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What to do with an old deck/tent base

 
pioneer
Posts: 149
Location: Chesterfield, Massachusetts, United States
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Hey all. We bought a house in April that had a cool covered pavilion in back. Foolishly, we assumed the cover would stay as it seems to have been part and parcel of the deck, but upon taking possession, we found the previous owners took the canopy with. Drat!

So now we have this semi-sturdy deck monstrosity with a metal tent frame and no tent.

I think *maybe* the deck could be moved, but it looks like maybe moving it would damage it so I'm not super keen on the idear.

I'm attaching a photo. As you can see, it is pleasantly shaded, which makes you cool and relaxed in the heat of the summer day, which is just the way the GODDAMNED MOSQUITOES want you when they go in for the kill. We have *sooooooo* many mosquitoes. But belay that gripe! Permaculture principles, D.W.! The problem is the solution. We don't have a mosquito surplus, we have a bat shortage. Sigh!

My point is that we can't really enjoy sitting here because we'll die from blood loss from the little bastards. And it's shaded, so I don't reckon much will grow here that is food-bearing. Maybe hardy kiwi, but I've been to Eric Toensmeier's place and seen what an s.o.b. those can be. I don't want it to eat my trees. And my house. And my barn. So probably not a good idea to plant it there even if it would produce anything.

So I'm wondering about creative uses for this deck. I mean it could be a performing arts space I suppose, but again, mosquito death squad. Anything you all can think of to do with it? West is due right as you look at the photo.
deck-platform-with-metal-roof-structure.jpg
deck platform with metal roof structure
deck platform with metal roof structure
 
pollinator
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I would try to find a mosquito net canopy to fit that frame.

Or hang a BUNCH of bat houses...
 
D.W. Stratton
pioneer
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Location: Chesterfield, Massachusetts, United States
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R Scott wrote:I would try to find a mosquito net canopy to fit that frame.

Or hang a BUNCH of bat houses...



Can you safely hang bat boxes on a tree without harming the tree fatally? And don't bats need heat of some kind? A bar box is fine in the summer and fall, but won't brown bats freeze over winter? Little brown myotis are all but wiped out from white nose fungus so it's just large browns around these parts these days, alas. Saw a few flapping around over the house this evening when I was charring posts in the backyard.
 
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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I would also look at the "screen house" angle and either get a premade mosquito tent or make one.
I think you can hang bat boxes without killing trees (a few nails won't kill a tree, but if you feel bad you could always put some up on posts); some bats migrate in winter, while others look for a warmer place to go- the box is more of a summer camp kind of thing in the summer where they raise their young (while the mosquitoes are abundant, coincidentally). This has a lot of info for your area and additional links, and Mass Audobon has a lot of info too. https://www.mass.gov/guides/bat-houses

If you decide against that, you`ve got yourself a premade arbor/pergola right there, and you could try something climbing in a tub or large container so whatever you try doesn`t take over the whole lot.
 
D.W. Stratton
pioneer
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Tereza Okava wrote:I would also look at the "screen house" angle and either get a premade mosquito tent or make one.
I think you can hang bat boxes without killing trees (a few nails won't kill a tree, but if you feel bad you could always put some up on posts); some bats migrate in winter, while others look for a warmer place to go- the box is more of a summer camp kind of thing in the summer where they raise their young (while the mosquitoes are abundant, coincidentally). This has a lot of info for your area and additional links, and Mass Audobon has a lot of info too. https://www.mass.gov/guides/bat-houses

If you decide against that, you`ve got yourself a premade arbor/pergola right there, and you could try something climbing in a tub or large container so whatever you try doesn`t take over the whole lot.



Thank you, this is really helpful. We use Mass Audubon all the time for native wildflower advice. I'll look at the link. Thank you so much!
 
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myself I'm looking forward to first cold snap that should take out most of the itty bitty thing that bite and drain your blood. it could be used as a seasonal deck or could find some other material to make roof add some screen to the sides and have a bug free outdoor space for all sorts of activities.
 
pollinator
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Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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First thing I thought of was an adult jungle gym - monkey bars and gymnastics hoops. If you keep moving, the bugs won't have time to land 😁
 
master pollinator
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Location: Durham, NC
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I have an almost identical situation, except mine has four beams to make a pitched roof, but no material on it.

Here is what I've tried, to no effect:

1) stapling plastic sheeting.  Degraded in the sun.

2) nailing down outdoor upholstery fabric.  Did not withstand the wind.

I haven't given up but I am re-evaluating.

In your situation, I think you have a really great opportunity to make that platform a cozy, bloodsucker-free oasis.  When I was backpacking more than I do now, I made bug nets for my hammocks out of sheer voile window panels.  They are cheap, relatively tough, and mosquito proof.  If you have basic proficiency with a sewing machine you could stitch multiple panels together.  Although in this case, I don't even think you need to.  You could just put up curtain rods and hang the window panels as designed.

Another possibility is a king-sized 4-corner-post-bed canopy made of sheer voile.  You might not have to do any work at all.

I do not know if mosquitos are smart enough to fly up ten feet in the air, hop over the curtain rod, and back down to you.  If they are, you'll need some sort of roof.  I can't advise you there.
 
pollinator
Posts: 351
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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You can buy rolls of mosquito mesh, such as is used for patio doors or window screens.  They come in metal or fiberglass mesh; and in multiple strengths, and the local hardware store should be able to supply it.  

I coughed up for the super strong pet version in fiberglass that is supposedly cat proof - haven't tested it yet, but my vet swears by it for her cats...got it off Amazon, look for pet proof or cat proof, I think, and it comes in 2, 3, 4, 6, and maybe 8 foot widths.

I would attach it to simple wooden frames so they can be easily detached in winter if there was even a tiny chance of snow - they will collect the snow and the weight could either tear the mesh down from the fasteners, or damage the structure.  No snow where you are, lay it down on the frame and enjoy being bug free.  On an A-frame it may even shed light rain or dew...assuming surface tension would allow it to roll off before soaking in.
 
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Is it moveable?
-Composting toilet / outhouse foundation
-Outdoor shower
-Hammock nook with Christmas lights
-Water feature with mosquito fish, summer lounge chairs
-Summer cooking patio
-Rainwater storage
-Wood storage
-Rabbit hutch
-Chicken shack
-She shed
-Maple syrup evaporator housing
-Mushroom log storage platform
 
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