The summer season in Hampton Roads offers lots of fun in the sun activities – ways you, your family, and guests can enjoy your backyard. Unfortunately, with the summer sun comes unbearable heat. The only way to truly enjoy your outdoors in the summer is to find ways to keep cool. That’s why we’re sharing 9 ways to stay cool outside while enjoying your backyard!
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To help you stay comfortable in your backyard in the summer, plan your outdoor entertainment space strategically. Try to avoid the south side of your home when planning an outdoor living space. This area typically gets the greatest amount of sunlight.
Consider a location out of direct sunlight or where sunlight is filtered through trees and more shaded. This planning will help to keep you cool in the summer and enjoy your backyard more. Take advantage of the cooler times of the day to avoid the sun. The hottest part of the day is between 10am and 2pm. Plan to have guests over later in the day during the hot summer months to keep everyone cooler.
A simple and inexpensive way to provide shade in your backyard is by using a large patio umbrella. Some umbrellas are connected to patio tables, or you can use stand-alone patio umbrellas. While they do come in different sizes and shapes, the largest sizes of patio umbrellas are limited to fitting over table sets or outdoor furniture. While providing shade, patio umbrellas aren’t equipped to guard against wind or rain and have a limited lifespan.
Retractable awnings are a popular choice among Hampton Roads homeowners looking to beat the heat. These retractable awnings for deck areas, patios, and porches provide a welcomed shade benefit, ideal for creating a cool oasis in your backyard.
Retractable awnings can be installed seamlessly on the exterior of your home. These awnings are ideal to shade your patio and deck areas in your backyard. They come in a variety of fabric styles and colors to match your home. Retractable awnings also come in varying lengths when fully extended in order to provide shade and cover your outdoor space, deck, or patio.
Being retractable, these awnings can be unfurled when in use and tucked away in their canister when not in use. Retractable awnings provide you with shade when you need it and sun when you want it. For added convenience, motorized retractable awnings can be equipped with a remote for automated control, allowing you to extend and retract the awning with the touch of a button.
Pergolas with canopies are another option to provide relief from the heat in your backyard. Pergolas are free-standing structures that can serve to provide shade when coupled with a canopy. Pergolas with canopies are not ideal features to protect you from severe wind, snow, or rain, but do shield you from the sun’s rays and heat. Pergolas with canopies are ideal to provide shade spaces surrounding a pool area. Some canopies are retractable, providing sun when you want it, and shade when you need it.
An often neglected way to stay cool while enjoying your backyard in the summer is to use fans. We think of fans to cool us off indoors, but they can help outdoors and in indoor/outdoor spaces too. If you have an indoor/outdoor structure (whether it is a porch, screened porch, covered patio, or sunroom), consider installing a ceiling fan. Ceiling fans help keep you cool by drawing warm air up, then pushing and circulating the cool air down and throughout the space. You could also use portable rotating fans when entertaining guests in the heat of the summer. Strategically place portable fans to keep folks cool and maximize effectiveness.
Misters are a great option to provide immediate cooling on those scorcher days by releasing a fine mist of water into the air. The water evaporates quickly and cools the area in doing so. Misters work well in spaces with zero shade, especially around a pool area where there may not be much relief from the sun’s summer heat.
To take advantage of both fans and misters, consider a fan with a mister attachment. With a fan/mister combo you get the relief of heat from the mist and cooling effect from the fan.
Go green and keep cool, that’s a win-win. You don’t get more cost-efficient than utilizing plants and trees to provide shade. Plants and trees are not only great at providing shade, but they also help to reduce the temperature of the air by evaporating water back into the atmosphere through their leaves.
If you are looking to utilize plants to provide shade from the heat quickly, consider fast-growing deciduous trees such as maple or birch. Before you break ground, consider proper placement of the plant in your yard. Evaluate the proximity of the plant to your home and your neighbor’s yard. Consider not only the plant in its current state but also its size when fully grown.
If you are looking for ways to keep a sunroom or pool house cool in the summer, be mindful of windows. Adding blinds, curtains, or other window treatments can minimize the heating effects of the sun. There are blinds and shades designed to reflect heat (cellular shades and reflective rollers) which provide an added defense against the summer heat. Using window treatments in your sunroom will help to keep the room cool and, bonus – provide additional privacy.
Nothing keeps you cool in the summer like air conditioning. Add HVAC to your sunroom to be able to use the space comfortably in the summer. Turning a three-season room into a year-round space helps you and your guests stay cool inside while enjoying the perks of being outside. Have a ductless mini split installed for the simplest way to add an HVAC system to your sunroom. Learn more about the benefits of adding a sunroom air conditioner.
Nothing says summer like iced tea and lemonade. To help you and your guests stay cool and comfortable, stock up your fridge and freezer with ice cold drinks and cool treats, like ice cream and popsicles. Not only will these drinks and treats cool you off, they will also keep you hydrated – so important in the heat of the summer.
When you are planning or equipping your outdoor living space for summer fun, also make plans to avoid the heat. Whether you are looking for a short-term option to avoid the heat, like a fan or umbrella, or a long-term solution, like a sunroom with HVAC or a retractable awning, you can still enjoy your backyard in the summer. You can take advantage of one or all nine of these tips to stay cool while enjoying your backyard.