Landscape Features to Help You Stay Cool

When you’re facing the brutal Arizona heat, every little bit helps when it comes to staying cool. While many Arizonans choose to spend the particularly hot days indoors, there are some things you can do, right in your own backyard, that make going outside a little (or a lot) more bearable, even in the Valley of the Sun. 

We get that a full-blown swimming pool isn’t for everyone, so today, we’re talking about other landscape features that can help you stay cool outside. 


A pergola can add some much-needed shade to a backyard, creating a great space to set up some lounge chairs or a dining table. Staying in the shade can help you feel up to 15 degrees cooler, which can make a huge difference in your comfort level while outside in the heat.

Pergolas range from simple and inexpensive, to more costly and elaborate. But all things considered, this is one feature that will add to your living space, make your backyard more enjoyable, and give your landscape a polished, finished look. 


There’s a reason outdoor shopping centers in the Phoenix area keep misters going full-blast during the summer time: they work. The evaporating moisture in the air can make temperatures feel up to 30 degrees cooler—which can make your backyard downright pleasant, even during an Arizona summer.

Misters are energy and water efficient, and as long as they’re installed, used, and cared for properly, they’ll help make your backyard survivable on hot days. DIY options abound, or professional equipment and installation can help give you a misting system that will last for years to come.

Real grass

There are plenty of reasons to consider using artificial turf in your backyard. But if we’re talking about temperature control, real grass is the winner. The transpiration process results in the grass releasing water into the air, having a cooling effect. That’s why grass is always more comfortable on bare feet than a concrete surface on a hot day. 

Real grass can take some effort to care for, but setting up professional watering systems and educating yourself on how to care for your lawn can help. 


Like grass, trees release moisture into the air, cooling it. Plus, you get double the benefits with trees, since they can also provide shade. It may take a few years for your trees to become mature enough to provide much shade, but once they do, they can make all the difference.

When planting trees in your backyard, it’s important to consider which trees will be able to thrive in the desert heat. Make sure you work with a professional to help you make decisions about which trees will work best for the climate and for your vision for your backyard.

Light colors

Dark colors absorb heat, making them generally hotter to the touch. Light colors reflect heat, keeping them cooler. While the impact may be small, it’s worth considering when you’re choosing materials for your landscaping, particularly for pavers or paint.

Light concrete or light colored stones (like travertine pavers) are your best bet for keeping the ground cool. Also, since unattractive cinderblock is a common material for backyard walls in Arizona, many people choose to paint those walls. If you’d like to do this, choose a light color. You’ll love the look—and the cooler feel!

Arizona summers can be rough, and they usually outlast their welcome. But don’t let the heat kick you out of your own backyard until November. Incorporate one or more of these simple landscape features to help you stay cool, and start to enjoy being outside again!

Contact Rustic Creek Landscaping today to discuss your ideas for custom landscape design.

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