Summer is always a sizzler and the temptation is inevitably to retreat indoors and crank up the air-conditioning. But with a little planning, use of innovative technology and clever accessorising you can reduce heat gain and turn your outdoor space into a cool and stylish private retreat.
Words by Natasha Were.
The key to keeping your exterior space from becoming a furnace is thoughtful positioning. Consider the path of the sun throughout the course of the day, the prevailing wind direction, the views and the existing landscaping. If you have existing trees, take advantage of the ready-made shade they provide; bear in mind that the afternoon sun is the hottest, so a west-facing terrace or deck will heat up more than a north facing one and whenever possible position outdoor living areas to catch the breeze.
Shade is an absolute essential in any outdoor design, and the more of it you have the better. Permanent shade structures such as covered terraces or porches are ideal close to the house, but around the pool or in the garden use shade sails and umbrellas: these are
cost-effective, require no installation and can be adjusted as the sun moves.
For those who want the option of enjoying full sun, total shade and something in between,
Arcadia’s innovative mechanised louvered roof system can be partially or fully closed or open, depending on your needs.
Keep colours light. This is not only visually refreshing, but also physically cooling as darker colours absorb heat and then radiate it back at you. For paved surfaces, choose white or light materials like marble, travertine or white granite, or if you have concrete, paint it in the palest of shades. In the same vein, choose light colours for walls close to your outdoor living space, as well as cushions and soft furnishings.
Breeze Right In
There’s nothing quite like a fresh sea breeze to take the edge off the heat - but when the air is still and stagnant you need to create your own. Choose from A. L. Thompsons’ large selection of ceiling fans and portable options you can keep close at hand. Also help air circulate naturally by making use of structures that allow air flow: louvered doors, slatted fences and trellises, for instance.
Add a Little Mist-ique
Misting systems, which marry fans with light mists of water vapour, can actually reduce outdoor temperatures by several degrees. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of installing a fixed system, the portable versions that connect to your garden hose, work wonders.
Roll-down screens or blinds can convert a covered terrace or porch into an outdoor room with minimal effort. For a less rigid, enclosed feel, go for long, floaty curtains, or for a space where you can be cool as a cucumber come rain or shine, go for transparent bistro blinds, which fully enclose the space, and a portable air-conditioning unit to keep temperatures comfortably cool.
The last thing you want to do on a stifling hot day is to generate more heat by being physically active. Far better to slow down, take it easy, and relax. Swing lazily in the Skyweaver Air Chair from Pool Patrol, whose backrest made from teak beads and dowels allows plenty of airflow and shapes to your body, or hang loose in your personal treepod (top image) – a modern take on the hammock available at Living.ky – featuring mesh sides for maximum ventilation. And when the craving for a cold drink hits, IDG has you covered with a dual purpose side table, that hides an ice bucket within its hourglass shape.
Who would have thought beating the heat could be so stylish.
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