Keeping cool is hard in the Australian sun, especially in the north of the country where the summers can often be long and hot. This means that many people don't get the best out of their gardens and head indoors during the hottest months, seeking shelter from the sun's rays and a little respite with the air-conditioning turned up. If you want to enjoy your garden and patio more during the summer - for example, to invite friends and family over for a barbecue - then you should look at ways of creating more shade. Here are some of the best options.
1. Patio Door Awnings
If your patio is accessed from a set of patio or French doors at the rear of your home, then awnings provide just the right level of shade. This is because an awning can be raised and lowered according to the height of the sun overhead. In the early evening, when the sun is lower, an awning can be brought right down to provide shade over your patio as well as the inside of your home, a great tip if you have a north-facing garden. Opt for ones with motorised controls so that you don't have to go to the trouble of winding them in or out yourself.
2. Shade Sails
Often seen in public spaces like children's playgrounds, shade sails are becoming increasingly fashionable in homes, as well. Shade sails cannot be adjusted, unlike awnings, but they provide shade in just the right spot if you have them installed professionally. Choose shade sails with high-quality, anti-rip fabric to ensure they last a long time, especially if you live in an exposed spot.
3. Grow Trees
This is the option most gardeners go for. You will have to be patient and wait until your choice of shade-giving trees matures, but it is a very good option if your patio takes the form a terrace that is away from the main home because you won't have to worry about their roots undermining your house's foundations. Popular trees for offering shade include maples and golden rain trees.
4. Install a Pergola
If you have a pergola fitted above your patio area, then you can use it to create a microclimate beneath that is ideal for social gatherings. Growing vines and similar rambling plants through a pergola is a superb way of generating cooling shade. What's more, they look great and create a focal point for your home's exterior.