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Shade: Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

Around this time of year, we all start looking at our yards with fresh excitement. The season for entertaining outdoors is upon us! Cut to July 4th weekend: you can see the heat radiating off the grill, and everyone is taking turns inside to escape from the sun. You need a way to beat the heat in your yard this summer. Here’s some advice on how to keep you and your guests cool.

How to beat the heat in your yard this summer

Pergolas & Awnings 

If you’re willing to build a bit, incorporating a pergola or a simple attached awning in your yard will have a huge payoff. They can be built to fit with just about any style and vary in how involved they are to install. Pop one out of the box or have a skilled carpenter fabricate it on-site. The classic wooden look for a pergola seems like it will never go out of style, but there are also some great looking stains and finishes that can change up the look. Make sure the overhead slats are at an appropriate angle to the sun’s path so you get solid coverage during the day!

Pergola + Vines 

We absolutely love a well-placed pergola to lounge beneath. Why not go all-out *whimsical* and train some vines to creep up those posts? Certain species of vine love to climb up built structures. This can help turn a standard pergola into a cool oasis. Vines can be planted directly in the soil or in planters next to your pergola’s posts. You can choose a vine for its flowering color, leaf size & density (denser leaf cover means more shade!). Clematis and various grape vines can be good options, depending on your zone. Just be wary of certain twining vines like Wisteria, which grow thick, heavy stems that can damage or weigh on a structure.

Try a Shade Sail

Shade sails can be a dynamic addition to a back or side yard. They act as a barrier between you and the sun while maintaining a light touch aesthetically. Shade sails come in a variety of colors, whether you need a clean, cool neutral or are using it as a vibrant pop of color. Fastened to the exterior of a home, designated posts, or atop a pergola, shade sails can add an inviting texture to your hangout space in your yard – while keeping everyone cool.

Pick a Great Umbrella

Our Tilly designers have given us some detailed tips on how to choose a sun umbrella for your yard. Follow these guidelines and you will be golden! 

Program your Yard for Shade

Your deck may be baking in the sun, but it’s possible you already have other opportunities for shade in your yard. Take stock of what the sun does in your landscape throughout the day. Is there a nice big tree or hedge providing protection after the early morning? That’s your new seating area! Don’t feel tied to the structure of your house. Making new areas to spend time in your yard can be as simple as moving furniture or designating a space.

Get Specific with Paving and Planting

If you really want to get granular about your ambient heat, start thinking also about the amount of paving and the surface area of shade you have in your yard. We all know asphalt is hot. Concrete and lighter colored pavers are cooler, and any organic material like wood decking and mulch is even cooler still. Think about how covered your space is, and definitely take into account any tiny feet (whether human or canine) that might scramble across the pavement barefoot!

Relatedly, plants have the ability to create shade around our space. A single tulip bulb may not make much difference, but if you think in terms of shrubs and massings of tallgrasses, that adds up! Chosen wisely, you can employ the plants in your yard to absorb and reflect heat that may otherwise get soaked up by the ground, turning your yard into a sauna. Again, take a look at how your sun moves across the space! You’ll find plenty of ways to create little pockets of shade.

Consider a Pool

Hear me out – while you may not think you have the type of yard that can accommodate a pool, you might be surprised! Many companies now offer small-scale prefabricated plunge pools meant for quick dips and cool-downs. Soake Pools is a great company that offers beautiful prefab plunge pools as small as 8’9”x5’. So cute! They include a number of customizable options as well, from lighting, to tiling, and automation. Just check your local code to see if installing a pool is possible. And if you have space for something larger, well, Tilly can help you site that too. Check out some of our favorite designed pools here

For Summers Down the Line – 

Plant a Shade Tree

It won’t pay off right away, but strategically planting a tree or two has the power to change the whole climate of your space. Pay attention to the direction of the sun across your yard throughout the day, and be sure not to shade out any sun-loving plants you’d like to keep. A nice big maple or oak can provide shelter from the sun for generations.

Summer is coming. Beat the heat and stay cool out there!

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