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Cooling Techniques for the Patio and Garden

Updated on June 23, 2012

Vertical Gardening

In addition to native and a few non-native grasses, plants, and trees, other plants can help to the patio and garden areas of your home landscape.

Some of these additional plants are attractive vines, blooming and non-blooming, that are grown according to a style of vertical gardening.

Where ground cover spreads out across the landscape to help restrain erosion and water loss as well as to provide attractiveness and additional cooling, vertical-growing vines grow up the sides of houses and garden or patio walls; up trellises, poles, and frames, and generally upwards.

Vines can also grown downwards from suspended pots in order to create additional shade when they are thick or many placed together on a ledge, across the top of a garden wall, or via any elevation of some sort.


Many types of vines can add cooling shade and moisture. (Photos this page public domain)
Many types of vines can add cooling shade and moisture. (Photos this page public domain)

Perennial Vines for the Sun

  • English Ivy
  • Five-leaf Akebia
  • Grape Vines
  • Perennial Pea
  • Porcelain Vine
  • Silver fleece
  • Trumpet Creeper
  • Wisteria

For some color:  Modern Roses for 21st Century Gardens

Awnings of All Sizes

A retractable awning attached to an outside wall of the house can create a shaded area for outdoor activities and lower your utility bills as well. Awnings for windows, doorways, and those that fold down form the house to make an outdoor room come in a wide range of sizes and colors.

Awnings can even be placed at a height nearer the ground in order to create a shaded area for your pet. Because awnings are usually water resistant, they are able to catch rain runoff into a decorative rain barrel positioned at an appropriate corner(s).

Awnings are energy efficient and reduce interior heat in homes during sunlight hours by 77% in reports from the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). These devices will also keep the sun out of your windows and off your patio furniture, thereby stopping sun damage to both indoor and outdoor décors.

Shade Sails are a newer category of portable awnings that also come in several sizes and are becoming more popular in home and garden stores and on the Internet.


Coordinating with the awnings, the water mister can seem like a hot weather miracle. Water misters can be added to the top perimeter of an awning. They are more effective than fans used alone and are very effective when combined with fans in covered outdoor patios and dining areas. A misting system can increase relaxation and in hot outdoor conditions via fast-evaporation engineering. Dedicated mist nozzles place water under high pressure and result in water droplet mists that bring air temperature down by 20+ degrees F or more. So, in 100 degree heat, you can feel that it is more around 80 degrees. If you add an outdoor fan or two to your patio area under an awning, the temperature can be further reduced. You can find mister deals on the Internet, from portable misters, misting fans, and misting bird baths; to umbrella and patio misters; all the way up to full-sized misting tents for special events. There is even a mister to ward off mosquitoes! Misters range in price from around $50 to several thousand dollars.

Garden Video with Chimes

Music and Chines

Increase your relaxation and that can help decrease the sensation of heat in the atmosphere. Achieve this on the patio by hanging attractive wind chimes to add pleasing sounds to the cooler temperatures. Chimes can be purchased at a wide range of prices and attached to the top of the retractable awning, or hung from decorative wrought iron garden poles or even garden hooks. Wind chimes include metals, woods, shells and ceramics that bring music and art to your landscaping to enhance th experience of your yard and garden. Capiz shells can be very colorful, or choose cooler silver or copper chimes, or a Pacific. At night you can add the soft light of candles set on cool surfaces or floating in the rain barrel, even adding a water lily, to create a relaxing getaway in a cooler temperature amid the music of chimes.

Wind Chimes with Solar Lights

Solar Lighting

For nighttime enjoyment, cool lighting can be added to good effect with solar-powered patio and landscape lights.

In the 21stcentury, there is available an astonishing range of eco-friendly solar-powered lighting that is attractive and energy efficient at once. Some of these lights are sculptured flowers that glow at night, while others are carriage lights atop tall hooks. Some other solar lighting options in this line are fashioned as Asian tea houses that sit serenely and glow brightly along a cool stone path through your yard at night. Some solar lights even come embedded in the underside of a patio umbrella to light up at dusk, having gathered energy from the sun during the day.

Solar lighting is artistic as well as useful, cordless, and energy saving. The videos accompanying this section of the Hub Page illustrate this with varicolored lighting and light-and-chimes combinations that are quite lovely.

Altogether, the features suggested in this article can lend cooling fingers of relaxation to your hot climate or summer yard, garden, and home.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Tahks for the comments, SweetiePie and Anna Marie! - one place I lived, we had climbing vines and baskets of strawberries climbing down. It was heavenly.

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 8 years ago from Florida

      Great hub!!! I love climbing plants. At one home I lived at, I had morning glorys growing up a trellis. They were so beautiful, and did add some much needed shade!!!

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Air conditioning bills are high out in the desert for sure :).

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      That awning stroller is cute, and they make tiny canopies like the human-sized adult party tentlink things for the cats and dogs as well. I like the snail aolar lights, but I best that rock light is attractive and fun to look at! Chimes are incredible. So glad you liked this hub and enjoy solar lights! -- Patty

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 8 years ago from MA, USA

      So many wonderful tips and useful ideas, Patty. I really loved your hub. I loved your pet pic awning system...that was priceless! I loved the beautiful chime video. I have chimes inside and outside my home. You say wind chimes with solar thats cool...I need one of them NOW! Also loved solar art light for garden vid. I have a solar rock in my garden. Thanks again for such an enjoyable hub. ~Dottie~

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Marisuewrites – Thanks for stopping by. Misters are great! I’ve never been to Oklahoma, so I hope you write about your new vines in your OK garden. Happy moving to you!

      SweetiePie -- I’m not good at all gardening, but took time to research Hot Weather gardening a couple years ago, because our grass is almost always brown here – too dry. I hope you love your new wind chimes! There are some large ones outside the back door here and they can be heard all year long. 120 degrees is so frightfully hot! I bet air conditions are really overworked, huh? Condensation all over like a river?

      mulder -- So that’s about 104 F? Too hot for comfort, but we get that here about every other year for 2 weeks in August and people get sick from it.

      I’ve heard Perth is lovely and interesting! You patio sounds grand. The blinds are a good idea and I pull the drapes shut all day in August and that helps very much as well.

    • mulder profile image

      mulder 8 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

      great Hub Patty We in Perth Western Australia and in summer its gets very hot and humid about 40 plus degrees We have big patio with bistro blinds and have a lot plants in out patio to keep the heat down I will use your info to make my place cooler now thanks

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Great variety of tips here.  You are a gardening expert, so I will read your hub again to get more ideas.  It has been along time since I had wind chimes, so you have inspired me to buy a set. I used to live in Blythe, Ca where is reached 120 degrees on many days through June and September, so I know what Earth Angel is talking about with the extreme temps. The fires we are having out here in SoCal are not helping the situation either.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

      Hi Patty, great hub; I've enjoyed misters in Las Vegas, where they work very well! This is very interesting, when I get to plant my garden when I arrive in Oklahoma - I will use this vine information!

      =)) great hub, as always!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      So true! I have a roof over the patio, with vines an dother plants up the posts and corners of roof; and the landlord wants to take the roof down. Very bad decision.

    • kerryg profile image

      kerryg 8 years ago from USA

      Great tips! In hot climates, clever design makes a big difference in how likely a patio is to actually be used.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      120 degrees? Blazing hot! -- have you tried solar ovens as well? -- Good for reflecting that sun for cooking.

      Cheers and Peace always,


    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 8 years ago

      Dearest Patty!!

      As the Santa Ana winds dance through California today, and fuel way too many hot spots for our firefighters to handle, it is nice to concentrate on cooling down!!

      Misters are one of my favorites!! Good for cooling down, plus the humidity is good for skin, hair and lungs!!

      I love the vertical garden ideas!! I have hundreds of potted plants and flowers and was thinking the other day something just didn't look right!! There was no vertical interest!! No wonder my upper deck reaches 120 degrees on hot days!!

      Thanks again for sharing the wonderful ideas!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      guidebaba -- Thank you very much. I've been working with this type of cooling and acessorizing for a few years now. It's fun, too!

    • guidebaba profile image

      guidebaba 8 years ago from India

      Truely Awsome Hub.