It’s summertime and you and your family are looking to hang out all day and night in the backyard. Only one problem though. It’s like a desert out there and you’re likely to end up burned and covered in aloe gel. And it’s all your fault.
So what can be done to fix up the backyard and make it hospitable to life as we know it? Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can be done. It depends on how much money, time, and effort your family is looking to invest into a backyard wonderland but there is a solution for everyone.
This article presents 4 backyard solutions that you can do to make your backyard less like Venus and more like an Oasis. Each idea can be applied in various ways depending on the materials, location, and finances available.
Install Artificial Shade
One of the quickest and most effective strategies is to install some artificial shade. There are a few options but some kind of semi-permanent structure is the best option. The most popular and useful solution is probably a retractable awning.
Retractable awnings are rolled-up shades mounted to the eave of your house. When not in use, it is barely noticeable. When it rains or when the sun comes out, you can extend the awning a significant distance from the house.
This provides the largest and most efficient solution to the problem. There are many sizes and kinds of retractable awnings. Have a look at the best retractable awning company to get an idea of some available high-quality options. These are multipurpose and don’t take up any room when not in use.
There are other forms of artificial shade available. This could be a large beach-style umbrella, a trellis covered in vines, or an unsightly tarp strung up across the yard. Of course, all of these have major downsides. An umbrella takes up a lot of space when not in use, it doesn’t create much shade, and it needs to be brought inside after use or it will likely blow over or get sun bleached. A trellis is a permanent structure and takes significant time to be built, and even longer for the vines to provide significant cover. That’s for next year. And a tarp…well, nothing needs to be said, right?
There are lots of ways to use water to cool off your yard. These range from cheap to major investments. Some of the more obvious ways involve water use as entertainment. Swimming pools are the most effective way to beat the heat. They come in a range of sizes that are suitable for just about any yard and any budget. If you’re looking for something with less maintenance and cost, you could just set up a sprinkler to run through.
There are lots of small and affordable forms of water entertainment that are suitable for yards. And kids will love it. However, it isn’t a good idea for grandma to dive onto a slippery sheet of plastic all afternoon.
Any water feature that includes a fountain will help cool the area directly adjacent. That’s because water takes heat away with it when it boils away. So heat gets absorbed into the water vapor and it blows away. Water quickly absorbs or emits heat as it falls through open air. This means that any kind of fountain is removing heat from the atmosphere.
Finally, a spritzing machine strategically placed will help keep everyone cool. This is a machine that provides a constant mist of water for people to enjoy. The constant spray of cool water helps everyone cool off. And since it’s essentially just a hose with some spray valves, it’s pretty easy to cover a large area with a cooling mist.
Plant Some Trees
This isn’t an immediate solution, but it’s the most effective long-term. Planting some trees will provide nearly indefinite coverage for your yard. But picking the right trees and installation is a different story.
If you’ve got a huge landscaping budget, you can move in a full-sized tree and have them slap it into the ground. However, most people can’t afford or justify ordering a massive adult tree on Amazon. Most people will need to resort to saplings.
Before breaking ground, it’s a good idea to have the guys come out and check your property for power lines, fiber optic cables, gas lines, and plumbing under the ground. After that’s all done, you can consider where to put your trees. Different trees grow in different sizes and at different rates. So all of that needs to be considered.
Some trees are engineered to grow extremely fast, but the fastest of these are coniferous and not suitable for shade. Other trees like maple trees also grow fairly fast and will produce a large canopy later in life. One or two of this tree is suitable to cover the average yard.
Other options involve fruit trees and other forms of permaculture. Fruit trees don’t usually get big enough to provide a lot of shade. However, apple trees are an exception. While not particularly large, apple trees are big enough to shade a significant portion of your yard. You’ll probably need a few to provide enough coverage. But it’s important to consider that apple trees draw a lot of insects into the yard.
One of the last things that can be done with no time or money at all is to plan accordingly around the sun. Even the hottest yard can be utilized at the right times. Get in the habit of enjoying your time in the yard during the mornings or evenings. Or at least don’t plan on getting out there around noon if nothing else.
Likely, one single strategy won’t cut it. Nor should it. So consider the way you want to use your yard and when. Taking the layout and location of the sun’s path into consideration, make a permanent shade solution, add a water option or two to cool off, consider some pleasant vegetation, and choose the right times to venture out into the yard if you want to make the most of your yard this season.