Looking for summer front or backyard porch decorating ideas? Learn how to cozy up the porch and keep the bugs at bay with these summer decorating ideas.

A backyard porch is an outdoor living space that is an extension of the home’s interior. It’s a great spot to relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of nature.

Do you have one?

We do now that we moved and it is so enjoyable to hang outside.

At our former home, we enjoyed a multi-tiered deck that we loved. But we didn’t use it year-round because it was not covered.

We had a gazebo that we added, but it did not stay up year round, so we used it more May through October.

But here at the new house?

We are loving both the front and backyard porch because we have used them year round since move in day. It’s been awesome!

I bought some cozy outdoor furniture so we could linger and have been slowly decorating each space.

Are you looking for ways to use your porch more this summer?

Design a beautiful and cozy outdoor living space with these backyard porch ideas that fits your lifestyle.

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close up of creme caramel coreopsis

Backyard Porch Ideas for Summer

One of the best things about summer is spending more time outside.

With our new home and outdoor living spaces, we are outside ALL THE TIME.

In fact, we never spent this much time outside at our former home. I mean, we had a lot of great outdoor living spaces there too, but there are more covered spaces here like the front and backyard porch.

So it was important to us to make them feel comfortable, cozy, and welcoming.

We’ve spent some time on the front porch here on the blog, so today, I’m sharing some ideas for the backyard porch that includes my outdoor planters that keeps bugs away.

Because nobody wants to be bothered by the bugs while enjoying summer outdoors.

And I’m sharing these ideas with a group of talented bloggers hosted by my good friend Pasha from Pasha is home. If you are coming from Kylie’s from Trueman’s Treasures, welcome to my back porch!

wide angle view of the zen garden with back porch
Backyard zen garden with back porch, deck and koi pond.

Make It Pretty

Before, decorating spend some time cleaning it up. Sweep or blow any leaves or debris off the patio or deck.

To make an outdoor living space look beautiful and feel cozy, decorate it like you would any other room inside the home.

Furnish it with comfortable furniture you actually want to sit on. Add some seasonal throw pillows and blankets.

Anchor outdoor living spaces with an area rug, as well as mood lighting.

close up of the conversation set on the back porch in my outdoor living spaces home tour with houseplants, flowers, sun hat, cozy blankets and mustard colored house
Cozy backyard porch ideas

Add Plants and Flowers

But most importantly, add plants and flowers to breathe life into your outdoor living spaces.

Even if the backyard porch is covered, pot up some pretty container gardens with annual or perennial flowers.

Summer houseplants outdoors, but keep them out of direct sunlight so the leaves don’t scorch.

Whether you are a gardener or not, just adding one or two potted plants will liven up your outdoor living spaces.

View of the back porch from the backyard garden with conversation set, vintage floral pillows and curved deck with trex decking in zen garden
View of the backyard porch from the garden.

How to Make a Backyard Porch Planter that Repels Mosquitos

I’ve been sharing a lot about container gardening lately. And that’s because they are so fun, easy to plant, and warm up outdoor living spaces.

Not to mention, they add a cozy seasonal vibe too.

But did you also know you can pot plants that repel mosquitos to keep the bugs away too?


I started doing it a few years ago with great success.

Some plants work better than others. But there’s one plant that I think works THE BEST out of the whole list.

And I’m sharing how I incorporated this plant in my backyard porch containers this summer to keep the bugs away.

Wait until you see how pretty my outdoor planters look and learn how they are repelling mosquitos.

view of the zen garden with round stepping stones, container gardens filled with superwave petunias bubblegum pink, garden statues, lots of hardscaping and a green garden fence with a stone wall and white railings that lead to the backyard.
Zen garden with outdoor planters, flowers and garden statues in the backyard.

Plants that Keep Bugs Away

Before I share my backyard porch container gardens, here is a list of plants that keep bugs away. (The list is in no particular order.)

Plant these mosquito-repelling plants around outdoor living spaces to keep bugs away.

  • lavender
  • rosemary
  • basil
  • mint
  • marigold
  • lemongrass
  • citronella geranium
  • citronella
  • lemon balm
  • nepeta (catmint)
  • sage
  • marigolds
  • lantana
  • peppermint
  • bee balm
close up of nepeta walkers low flowers
Nepeta ‘Walkers Low’

Planting Tips

Depending on the location of your outdoor living space, you may or may not have room to plant mosquito-repelling plants in the ground.

If you lack garden space, simply pot them up as I did for the back porch.

As an aside, I prefer using larger planters to smaller ones because they don’t dry out as easily and you can fit more plants in them.

Quick Tip: keep larger planters on the lighter side so they can be moved around if you want to use them in a different location.

close up of oudoor planter with lemongrass, geraniums, bacopa, sweet potato vine and superwave petunias
Outdoor planter with mosquito repellent plant lemongrass and coleus, geraniums, bacopa, sweet potato vine, and superwave petunias.

Supplies Needed to Plant a Garden That Repels Mosquitos and Other Annoying Bugs

Much like planting any other container garden, you’ll need a few supplies to design the planters.

While you can choose whatever plants you want, make sure you include a few plants from the list above.

view of the zen garden with river rock and stone wall, koi tree sculpture and container gardens filled with pink and white flowers in the backyard in my outdoor living spaces home tour
Backyard zen garden with outdoor planters filled with pink superwave petunias, lemongrass, coleus, sweet potato vines and colocasia.

How to Plant a Garden that Repels Bugs

Now that we have a list of plants that help repel mosquitos, let’s design a garden.

When planting a garden in containers, I consider the colors I want to decorate with.

Am I feeling pink and purple hues? Or maybe bright sunny yellows?

Maybe I’m hosting a patriotic dinner party, so I’ll gravitate to plants with reds, whites, and blue hues.

At any rate, choose your color palette and seek plants that pair with the aesthetic.

view of small koi pond near backyard porch with planter that repels mosquitos, outdoor furniture, sun hat and blanket
View of koi pond from the backyard porch.

Determine the Location

Does the area receive full sun, part sun, or shade?

It’s important to understand your light conditions so you choose the right plants.

Because my backyard porch is smaller, I planted mosquito repellent gardens in containers that will be light enough to move around so I can move them closer to the seating area.

So in general, I maintain them near the zen garden’s stone wall where they receive partial sunlight.

Pro-Tip: If you want to grow flowers that need more sun than you get under a covered porch, you can plant sun-loving flowers. However, you’ll need to be proactive about pulling them out so they receive enough sunlight to thrive.

close up of planter in the zen garden with licorice plant, calibrocha, bacopa, pink geraniums, lemongrass, euphorbia and coleus.
Mosquito repellent plant lemongrass in center of container garden with calibroca, bacopa, licorice plant, coleus and geraniums.

Choosing the Right Plants

Once the location is determined, it’s time to shop for plants.

If planting different plants together in the same container, make sure that they each have the same or similar light conditions as well as water conditions.

Don’t make the mistake of buying plants just because you love the look. That’s a surefire way to a garden fail.

So trust me when I say, read the plant tags.

Having an understanding of light and water conditions will help you take better care of your plants after the container garden is finished.

close up of the potted flowers in my container gardens filled with superwave petunias, elephant ears, coleus in front of a stone wall on river rock in my zen garden in the outdoor living spaces home tour
Container gardens filled with summer annuals in backyard garden.

How to Design a Garden

While shopping around the garden nursery, I like to do is group potential plants together to see how they look together.

Are they aesthetically pleasing?

Look at foliage, blooms, plant size, and the overall plant habit.

Design Tips: If you are designing a container garden, consider using the thriller, filler, and spiller method of planter design. If planting directly in the ground, work in layers and groups of odd numbers.

close up of planter that repels mosquitos using lemongrass, geraniums, coleus, superwave petunias, bacopa and calibroca
Mosquito repellent container garden with lemongrass, geraniums, coleus, sweet potato vine, bacopa and superwave petunias.

Bug Repelling Plant Used in My Backyard Porch Planters

You’d be surprised to know that I only featured one plant from the mosquito repellent list above.

And it works SO WELL that only one is needed.

Can you guess what plant I featured this season?


Lemongrass plant is a lemon-scented herb that helps repel mosquitos and other bugs. The leaves and oils are commonly used in food, beverages, and medicines.

Because the lemongrass plant has a grassy appearance, I made that the feature plant in my container gardens near the back porch.

small koi pond in zen garden by backyard porch

List of Plants Used in My Backyard Planters

While I designed a few planters, I used mostly the same plants in each one but grouped them differently.

You can create a deconstructed look with one type of plant per container, or you can use the thriller, filler, and spiller method of design to group several in one planter.

This season, I gravitated to lots of pretty pink hues, so here’s what I used in my backyard porch planters.

  • Superwave petunias ‘bubblegum pink’ and ‘limoncello’
  • Colocasia – Elephant Ears
  • Bacopa
  • Geraniums
  • Coleus (several varieties)
  • Calibrachoa
  • Lemongrass
  • Mandevilla Vine
Close up of superwave petunias, geraniums, coleus and sweet potato vine in backyard container gardens

How to Plant a Container Garden that Repels Mosquitos

  • Gather supplies.
  • Add potting soil to the container with a hand trowel so the plants have some soil to sit in.
  • Check the planting depth by adding your plants while still in their plastic nursery pots. You want the soil line to match up with about an inch down from the top of the container. If more soil is needed to get the right depth, add more.
  • Before planting, arrange plants using the thriller, filler and spiller method.
  • Remove plants from plastic pots and fan out the roots before setting them in the container. This encourages the roots to grow out into the potting soil.
  • Backfill with potting soil, tamping it down as you go to remove the air pockets.
  • Add a slow-release fertilizer to the container, water, and enjoy!
view of the backyard porch and zen garden

How Close Should Mosquito Repellent Plants Be to an Outdoor Living Space?

If you want to ensure bugs are not an issue, plant mosquito-repellent plants in close proximity to where you’ll be hanging outdoors.

That said, I have a few planters potted up with my lemongrass out in the zen garden and we have not had a bug problem on the back porch AT ALL!

And I can say that because bugs are pretty active up in the backyard garden as well as just outside our beautiful green garden fence that leads to the formal garden.

Before potting these planters up, we had lots of gnats and mosquitos, but not anymore!

backyard porch with cozy outdoor living room and conversation set, vintage flower throw pillows, cozy blankets on deck with yellow house.

Thanks so much for hanging out with me on the back porch!

If you make these planters, let me know how they work for you.

Next up on the porch tour is my good friend Jessica from The Old Barn Company.

view of green garden fence in zen garden that leads to side yard formal garden with hardscaping and plants
View of the formal garden from the backyard porch

Summer Porch Ideas from 8 Amazing Bloggers

porch decor

5 Front Porch Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make // Old Barn Company

Easy Decor For A Small Cottage Porch // Cottage in the Mitten

Three Simple Ideas for a Welcoming Midsummer Front Porch // Pasha is Home

Summer Ice Cream Party on the Porch // White Arrows Home

porch and patio views

Mid Summer Deck Tour // A Life Unfolding

Inexpensive Porch Makeover // The Glitzy Pear

7 Summer Porch Ideas // Trueman’s Treasures

Backyard Porch Ideas with Planters That Keep Bugs Away // Bricks ‘n Blooms

More About Planting a Garden to Keep the Bugs Away

Have you ever planted mosquito-repelling plants before to keep them away from your outdoor living spaces? Did you think it helped keep them at bay? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

close up of creme caramel coreopsis

Garden Supplies I Use

I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

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decorated porch furniture
A large garden pot filled with white sweet alyssum and pink flowers of gomphrena, surrounded by lush green and variegated yellow hosta plants in a vibrant garden setting.

Companion Planting for Hostas: Your Guide to Pest-Free, Beautiful Shade Gardens

Tired of slugs and deer ruining your hostas? Learn the secrets of companion planting for hostas to keep pests away and create a gorgeous, low-maintenance shade garden. Hostas, with their lush foliage and elegant blooms, are staples of the shade garden. But did you know that choosing the right companion plants can make your hostas…
Read More Companion Planting for Hostas: Your Guide to Pest-Free, Beautiful Shade Gardens

Thank you so much for following along.

Enjoy a beautiful day! xo

Stacy Ling

Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.

stacy ling cutting dahlias in her garden
new jersey home and garden blogger stacy ling cutting white daffodils in her zone 6a garden

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  1. Your space and flowers look beautiful as always! I love the color and design on your throw pillows, too. Happy weekend!

  2. Great gardening tips, Stacy. Your back porch is beautiful. I have a herb garden right by my patio with many of the plants you mentioned that bugs don’t like. I keep potted Rosemary close by the seating area. It definitely helps! I always enjoy all of your tips and photos of the gardens. They are so beautiful.

  3. I definitely need some help in the mosquito department Stacy. We have JUST been able to hang out on the deck now that the weather is warming up for us and those little pests are forcing us back inside. Thank you for the tips.

  4. Stacy, your gardens are stunning! I will definitely add lemongrass to my must have list!

  5. Stacy – your back porch is GORGEOUS!! And I am obsessed with your tips for plants that repel mosquitos! Thank you for sharing ;)!

  6. Everything is so beautiful Stacy! I know you are just loving this Summer in your new home with your gardens and outdoor spaces to enjoy!

  7. I’m definitely going to try these tips, Stacy, they all sound super helpful! As always, I LOVE your container gardens and your outdoor spaces. They’re positively magical. Hugs and happy summer, CoCo