Beat the Heat with Pergolas, Outdoor Fans and Natural Shading

Beat the Heat with Pergolas, Outdoor Fans and Natural Shading

Jun 29, 2014

On the torrid days of summer we all look for new ways to beat the heat. Our yard provides many natural possibilities for chilling out. Green plants in our garden can provide shade and help increase the comfort level. You can achieve dramatic effects in the reduction of the summer cooling costs by shading your house with green plants and proper landscaping.

Summer Pergolas, Shading and Decks

Most of the heat gain of your house occurs in the morning time and in the afternoon, when the sun shines directly through your house’s windows. If you plant a tree in the proper location to shade your windows from direct sunrays it can block up to 90 percent of the solar radiation. It is recommended to use shade trees on the east side of the house against the morning heat buildup, and also on the southwest and west of your house in order to shield from afternoon rays. Trees located southwest of the house can provide additional cooling and shade. You can also use vines to cover the south walls of the house.

Patios, decks and other outdoor areas can benefit from shade trees planted on the west and south sides. Keep a high ground clearance of tree branches in order to benefit of the funnel breeze beneath trees that will create natural ventilation. You can also shade HVAC units with large shrubs and trees. Keep the low branches short in order to not obstruct the flow of the air to the condenser.

Pergolas are a great way to beat the summer heat. An attached pergola is an extension of the living space of the house into the yard. Pergolas serve as a transition between outdoors and indoors and they provide cool areas for recreation during the hottest summer days. Their overhead framing can also provide shade for your house’s windows.

Here are some tips for a more comfortable, cooler, and energy efficient landscape in your garden:

  • Shade your outdoor air conditioning condensers in order to make their operation more efficient.
  • Plant shrubs and trees that can act as wind tunnels in order to channel cool breezes into the house. Keep the lower branches short in order to allow breezes underneath.
  • Plant vines to climb on walls in order to provide extra shade on the west and south sides of your house.
  • Plant large shade trees on the southwest, west, and east sides of the house but avoid planting them south of the house to not block winter sun.
  • Shade the outdoor activity areas such as patios and decks by planting trees on their west and south sides. Arbors covered by vines can also be effective barriers against sun-rays.

Following these guidelines you will save a great deal of money on your energy bills and will make your living spaces cooler and more comfortable. Consulting with a qualified landscape specialist can help maximize the beauty and efficiency of your garden spaces. Have questions? Botanical Concepts Chicago can help.