photo shoot” that had to have been!

    Blessings and thanks for making me smile:)


  33. Kia


    I just found your marvellous blog! Thank you so much for your fine inspiration. I will come back a lot. Is it ok if I add you on my favourite blog list!?


  34. Joni Webb

    I am loving this outdoor series. ENjoyed yesterday’s blog so much. Always a great visit, Melissa!!!!!

    take care,

  35. My Mélange

    Great idea’s!!! I love the diamonds on the porch…I could do that ;)

  36. melissa lewis - off the wall

    These are all wonderful ideas and tips. I especially love the black and white harlequins on the wood deck. Go figure:)

  37. aimee

    Lots of awesome inspiration! I just got a offset umbrella and love it. Thanks for visiting my blog. I am so happy to have found yours. I’ll be back!!!

  38. Diana

    Also, I hope you can contribute to my What do you do for a living post – just put it up!

  39. Irene

    Melissa, you are amazing! You have done a terrific job researching/putting together this post. Thank you for sharing.

  40. Barbara

    The half patio umbrella is such a good idea.
    Saw the bicycle on e in the media. I wonder if they work in the wind.

  41. A-M

    What fanstastic ideas. I had to laugh at the bag full of water one. Our Aussie bugs would laugh at it too. They are so vicious….. they even laugh at insect repellent… I have the scars to prove it! A-M xx

  42. Julie

    Fantastic post! The strap on stool is classic – can’t wait to show my mom who loves gardening! Great website, by the way :) I’ll be back again!

  43. JO

    FAB Ideas here Melissa… I am going to check some of this out… Love the netting idea… and a few others…the carpet… the heater… oh heck … I love ALL of them

    Thanks for all the inspiration

  44. elsie

    The bag of water one may actually work — a similar trick is to blow into a small paper bag, tie it around the neck and hang it up. It’s supposed to keep wasps away. Apparently they see the bag, think it belongs to a nest of competing wasps, and stay away. I have tried it and it does seem to work.

  45. LaTeaDah

    I just love the ideas for outdoor living in this post! The little garden stool looks so helpful — but I’m not sure about the last picture of the umbrella. :) We don’t get much rain, so when it does rain, I just let it pour all over me! LOL!


  46. Brenda

    I love the verticle planters. What a great idea! How would you drill holes in those without breaking the pots?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox