Head for the shade during sizzling summer days
There are many ways to try keeping cool during hot, dry and sunny weather. Some are obvious and others, less so. Garden umbrellas are probably the first line of defence. Put up several before the sun rises, and not only will the shade provide a mini-refuge, but the air flow around the umbrella will create a little breeze too. You dont need a fancy stand, some garden parasols, such as the Eazy Shade from Cave Innovations
, come with multi-function clips and clamps so that they can attach to chairs and tables.
The shade of choice for the moment is the sail. Sail shades
come in all sorts of sizes, colours and shapes and the art of creating an attractive design is fun! These woven fabric shades can be mounted on trees, poles or other high anchor points and offer sun protection for a day, a week or a month, depending on your fixings. Style and practicality all rolled into one.
Or maybe you prefer the option of a roll-out awning which can be fixed to the side of a house, offering a more permanent shade which is there when you need it. These come in many different colours and patterns and somehow they always seem to add a beach hut type of atmosphere to a garden.
Want to achieve a 'beach hut' sort of theme? Get yourself a roll-out awning which can be fixed to the side of your house!
Then theres water, of course. The sound and sight of water is not only visually cooling, but as water evaporates, the air temperature is cooled, and air movement is created.
The millstone fountain by Henri Studios makes you feel cool, just looking at it!
Sitting by a pool or water feature
with an operational fountain offers a relaxing and immersive experience which calms the mind and lowers temperatures too.
A cool water feature and pond provides a great place to sit in the heat of the summer.
Pergolas, arches and arbours
are a great way to achieve shade and long-term structure. Wooden or metal framework makes ideal climbing areas for plants such as Clematis, roses, passion flower
and even Bougainvillea during hot summer sunshine. The shade provided by these structures provides a long-term benefit to your garden and its fun to find suitable plants for the various areas adjacent to the form. Place a table and chairs under or next to the pergola for a cool and shady seat which benefits from the scent of beautiful summer flowers.
A garden arbour, clad with a rose and other climbing plants, makes a cool and shady refuge during hot weather.
Then there are plants, of course. Theres probably nothing better than the shade cast by a semi-mature or mature tree.
But of course, you have to wait for your tree to grow before you benefit. If you are lucky enough to have garden trees, make the most of the cool area beneath. As the branches sway in a gentle breeze they create a pleasant air-flow and a sound that is reminiscent of the sea. Cool!
Trees cast welcome shade in the garden and the sound of the leaves is refreshing.
There are other plants that generate a cooling swish and help to move the air around. Ornamental grasses
are some of the very best as they shimmer and sway in even the slightest breeze, making a sound that transports you to the beach. Some grasses
are used as living screens, such as Miscanthus sinensis Gracillimus for example. It grows up to two metres high and not only brings sound and movement to a space but creates a welcome patch of shade too. The slightly smaller Miscanthus Morning Light
is just as effective and highly versatile.
Miscanthus 'Morning Light' creates a breath of fresh air in a hot garden.
Pampas and bamboo
Then there are the pampas grass types which form tall plumes up to three metres high, on a mound of strappy foliage and bamboo
which has a multitude of different uses. If you have ever heard bamboo stems moving in a breeze, you will have to have some! Not all bamboo needs strike fear into the hearts of men. Some is well-behaved and clump-forming rather than rampant. It makes an excellent screen and has terrific form, particularly when the foliage is removed from the mid and lower parts of the stems. Light the stems at night for the ultimate cool effect!
Bamboo can be a great addition to a garden, but choose your variety carefully.
A fernery within a garden is a delightful, shady and cool place in which to sit on a hot day.
Every garden has a little shade and you could consider making a fernery i
n suitable spots. Garden ferns
are generally shade-lovers and they like damp soil. By planting en-masse, you create a rich habitat which shades the soil and the fresh green fronds help to cool the air.
Other shade-loving plants make you feel chilled just to look at them, including Brunnera macrophylla i
n all its different guises. Top favourites are B. Alexanders Great
; B. Silver Spear
and B. Mr Morse
, all of which have the most amazing, silvery, shimmering leaves with green veining.
Brunnera 'Silver Spear' makes you feel cool, just looking at the silver foliage.
Brunnera 'Alexanders Great' is equally impressive, with its shimmering leaves and frosted foliage.
If you have a little shady spot in your garden, consider Heuchera
. They are also groundcover plants that will thrive in dappled shade and give you heaps of joy. Their colourful foliage conserves moisture in the soil beneath. Heuchera come in many different colours including reds, lime greens, purples and coppery orange. They can be used to create a cooling sea of foliage which is both eye-catching and practical too.
Heuchera 'Sugar Berry' is a delightful plant with magenta and maroon foliage which has silvery accents.
Foliage colour of Heuchera is awesome as they come in many different colours. These are plants that prefer a semi-shady place in the garden.
Enjoy the hot season, stay cool and be creative with your shade!
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