Creating an outdoor space to enjoy during the summer has one ever-present problem — the summer heat. The very warmth that can make your backyard especially inviting can drive you back into the air conditioning. When you are creating or redeveloping your patio or other outdoor space, make it a priority to think ahead and try to maximize cooling opportunities. There are ultimately only three ways to make a really hot day bearable: shade, airflow and evaporative cooling.
Most of the time when we are looking for shade, we are hoping for a well-placed tree or a patio covering. When you are constructing an outdoor space from scratch, this can be planned from the get-go. Climbing grape vines, arbors, shade trees in containers and patio umbrellas are all excellent shade providers that can be incorporated into your new outdoor room. Consulting with a nursery can provide a well-chosen variety of vine or ivy to provide a cooling, living canopy as well as tasty and decorative fruit. Evaporative coolers are relatively simple construction projects that can be handled by brave do-it-yourselfers and they provide a customizable amount of shade, tailored to your space. Sometimes moving the entire outdoor room to the other side of the house or nearer a large tree can change a pretty, but unused space into an outdoor family room that is occupied most of the time.
In many environments, a simple fan can markedly change the character of a patio or other outdoor area that isn’t too hot but feels “stuffy” in the summer. A normal household fan will not last long outdoors, but many decorative fan companies are producing indoor/outdoor models that can gently move a lot of air with almost no noise. The newer fans can come with remote controls or thermostats to run automatically. Additionally, several companies are now actively attempting to market new designs of fans that move more air using less power than ever before.
When water evaporates it actually leaves behind cooler air than before. This phenomenon has been exploited for decades in evaporative coolers. Evaporative coolers were more common before the rise of affordable air conditioning. They tend to work much better in hot, dry conditions than in high humidity. Outdoors, this principle is utilized normally through a simple hose and nozzle system. Pressurized water from an outdoor faucet is directed through tubing that is mounted around the patio or other hot area and is sprayed out of small nozzles in a mist. This mist can either be directed through a fan or simply sprayed in the general area people will be enjoying. As the water evaporates, some of the heat is removed, often making a sweltering day enjoyable.
There are other factors to keep in mind when summertime comes around and you want to beat the heat. If keeping the sun off your space is not an option, perhaps patio furniture with removable cushions is in order. When it is time to go outside and enjoy your patio or porch, out come the still-cool cushions from an outdoor storage box. The most important thing to keep in mind when you are trying to make your new space livable is the comfort of that space’s users. A beautiful patio or garden bench is just a pretty sculpture if it is too hot for relaxation. Make sure you and your loved ones can enjoy the summer safely and happily this year by planning ahead and taking the necessary steps to keep it cool out there!
Author: August Bering V, “Augie” to his friends, is President of Bering’s Hardware in Houston, TX. Bering’s is well known for a broad range of carefully selected home goods such as grilling products and accessories to grilling products and accessories, and red carpet service that has delighted customers for generations since 1940. From your bridal registry, decorating your first home, to your first baby registry, Bering’s has special gifts for special occasions and the right tools for the right job. Augie enjoys spending time with his family and friends, grilling and cooking, playing hard outside, travelling, design, art, live music, and spending as much time as he can with his family.