It’s springtime in Arizona, which can only mean one thing for Phoenicians: summer is on the way. While we’re still basking in the cooler temperatures and pleasant days, we all know that blazing heat is just around the corner. But there’s a simple solution to handling the hot summer days without confining yourself to the indoors all season. That solution is shade.
Being in direct sunlight can make a hot day feel even hotter. Conversely, getting out of direct sunlight can make you feel 10-15 degrees cooler. (And when you’re dealing with triple-digit temperatures, that’s no small thing!)
The other great thing about shade: it’s relatively easy to bring it right to your own backyard! Here are some landscape design features that help provide shade, so you can enjoy the outdoors even on the hottest summer days.
A nice shade tree is a beautiful, natural way to bring shade into your landscape design. Ash trees, Elm trees, and Mulberry fruitless trees are some popular shade tree options for Arizona. Of course, you might have to wait a little while for these trees to reach their full shady potential, but the cool shade on a hot day will be worth it.
A pergola is a simple, affordable structure that can provide partial shade, depending on the design. Many Arizonans choose to add a pergola over their backyard dining space, making outdoor dining possible year round. Pergolas also add a nice architectural element to your yard, giving it a complete, polished look.
Gazebo or pavilion.
While a little more traditional-looking than a pergola, some Arizonans love the classic look of a gazebo or pavilion, both of which offer a fully shaded area. While this option is typically more expensive than a pergola, it also offers more shade, so it might meet your needs better. If you love hosting outdoor events, this is probably your best bet.
Many Arizona homes have a covered outdoor patio, and adding shades to that patio is a fantastic way to keep it shaded, no matter the time of day. Retractable shades are visually appealing (think: window shades for your patio) and are simple and easy to use.
While an umbrella is not part of your landscape design per se, knowing if you want to use umbrellas, and where you want to use them, can guide some other choices. For example, your landscaper could install an umbrella sleeve (a hole in the ground that your umbrella pole fits into) so that your umbrella covers a certain section of your pool or your dining area.
However you decide to incorporate shade into your landscape design, it’s always best to work with a design professional who can help you make sure your yard is shaded in all the right spots while still giving your plants enough sun. With a few simple changes, you could be enjoying your shady backyard all summer long!