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Building a beautiful environment

5 Ways to Stay Cool in a Heatwave Using Landscaping

Last week was brutal.

All across the US, save for a few states, temperatures soared, reaching highs that haven’t been seen for over a century, with hundreds of Americans perishing in the heat.

Thankfully, for the Independence Day weekend temperatures are getting back to their normal range.

But, after a year and half with lockdown restrictions few Americans want to spend their 4th of July weekend indoors. They are not letting a heatwave stop them, and rightly so!

This brings up an important question: what can people do to their properties to still enjoy the outdoors and create a retreat from the heat? Let’s talk about landscaping.

Idea 1: Add more trees to your property

Trees not only add shade which can reduce temperatures from 10-20 degrees, but trees also actually cool the air around them, thanks to their process of ‘transpiration cooling’ (basically the tree breathing causes the air to be cooler). You’ll notice this if you ever walk from a field into a forest, there can be a 10 degree drop in temperature. Also, don’t forget another advantage when you plant a tree… you help to fight against rapid deforestation of our planet’s forests.

Idea 2: Add a misting system to your deck or patio

Have you ever walked outside in the heat, and walked by a restaurant which had an outdoor misting system? If you have, you will know that it is a heavenly sensation to walk through or sit in that mist while at the same time being out in the heat. Home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot do offer systems like this for residential use, and they are not only very affordable but very simple to install, and no you don’t need a pergola, you can mount the system on your patio umbrella.

Idea 3: Polished travertine paver deck or patio

We all know the basic scientific principle that a dark surface is hotter than a light surface. Wearing black outside gets you a lot hotter than if you were wearing white. This is because white reflects the heat and while still getting hot, not nearly as hot as black, which absorbs heat. The same is true for flooring. Have you ever stepped on to a black asphalt street, in summer? It is HOT. When you create your paver deck or patio, opt for a light colored paver like travertine, which will be much cooler and not heat the space as much as a darker colored paver.

Idea 4: Make liberal use of shrubs, grass, flowers, and plants

As we touched on earlier, trees cause temperatures to lower in their immediate space due to their ‘breathing’, the same is true for grass, shrubs, flowers and plants. A backyard that is all rock and gravel will be hotter than one that has an abundance of lush greens. So, before you pave your entire backyard, try to leave a space for a flower bed and some grass, it not only adds beauty but will also help give you one more element to keep temperatures down.

Idea 5: Water features

It goes without saying that adding a pool will of course help you keep your cool. But, not everyone has the space for a pool. Short of installing an inground fiberglass pool, is there some other water feature you can add? Answer: a rain wall (or rain curtain). They come either with a closed back, or with an open one which you can walk through. They are a modern way to add not only interest and style to your property but also add yet another cooling factor.


If you want your backyard turned into a retreat from the heat, a slice of paradise, then give us a call and we’d love to give you some ideas on how to start your transformation: 908-725-7536
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