Tag Archives: Shade

Urban Heat Islands

Hot town summer in the city

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Hot town summer in the city

Edited by Allan Britnell

For the last 100 years, scientists have been exploring the reason why temperatures are so much warmer in the city compared to the rural areas surrounding them. This phenomenon, called an urban heat island, is a direct result of our activities.

Unfortunately, with global warming, this increased heat continues to go up in areas with lots of stone and concrete like parking lots and even in our own backyards. Even though more cities are investing in green spaces and promoting green roof technology, several online sources state that more than 70 percent of all of the surfaces that we are currently installing in our landscaped spaces are concrete, pavement, stone, or pavers. We are turning our own backyards into mini urban heat islands! Now if you have a client who wants a patio or if you specialize in stone masonry and installation, then there is good news. There are simple ways to reduce the heat in the backyard and still have a beautiful space that will not only last for years it will help increase the home’s value.

Help your clients choose lighter stone colours. Dark stones using black or dark grey pigments have been very popular for the last decade. Like wearing black clothes on a sunny day, dark stone choices heat up way more than the lighter options. White paving stones have become very popular for designers because of the modern aesthetic. Unfortunately, while going with a white paver might be better to displace heat, the idea of the sun bouncing off of the surface already makes my eyes hurt just thinking about it. Instead, I try and move my clients towards lighter colours that have flecks or speckles of darker material in them.

Throwing shade: Cantilevered umbrellas keep the sun off of guests, while rugs help prevent stonework from absorbing too much heat.
Throwing shade: Cantilevered umbrellas keep the sun off of guests, while rugs help prevent stonework from absorbing too much heat.

Incorporate shade into the design

By increasing the amount of permanent shade on the patio, you reduce the amount of sunlight and heat that the stones actually absorb. I’m a big fan of a pergola with large fabric panels that can be installed every spring and removed before the snow. This is such an important add-on to any project. Make sure to ask your clients if they have planned on adding shade. If a pergola is not for them, suggest using a large umbrella. I’ve been impressed with a lot of the new technology in umbrellas lately. Solar-powered models that are cantilevered with a good heavy base not only allows you to create shady all day long, they also charge in the sun, creating free light wherever you need it at night!

Simply adding an outdoor rug is also an effective way of displacing the heat. While stone may absorb and hold the warmth of the sun, the synthetic fibres of outdoor rugs don’t. Even the darkest rugs hold significantly less heat than a dark patio stone. They also act as a barrier between the sun and your patio, preventing it from heating up in the first place.

This summer is going to be a hot one across the country. Lets educate our clients so that we all work towards managing the urban heat islands that we are creating in our backyard.

Carson Arthur is a landscape designer and television personality.


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Made in the shade: 4 ways to add backyard sun protection

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Made in the shade: 4 ways to add backyard sun protection

By: Darla Grant-Braid

Come rain or come shine, there’s one thing that every backyard needs and that’s shade. Whether lounging, BBQing, or gardening, a shade element is necessary to ensure your comfort and make it possible for extended enjoyment of your outdoor space. Shade elements come in all shapes, sizes and price points. Here are a few options:

Umbrellas

The classic patio umbrella has been a staple in backyards for generations. While the designs may have changed over the years, at its heart, this traditional shade element remains the same.

Whether supported by a center post or an offset design, patio umbrellas are a low-cost way to add colour and shade to your outdoor living space.

Additionally, they can be easily moved from place to place, and also offer excellent protection from the rain. Their relatively small size means that they are easier to store in the off-season than some other options.

Cons: Can be dislodged by wind, minimal coverage.

This option does not require professional installation.

Portable Gazebo

Portable backyard gazebos have been a popular option for the past decade. They provide more coverage than umbrellas, typically enough to shelter an entire dining or lounging area.

Many of these portable gazebos also allow the option of insect protection, via screens. While costlier than umbrellas, the wide range of styles and construction materials make this an affordable option for most homeowners.

At the lower end of the price spectrum, there are gazebos that are either freestanding or meant to be held in place on grass through ground stakes, while at the higher end, there exist gazebos with sturdier frames, intended to be bolted to a hard surface.

Cons: Certain models may be unable to withstand storms without incurring damage. Some models must be stored over winter or may run the risk of rusting.

This option may require professional installation.

Pergola

A pergola is an architectural feature, traditionally constructed as a garden archway. In recent years, these wooden structures have gone from acting as simple archways to becoming the focal point on decks and patios.

The pergola is typically a frame, consisting of posts and crossbeams. This means that the “ceiling” is primarily open and will not provide complete sun protection. The shade provided by your pergola is determined by the size and spacing of the crossbeams. Although sun protection can be extended by adding canvas or other fabric to the beams.

Cons: Pergolas can be expensive to install, may require a building permit, and does not provide complete sun protection.

This option requires professional installation.

Awning

An awning is fabric stretched over a metal frame that is attached to the over, over a window or door. They can be fixed or retractable.

In addition to providing limited sun protection in the outdoor living space, awnings can have an impact within the home as well. Their position above a window of glass door means that they can help reduce a room’s internal temperature and also protect furnishings from the impact of direct sunlight.

If your awning is positioned over your grill or outdoor kitchen, they can allow for more comfortable outdoor cooking in both sun and rain.

Cons: Retractable models can be expensive, may be susceptible to wind damage if not retracted, may be prone to mold and mildew if not cleaned.

This option may require professional installation.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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