Quirky Patio Laws Across the US

by RyanD on May 20, 2013


Summer’s here, and it’s time to use your patio for all of your favorite hot weather activities: grilling, drinking beers, relaxing, and watching your kids play. Of course, you want to be a law-abiding citizen while you have your summer fun, so make sure to read up on some of the craziest outdoor laws and ordinances on the books.

No Drinking on the Patio (Massachusetts)
Planning on an afternoon drinking beers on the patio of your favorite restaurant? Guess again. According to one Boston ordinance: “Outdoor cafés must serve dinners. No one shall be seated in an outdoor café for the sole purpose of drinking alcohol.” In other words, no food, no booze. On the patio, patrons have to be seated at a table and have ordered a meal in order to have drinks. We wonder if olives and lime wedges count as a meal in this case.

Flower Pots as a Public Nuisance (Florida)
Patios are a perfect place for potted plants, flowers, vegetables, and herbs. But if you forget to buy the pots with drainage holes at the bottom, heaven help you. According to section 18-2 of this law, non-draining flowerpots can breed mosquitos, attract wild animals, or become infested with vermin. Who knew that a few pots of pretty flowers could turn so evil?

No Riding Bicycles in Swimming Pools (California)
Playing chicken, floating leisurely, doing cannonballs, yanking down girls’ bikini tops—these are all fine. Just don’t bring your bike in the pool. Leave it on the patio where it belongs.

No Renting Without the Proper License (Texas)
If you were looking to rent a vacation home, or rent your own home out as a vacation property, be careful if you live in Austin, TX. Residents of the city who want to rent out their homes have to be registered with the city, and apparently, less than one percent of renters actually go through with the registration process. Don’t ask how this is law is supposed to be enforced.

No Unsupervised Playing (Texas)
Looking forward to sending the kids out on the patio to play so that you can take a nap, pay some bills, sit quietly, or scream into a pillow? Don’t count on it if you live in La Porte, TX. If your neighbors call the police because they don’t think you’re supervising your children, you could end up in jail for the night and be charged with child endangerment. Better just let them sit in front of the TV and never let them leave your sight.

No Couches on the Patio (Colorado)
Ordinance No. 7125 (2002) prohibits putting any upholstered furniture not manufactured for outdoor use in a yard or on a porch. Sure, putting a couch on the deck is probably not the most attractive option for patio furniture, and we’ll choose not to think about the mildew issue with storing upholstered furniture outside, but outlawing outdoor couches? This seems a bit extreme.

A Prison Sentence for a Pool Gate (Virginia)
Be careful as you jaunt back and forth between the patio and the pool. According to sections 152-3 and 152-5, failing to close and latch the gate when you leave the pool can be punished with a $2500 fine, a year in prison, or both. We understand the purpose of safety, but this seems a little overprotective.


This article was written together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping his future clients get the justice they deserve. He writes this on behalf of Bayou City Lumber, your number one choice for Ranch Fencing in Texas. As a company that’s well-versed in relevant law, it’s clear why they’re the experts for you. Check out their website and see what they can do for you today!




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