With the summer heat growing on the Coffs Coast, what can you do to create a cooler garden? The primary way you can achieve cooling a garden is by increasing shade. So, consider building a shade structure, such as a pergola, and planting trees and shrubs. Also, use light colours throughout to aid reflection and design your garden for increased airflow. Let’s look in more detail at how cooling a garden works.
A Pergola or Gazebo For Cooling a Garden
A pergola or gazebo can provide cooling shade while allowing the breeze to flow through. These permanent structures are a good choice for summer, followed by bright sunlight in winter.
Pergola: A wooden framework with slats or trellis sides that lets air freely circulate while providing some privacy.
Gazebo: A freestanding structure with a hipped roof and open sides that let plenty of air move through, often built on a patio, deck or porch area. The walls are often made of lattice panels rather than solid material for maximum ventilation potential.
A pergola is one of the easiest ways to increase your garden’s shade, and it can be constructed from timber, bamboo or steel. If you opt for a wooden pergola, choose a natural colour to blend in with your garden rather than stand out.
Plant the Right Trees and Shrubs
When planning your landscape, you’ll want to consider the best way to provide shade for the part of your property most affected by heat. You may also want to plant trees around areas that get direct sunlight all year. These include near windows or driveways. After all, you can be as much as 10 degrees cooler in the shade of a tree. Trees transpire or release water vapour into the air around them to cool down. In addition, the more leaves and branches there are in your yard, the more transpiration will occur and, therefore, the more significant cooling effect they will have. Finally, deciduous trees are ideal for cooling shade in summer, followed by bright sunlight in winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in winter, allowing the sun to get through.
Choose Trees with the Best Mature Size
When considering which trees you want to plant, consider the mature height of each tree and its mature spread. If a tree grows too tall and wide, it can block out your home’s windows or even shade your entire home—and this could become problematic if you live in an area with extreme weather like drought or heavy winds.
Best Aussie Trees For Cooling a Garden
Many types of trees are ideal for cooling a garden. Some trees, like the Australian native peppermint gum (Eucalyptus Rossii), provide a cooling effect without needing much water—so they’re great for areas where water is scarce. Also, the peppermint gum tree provides a habitat for birds, such as the brown cuckoo-dove and crimson rosella parrot. The following trees are all excellent choices for cooling a garden:
- Dwarf fan palm
- Claret Ash
- Native Cedars
- Ficus maclellandii (the weeping fig)
- Phoenix canariensis (the Canary Islands date palm)
- Crab Apple
- Flowering Cherry