Backyard lounging, barbecuing and socializing sounds like fun, right? But not when you’re broiling under the sizzling summertime sun.
There are lots of reasons to provide shelter from direct sunlight in your yard, including comfort and protection from the sun while you and your family are outdoors. There are also indirect benefits, such as temperature control in your house and associated savings in energy costs.
There are numerous ways to increase the shade in your yard, planting trees on the western or southern exposures is a good place to start.
• Choose deciduous and/or coniferous trees, depending on your needs. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the wintertime, allowing sunlight and warmth to penetrate. Coniferous trees do not lose their needles, providing privacy and shelter from winds on a year-round basis.
• Consider planting larger trees, so you can enjoy the benefits sooner.
• If you’re handy, erect a pergola or a wooden arbour, consisting of a couple of support beams and crossbeams running from your home to the support pieces. A pergola is an open structure that provides partial shade, and it allows you the flexibility of draping material, or training vines or vegetation to grow over it.
• Awnings can be used over windows to reduce heat and light entering your home.
• If you have a large yard, you may want to build a gazebo (open, roofed structure) away from the house.
• If you have a porch with sunny exposure, you may want to install weatherproof curtains that can be drawn to keep out sun, wind or rain.
– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for TV show Arresting Design; firstname.lastname@example.org.