Building a Backyard Deck That Will Attract Fewer Mosquitoes


A backyard deck is a beautiful way to relax and enjoy being outdoors.

But if you live in an area with lots of mosquitoes like the Peace Country in northern Alberta or Dallas Fort WorthOpens in a new tab., which has the most mosquitos of all U.S. cities. Or nothing that extreme but a yard surrounded by tall grass or your deck overlooks wetlands filled with bird’s songs and mosquitoes. How can you build your deck for you can still enjoy the cool evening air without being eaten alive by mosquitoes? A deck designed to minimize mosquitos’ swarms while still enjoying being outside.

A deck designed and build to minimize mosquitoes must have non-organic draining ground cover, with ventilation to increase drying. Plus, built to allow for air movement to move pesky mosquitoes of the deck. Plants, lighter colour and the correct lighting, will also reduce the number of mosquitoes on a deck.  

Mosquitoes and humans both enjoy the same thing. Being outside in the cool evening air while enjoying a drink. And decks are ideal for this, both for mosquitoes and you.

But you don’t have to hide inside or dose yourself in bug repellent just to sit out on the deck. It is not a 100% fix, but decks can be built to be enjoyed by you but not mosquitoes.

Here are a few ways to minimize mosquitoes on your deck from the beginning, saving you from being eaten alive first. Plan and build for fewer mosquitoes, and your deck will have less mosquitoes.

Our primary focus to minimize mosquitoes on a deck is under the deck. The cool, damp area under a deck is a breeding ground and nursery for mosquitoes. Change that, change how many mosquitoes suck your blood on the deck.

Under Deck, Requirements to Minimize Mosquitoes

For mosquitoes to live and breed, they need water: less water, less mosquitoes. The primary place for water to pool around your deck is under your deck. To prevent this, the ground under your deck needs to be graded to avoid water pooling. Also, under the deck, the dirt needs to be covered with landscape fabric and gravel. To allow water to drain and prevents grass and weeds from growing under the deck. A natural home for mosquitoes.

Grading to minimize deck mosquitoes is not rocket science, but it must be right. The biggest thing to focus on is indents on the ground, which rain can pool in. If the water can pool, mosquitoes can breed. The easiest way to grade the ground under the deck is to screen the ground under the deck with a 2×4 or some other board. Filling in with dirt where ever the ground dips below the board.

Landscape fabric prevents vegetation while letting water drain, removing habitat for mosquitoes. This cannot be plastic. Plastic under a deck will pool water, increasing the number of mosquitoes on the deck. Landscape fabric is better than plasticOpens in a new tab. because it is porous, allowing water to drain removing larva nurseries. While still blocking the sun, preventing grass and weeds from growing under the deck, which attract mosquitoes.

Thirdly, the landscape fabric under the deck needs to be covered with gravel. Primarily you need material under the deckOpens in a new tab. that will hold the landscape fabric in place. But also, not trap moisture under the deck. The trapped moisture will rot the deck and is an ideal environment for mosquitoes to hide from the summer heat.

A dry area under a deck with little for mosquitoes to hide in will be the single most effective way to minimize mosquitoes from reproducing under the deck. Stop them before they arrive.

Deck Vegetation and Mosquitoes

Deck vegetation cuts both ways. The right plants on and around your deck will reduce how many mosquitoes there are. The wrong vegetation, and you are asking to be eaten alive.

First, the plants you want around your deck. Include on your deck planters with citronella, mint, rosemary, and lemongrass will discourage mosquitoes from hanging around. This is not a silver bullet, removing the last buzz from your ears, but it is unwelcoming. Just one more suggestion to buzz off.

Make sure whatever planters you do have on your deck has proper drainage. Those little saucers around the base can become a mosquito nursery. To prevent mosquitoes on a deck, you cannot have any standing water. Sometimes something as simple as a dog water bowl will draw mosquitoes onto the deck.

But they don’t have to just be on the deck. Surround a deck with a small gardenOpens in a new tab. of marigolds, Geraniums, Rosemary or Lavender all help to drive mosquitoes away. Often their fragrance, which we enjoy, is repulsive to mosquitoes

The other side of the coin, in minimizing vegetation that mosquitoes enjoy around your deck. Tall shady plants around the deck may look nice, but the mosquitoes also love to live among them.  

When you design and build your deck plan for the area around it will be open to minimize where mosquitoes can hide and live. Trim whatever grass and bushes area around the deck to reduce where mosquitoes can live.

Trimming bushes down around the deck also increase air movement.

Build the Deck for Air Movement to Blow Mosquitoes Away

It takes as little as a breeze of two miles per hour (3.2km) to prevent mosquitoes from flying. Not only does this small breeze clear the air of mosquitoes, but it also is cooling and refreshing on the deck.

Three ways you can build a deck for air movement.

  1. Build the deck without privacy walls or use lattice, which allows wind to blow over the deck still while screening the deck from view. A lattice privacy wall can enhance the feeling of privacy while even enable the wind to keep mosquitoes away.

You can further enhance a lattice privacy wall by hanging a small planter of mint or rosemary, adding a splash of green on the deck plus a natural bug repellent.

2. Under deck ventilationOpens in a new tab. or lattice skirting to increase air movement. Along with the correct ground cover under the deck, improving air circulation will help to dry the deck’s underside. Reducing the number of mosquitoes living under the deck.

3. Include a Fan in your deck design. How you finish under the deck will impact how many mosquitoes are hatched under the deck, but a fan will do more than anything else to drive the adult mosquitoes away.  This doesn’t have to be a massive wind tunnel. A small fan sitting on the table or the deck’s corner will move those nasty pests off the deck.

An exterior ceiling fan hanging from the pergola rafters will gently circulate the air while removing mosquitoes for added convenience. Sitting under the fan enjoying the cool air, you may even forget that it’s there for the mosquitoes.

Building a Deck with Lighter Colour Material Attracts Less Mosquitoes.

 Now I can’t explain this one. Slipping on a dark shirt will attract mosquitoes, especially a blue one. But changing your shirt to a lighter colour will attract fewer mosquitoes.

The same is true for the material around your deck. Building your deck with lighter colour may reduce the number of mosquitoes.

A lighter deck colour will not be as effective as under deck ground cover and air movement in mosquito control, but it is a variable. Something to keep in mind when you are debating between black or white railing. White might mean a few fewer mosquitoes.

Speaking of light.

Deck’s with LED or Yellow Lights Attract Less Mosquitoes. 

Typically when I think of bugs and lights, I think of moths swarming around a porch light. But mosquitoes are no different. They are attracted to white lights, like a beacon on a hill or, should we say, deck.

There are yellow light bulbs specifically designed not to attract insects, but if you are not into the yellow light on your deck.

“LED lights produce little to no UV light and a minuscule amount heat, which makes them less attractive to bugs—so long as they emit longer wavelengths of light.”

SuperBrightLEDOpens in a new tab.

The option of LED may be a better solution. I love the energy efficiency of LED light bulbs and provide so many possibilities when lighting up a deck.

Whichever you choose, Yellow with its longer wavelengths or LED both will light your deck without attracting insects.

A small expectation management before lighting your deck.Yellow or LED light doesn’t attract insects, but it also doesn’t repel them. Turning on your light switch will not clear your deck of mosquitoes.

A Deck Built for Fewer Mosquito Bites

Builder your deck with air movement, the right lighting and removing mosquito breeding grounds from under it won’t cleanse your deck from all mosquitoes. But incorporating these things into your deck design will mean you will build a deck less likely to be overwhelmed with mosquitoes. Then you can grab a drink, slump down into your deck chair and enjoy the refresing evening air.

Ryan Nickel

A Red Seal carpenter, passionate about building decks to be enjoyed.

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