As the high temperatures hit, it can be hard to get outdoors and enjoy your outdoor living space. But with a little preparation and creativity, you can ensure that your garden is cool and refreshing this summer, even on the warmest of days. Here are some tips on how to keep your outdoor space cool:
1) Keep water features clean and attractive
One of the best ways to ensure that your garden is comfortable can be as simple as a bubbling water feature. Ponds, fountains, and pools all add a little more humidity to the natural air which can make a huge difference in comfort levels. By creating a focal point around which you situate seating and toys for kids, your outdoor space will become much more inviting.
2) Grow vines up trellises or fences
If your outdoor space is largely enclosed, growing climbing plants can make a huge difference in keeping it cool. Climbing roses and honeysuckle are both hardy and attractive options for this purpose, as they will provide shade from the sun while also creating a lush green effect to the space.
3) Utilize a Retractable Awning
Awnings are excellent for allowing cool air in your space, especially if it is retractable. A simple online search can help get retractable awnings supplied from Kalamazoo to your doorstep if you live in Michigan, for instance. Not only will this retractable accessory provide protection against the heat of the sun, but many retractable awnings are made from materials that can actually absorb sunlight and then reflect it back as cool air. This means retractable awnings can also help reduce your energy bills by cooling down your home without using any actual air conditioning systems.
4) Try an Evaporative Cooler
If you don't have central AC, or if you want to save some money during these especially hot days, consider using an evaporative cooler. Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, do not use refrigerants like most cooling systems. They actually blow hot dry air through water-dampened pads, causing the air to become more humid and cooler.
Most evaporative coolers can lower the air temperature by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows you to enjoy your outdoor space without feeling as hot and sticky as you would if left in a non-conditioned space. To use an evaporative cooler, simply follow the instructions on the packaging. To get these systems working at their maximum potential, make sure that your cooler is in an open space with plenty of airflow. You'll also want to place it in a shaded area because direct sunlight can heat up the water faster than normal.
5) Install Fans
Install a fan or two near where you will spend time outside. It can help by recirculating cool air, so it doesn't have to build up as much from the surrounding warm environment. Also, having an oscillating fan that pushes cooler air around is more effective than just stationery fans that might not blow on you directly. This will help offset much of the heat that you feel from the sun beating down on your skin.
6) Use Larger Plants
Plants that are closer to full size or larger will offer more shade during hot times of the day. Smaller plants may not offer any shade at all, and the sun's rays can hit your outdoor space directly.
Large plants also have a greater root system, which can increase water retention and reduce evaporation in your space. This will help cool the air because you'll have less moisture evaporating from the topsoil.
7) Outdoor Furniture
If you have a concrete porch or patio, consider covering it with matte finish paint. This will reflect sunlight that could vaporize the top layer of materials and make it much cooler underneath. Another option is to install a thin plastic film over the existing surface by removing all debris and dust beforehand. This will also help to keep heat from escaping into the home and then returning.
Some of the most comfortable and stylish outdoor furniture has cooling gel in the cushions. This gel is surrounded by a water reservoir with air bubbles in it, which makes it work like an ice pack. So when you leave your patio, you can simply take these pieces of seating inside and they will be cool to sit on for hours. Additionally, there are several other types of furniture that take advantage of nature's own cooling method.
8) Add in an Outdoor Cool Mist System
Outdoor misting systems are a convenient way to keep your outdoor living space cool and comfortable without the need for constantly running air conditioners or 24/7 shade. These systems typically consist of giant fans with large holding tanks that fill up with water and shoot out tiny droplets of mist, cooling everything in their path as they go. A good misting system will have fans on the top or on the side so that they can send mist in any direction.
You can choose from a variety of different sizes and styles for outdoor misting systems to meet every need. If you are looking to cool down an expansive space like a backyard patio or pool-side sitting area, then you will want a large unit with powerful fans and a nice holding tank so that it won't need to be refilled frequently.
9) Get a Pergola
A pergola is a great way to keep your outdoor space cool and shaded during hot weather. They're easy to build yourself if you have some carpentry skills and can be adapted for any outdoor space, regardless of how much shade you need or what layout you prefer.
Before you start building, make sure you have the time and money to invest in this project. A pergola can be expensive if you hire a contractor, but well worth it if you do it yourself (or with some help). If possible, ask family or friends for help – not only will you save money on labor costs, but also have a built-in support system when you need it.
If money is an object, you can always do a less expensive version of the pergola. You could use lattice for the roof, or just have plain railings instead of fancy columns and arches. As long as it offers enough shade for your space, there's no reason to spend money on something that's just going to sit there and look pretty.
10) Install a Water Fountain
A water fountain or pond can help keep your outdoor space cool during hot weather. The moving water of the fountain will create a nice breeze, which will help circulate the air and keep you feeling cooler than you would with still air right next to you.
If having a pond is not an option, or too expensive for your budget, then you can use the same principle with any water feature that moves water around. A fountain or waterfall is best, but even a bubbling garden hose will have a small cooling effect on the air around you.
These tips should help keep your outdoor living space cool and comfortable. Of course, the simplest way to keep your outdoor living room cool is to simply close off parts of it when it's too hot outside – but you can also get a retractable awning or any of the ideas shared above.