A well-tended garden can be a gorgeous place to linger on a summer afternoon, but only if it offers the right things, including a feeling of lushness and green retreat.

  • Shade is critical – direct sun and radiant heat is main thing that will drive you back indoors on a hot afternoon. It’s not rocket science, but if you can provide some shade to your outdoor space you’ll be surprised just how much cooler it can be. An appropriately sized tree, umbrella or overhead structure – or the right combination thereof – can cool the space and protect the planting underneath.
  • Colours also play a critical role, and as we all know, dark colours heat up more than light colours. This goes for timber and stone as well as paint – if your space gets too hot, consider whether your dark concrete paving might be the culprit, for example.
  • Although shade (and especially tree canopy) plays the biggest role in cooling outdoor spaces, you can amplify the effect with the right understorey. Plants absorb sunlight hitting their leaves, and they naturally exude water vapour throughout the day. This vapour carries heat away with it in the breeze – a well-planted garden can act like an evaporative cooler and buffer the temperature around your outdoor living space, for example, far better than hard surfaces or even a lawn. A water feature can also help with this by creating continually flowing (and evaporating) water.

We all deserve outdoor spaces that support us and are usable year-round, and in Sydney it is often the height of summer when we are driven indoors by the weather. OUTHOUSE offers in-person consultations in your garden with qualified and experienced designers and horticulturalists to help you get the most value out of your landscape. Get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Image: John Feder