Updated: Sep 15
As we enter the summer months one thing is certain: unbearable heat. This past week temperatures have been in the low 30's or high 80's (if you're a fan of Fahrenheit). As the months progress, it will get hotter. July is our hottest month with temperatures about 10 degrees hotter than current ones. It is tempting to stay indoors under your fan or in air conditioning to avoid the heat, but summer is a time to get fresh air and spend time outdoors. Let’s talk about some of the ways you can make your outdoor space more usable in a hot and humid climate like ours.
Installing Fans & Coolers
One way to cool down your space is to add a fan to improve air circulation and lower the temperatures in your space. Outdoor fans typically use a stronger motor to cool your open space, making them a great option to provide air circulation and regulate temperatures. You have the option of getting a standing fan, a wall mount or a ceiling fan, depending on your budget and tastes. You may even be tempted to consider using an evaporative cooler. You have to be a bit more careful with this option. They can be effective at cooling down an outdoor area as they draw hot and dry outside air through water-soaked cooling pads. As the air is pushed through these pads, the water evaporates and the heat in the air is absorbed, which lowers the air temperature. However, these work best in areas with dry, less humid air. Increased humidity makes sweat evaporate slower, so your skin temperature goes up.
Adding Shade Another option is to build shade structures or installing shade sails. A covered pergola can help reduce the temperatures in your outdoor space giving you a cool shady area to relax in until the sun is a bit more bearable. The cover also protects you from rain making it an addition that allows you to be outdoors regardless of the weather. If you're interested in a shade solution that gives you more flexibility than a pergola, then you can consider installing shade sails or an infinity canopy. Using these options allow you to get shade, but they’re also removable. Shade sails are a continuous canvas covering that you can hang over your space and remove entirely if necessary. The infinity canopy gives even more flexibility because it's retractable and can be remote-controlled. This gives you the option of opening up one section to the sun while still having shade in another.
Adding Water Adding water in the form of a pool or water feature can reduce temperatures. Open water can decrease the air temperature by evaporation, absorption of heat and transport of heat. The cooling effect of flowing water is greater than that of water that is standing still. This has to do with better mixing of flowing water and air and also with the transport of heat. Water features add a tranquil soothing effect in addition to cooling the space, but that's what they are, a feature. With a pool, whether it's a large resort-style pool or just a plunge pool, you can actually take a dip to cool off.
Lighter Fabrics and Colours Some fabrics and colours absorb heat more than others. Textiles like acrylic are super soft but it's also known to dry quickly, stay cool in the beaming sun, and keep mildew at bay. We tend to recommend using Sunbrella fabrics. They're regarded as a premium outdoor textile for good reason. the Sunbrella brand's upholstery fabrics can reportedly block as much as 75% of the sun's heat and reduce a space's temperature by a few degrees. You can also consider using lighter and brighter summer colours in your space as these will absorb less heat than darker colours.