Your patio or deck can be a happening place during the summertime. Who doesn’t want to be outdoors and reap the benefits of being under the sun when the weather is nice? However, relaxing in the backyard often doesn’t happen because decks and patios lack shade, which means any time spent there leads to heat and sunburn.
You can still enjoy your outdoor space without applying a heavy coat of sunscreen – just apply these helpful tips in keeping your patio and deck cool:
Add an umbrella or retractable awning.
If you worry that a roof won’t give you enough protection from the sun, add some shade to your patio and deck. The simplest option you have is a patio umbrella that can offer immediate relief from the sun. It’s also a perfect solution for small patio and deck spaces. Most umbrellas come connected to patio tables, but you can always buy separately with an independent stand. A patio table with umbrella sets is great for having a cool space to eat and enjoy your backyard get-together with family. Plus, they come in a wide range of colors, so you can coordinate them with your outdoor rugs. As most patio umbrellas are affordable, you can get more than one, depending on how large your deck or patio is.
A retractable awning is also another option. It can offer you a layer of protection under the sun is out, but you can roll it back during cloudy days. A retractable awning is usually installed on the side of the house over the deck and can be extended or retracted using a motor or a manual rod.
Install shade structures.
If you have a large backyard deck, an umbrella, or a retractable awning, won’t cut it. In this case, building an arbor or a pergola might be a better option. These options offer attractive ways to create an enchanting backyard space while providing sanctuary from the sun.
Having a roof installed for your older deck or patio will also help cool down your outdoor space. Patio and roof decks come in different styles, such as gable, flat, or a combination of the two, which means you can choose one that complements the design of your home.
Install hanging accessories.
Once you have a roof or a pergola, you can add other hanging elements that further cool the space. For instance, hanging plants can make your outdoor area more enjoyable, cool, and beautiful.
A ceiling fan will help circulate stale air and offer a cool breeze, which can also blow pests like mosquitoes and flies from your area. If you need help in choosing an outdoor ceiling fan, read here.
In addition, you can also install a swing, a hanging daybed, or a hammock, which will let you create your own breeze as you swing back and forth. It can also make your outdoor space feel restful and relaxing. If you choose to go this route, add cushions or pillows, and choose lighter colors that won’t trap heat.
Paint it with a lighter color.
If it is possible to paint your deck or patio, you can do so with a lighter color. As lighter colors reflect light than absorb it, it can keep the heat away. You probably know this firsthand if you have ever worn a black shirt on a hot day – it absorbs more heat compared to a white shirt. Lighter hues can make a huge difference during the summertime.
When choosing to paint, make sure you use oil-based paint so it won’t bubble up or chip once it’s applied. Oil-based paint also gives a smooth finish, especially if the surface is chipped or cracked. Check out this guide on how to prep your deck for painting.
Install the right outdoor flooring.
If you’re thinking about replacing or renovating your deck or patio, you have the advantage of choosing composite wood flooring that won’t absorb much heat during the summer. Composite decking can look similar to wood, but it doesn’t need staining or painting like a wooden deck. It also stays cooler under the sun.
Other types of flooring, like composite decking, have what’s known as high heat conductivity, which means that it can transfer heat more quickly and feel cooler to the touch. Natural stones like slate and travertine tile have high heat conductivity, making them popular for outdoor flooring. Porcelain tile is another cool option, which can also imitate the look of wood, stone, marble, and other materials for maximum style and versatility.
Put down outdoor rugs in high-traffic areas.
The quickest and cheapest way to cool down your patio or deck is to put an outdoor rug. You can find outdoor rugs for high traffic areas and seating areas for very little cost. While you can use indoor rugs, they aren’t made to endure multiple weather conditions, and they will deteriorate faster than outdoor rugs. It’s best to choose lighter colored rugs, as they don’t absorb heat like darker rugs.
Besides carpet-like rugs, you can use polyester, jute, bamboo, or even plastic rugs. Plastic rugs may not sound like a good choice, but they’re so easy to clean. However, it can get slippery after a rainstorm and may not be practical for all-weather use. Meanwhile, bamboo is the best outdoor material for a rug. It’s durable, cooling, non-slip, and dries quickly. Plus, it offers a visual appeal to your deck.
Plant trees or plants near the deck or patio.
While this may not be an immediate solution, you can plant some quick-growing trees near your deck and wait for them to grow to have a nice shade within a few short years. Some trees that grow quickly include silver maple, weeping willow, northern red oak, quaking aspen, and the hybrid poplar tree. Planting any of these trees can give some shade to your home to cool down your wood deck and make a pleasant getaway right at home.
While waiting for your trees to grow, you may also add tall plants around your deck to help cool it down and provide beauty to your backyard. Choose planters that fit the design of your outdoor space while matching the size of your plants. You can add some shade plants like ivies, tropical plants like banana leaves, geraniums, or a tropical hibiscus tree. These plants grow between two to 15 feet, which provides shade to keep your deck cool. Place them in a row near high-traffic areas to keep the walkways cool.
Putting trees and greenery near your deck is the best solution to keep it cool if you have a darker wood deck that’s in a fine, working shape.
Add a bar.
To cool down on your outdoor space, you can add a bar to make refreshments available just steps away. This will make it easier for you to cool down when needed, especially if you do a lot of grilling outside or if you have a pool. A bar can also make you a hit of the neighborhood when you have everyone over.