Trees are a favorite for shade seekers and also add beauty to our property. Choosing the most advantageous places to plant, they can provide seasonal shade that can make our homes more comfortable when the heat of the summer sun is at its peak.
Consider the sun rises in the east and sets in the west when deciding where to plant trees, so they can provide shade to the parts of our home where we spend the most time. Deciduous, or trees that shed their leaves in the autumn are the best trees to plant for shade in the summer. In the winter, they allow the sun to warm our home, a welcome supplemental heat source for those of us that experience an Ohio winter.
Trees, especially the varieties that provide an abundance of shade, take time to grow. While we wait for them to reach heights that will provide a shadow of coolness to our home and the various outdoor living spaces, we can use manmade shade devices that, in addition to providing a cooler space, can also provide coolness that reflects our personal style in the form of awnings, pergolas, gazebos and arbors.
In the summer months, we tend to spend more time outside, especially if we have comfortable spaces to relax and relish the fresh air and the sights and sound of wildlife, not to mention dabbling in the culinary arts as we prepare meals on the grill. Searing a filet should not include sunburn and it doesn’t have to when we are under the cool comfort of a retractable awning. Nowadays, awnings come in a variety of styles, fabrics and colors that add beauty and value to our homes. Motorized versions make retraction a breeze and several local companies install and service these seasonal amenities.
Pergolas are all the rage and come in wood and poly varieties. Columned, open structures create dappled shade that can also serve as a structure for plants to climb. Whether as a shelter for an outdoor kitchen or a respite from the stresses of the day, pergolas are classy and surprisingly affordable. Poly varieties come in several colors with darker shades being the trend today. Installed over a patio or deck, a pergola creates an outdoor room that will be a favorite spot for at least three seasons of the year.
The stand alone gazebo is timeless and serves as an outdoor structure with multiple uses. Add comfortable seating and potted plants and settle in with a good book or use it as an outdoor office, so summer doesn’t slip away while we earn a living. Memories are meant to be created beneath the gazebo where you marry the love of your life or announce the joy of a new baby. A place to return to again and again, the backyard gazebo can be a very special place.
An arbor is typically a gateway to a garden or patio and when lush with climbing roses, clematis or other vines, can be a sweet-smelling place to pause and literally, stop to smell the flowers. In styles that are reminiscent of an English country garden or a more contemporary modern look, an arbor can add personality that is unique to the homeowner.
Our homes are our castles and with a little forethought, time spent outdoors in summer, even when it is hot, hot, hot can be made in the shade.
Published: June 12, 2012