I love to write outside in the summertime. Maybe it’s because I live in Canada and I just don’t want to miss any of that sunshine. This year, after our fierce winter, I really want to write outside.
Arranging this isn’t without challenges, though.
In our old house, there was a deck on the second floor, built over part of the kitchen. It just so happened that the bedroom that led to this deck was the one I used as my office, so the deck became my summer office. It had a partial roof, so it wasn’t too sunny and I spent a lot of time out there.
This house, however, has no deck. It has a patio, which is poured concrete and quite a good size. The problem has been that it’s incredibly hot, even when the day isn’t that warm. It gets the morning sun and I think the concrete pad (as well as the brick wall of the house) heats up, then radiates for the rest of the day. This also makes it very bright, and not so good for seeing a laptop screen. We only use this patio in the evenings, as a result, which is a shame.
The obvious solution would be an umbrella, but the wind is quite strong in that corner of the world. It peels around the house in strong gusts. We were pretty sure that we’d have about five minutes to enjoy an umbrella before it took flight and left us behind. We’ve looked at awnings and canopies and trellises, but it seems the best solution is going to be to build a framework and tie waterproof fabric to it in the summer. Still, Mr. Math is skeptical about that wind, so this year, we tried an experiment.
Canadian Tire helped. Our local CT put their bottom-of-the-line 10 x 10 foot gazebo on sale for $60 in the early spring. We figured an experiment couldn’t get any cheaper. Yesterday, we put it together. It looked good but the wind was up and it was lifting off the patio right before our eyes. There’s a privacy lattice on one side of the patio, so we cozied it into that corner and lashed two legs to the fence. Mr. Math then found a bucket, drilled some holes in the bottom of it (so it wouldn’t collect water for mosquitos to breed), put the third leg into the bucket and piled it full of river rocks. (This is his nod to flea market chic.) He then lashed the top of this corner to the bucket.
The fourth corner was still lifting in the wind, so he took the stone base for a garden torch and lashed that corner down to that. Ha. A thunderstorm was rolling in and the wind was blowing, but the gazebo stayed put. I moved the planters around, and it’s like a little room with a garden view. We didn’t hang the mosquito netting walls. We sat beneath it for lunch, pretty pleased with ourselves, then as the skies darkened, I started to scheme. We headed back to CT yesterday afternoon, where I found strings of solar powered string lights on sale. I used the loops for the mosquito netting walls to hang the lights around the inside of the gazebo roof. The cost of my outdoor room is now $100, but it has light at night. The solar panels went on the top of the privacy trellis, in the sun and out of sight.
The gazebo isn’t waterproof but it’s water resistant. When the deluge came during the night, the patio and chairs beneath it did get a bit wet – but in the drizzle of the afternoon, it was quite pleasant to sit there and have a celebratory glass of wine. The New Girl found her command position, both under the gazebo and with a clear view of her domain. The gazebo provides enough shade that it’s easy to read the laptop screen, as well. Perfect! Even more perfect, the lights make a nice golden glow in the evening.
I think I’ll be spending a lot of time out there this summer, both writing and just enjoying the garden. We’ll see how it works over the summer, but it looks as if we’ll use this gazebo until it wears out, then have Mr. Math’s permanent structure built and installed.
Do you have an outdoor room where you can enjoy the summer weather?