13 Backyard Upgrade Ideas for Beating the Heat
Summer has a way of distinguishing the very best features of our outdoor spaces as well as forcing us to acknowledge those areas that are subpar. Areas that stimulate our appreciation of beauty and comfort draw us out of doors, while those that leave us hot, sweaty, bored and uncomfortable send us right back in. This month, we’re giving you some backyard upgrade ideas to make sure your yard offers plenty of ways to beat the heat by being the best outdoor living space it can possibly be—one that everyone will want to enjoy throughout the entire summer and right into fall.
1. Create Some Shade
Whether it’s from an overhang, porch, pavilion, gazebo, arbor, tent, cabana, clubhouse, umbrella, awning, curtains, blinds or expanse of canvas or fabric, shade offers refuge from the sun. Options are available for every budget. Even on the steamiest of days, shade will still feel a little bit cooler than being in the sun.
2. Move the Air
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Moving air feels cooler than still air because the movement replaces the warm air at your skin’s surface with air that’s cooler—hopefully aiding in cooling evaporation. Take your pick from outdoor standing fans, strategically placed portable fans or hardwired overhead fans. Additional options include misting systems and portable evaporative coolers—also known as swamp coolers.
Related: Shop Fans & Accessories
3. Drink Outside
Keep beverages handy with an outdoor refrigerator, freezer or ice maker. Set up a wet bar complete with a small sink and running water, or splurge by bringing it all together with an outdoor kitchen.
4. Choose Cool Seating
Hot days can be fatiguing, but what makes for comfortable seating when temperatures are high? While too much padding can actually make you feel even hotter, no padding can leave you equally sweaty and full of patterns imprinted into the backs of your legs. The best options are roomy pieces with moderate cushions designed to resist moisture and stains. Gliders, swings and other suspended pieces add movement and some accompanying cooling.
5. Cook Outside
Reduce heat inside your home, and give the air-conditioning a break. Take the cooking outside. Grills and smokers are popular items, but so are wood-fired pizza ovens, patio convection ovens and fire pits.
Related: Explore Outdoor Cooking Options
6. Get Clean with an Outdoor Shower or Bath
Have you ever rented a house at the beach and fallen in love with the outdoor shower or bath? We have, and there’s just nothing else quite like it. You don’t have to have a pool just to have a reason to have an outdoor shower—or bath. All you need is a little privacy, running water and a pint-sized water heater.
7. Clear a Natural Area
You may have trees, but their shade may not be accessible. You may be able to create a calming outdoor vignette just by clearing out undergrowth—typically saplings, briars and weedy bushes. If you’re lucky enough to find a few flowering native species like azalea, iris or hibiscus, for example, conserve them as you convert your reclaimed area into one of your favorite spaces.
8. Create Destinations and Pathways with Hardscaping
Even the smallest of backyards can be interesting and worthy of exploration. Often, it’s because of the underlying hardscaping that we so often take for granted. Paths promise to lead us somewhere. Low walls create open boundaries and offer places to sit. Structures offer support for a vine and eventual shade. Hardscapes not only give people gathering spaces but help to move them throughout a yard.
9. Landscape for Interest
Plants need the proper amounts of sunlight, water and soil to thrive, and their varying needs give us plenty of leeways to create lots of interesting spaces—from shade gardens to full-sun borders. Adding plenty of vertical interest also allows you to play with shadows and shade as they shift throughout the day. Container plants can add yet another layer of depth or thrive in challenging areas. If your landscaping is extensive, consider adding an automatic irrigation system.
10. Add Water
You can go as small as a bird bath to as grand as an infinity pool. Even a small addition like a water wall or fountain gives not only the visual of water but also the sound of water splashing and flowing. Relieve stress with a koi pond so that you can look forward to feeding the fish each evening, or add a splash pad for the grandkids. You can even inset a waterfall feature to the side to enhance stairs or steps.
11. Design an Outdoor Mud Room
Keep the ins and outs of an entryway tidy and neat by offering a handy place to hang or set items that you want to keep near but don’t want to bring inside. Popular features include hooks, shelves, tables, racks and storage chests.
12. Install Outdoor Lighting
Extend your entertaining and outdoor use time into the evening’s cooler hours by adding some attractive lighting options. Illuminate a path, or use deck lighting to add a soft glow to stairs. You can amp up the drama with spotlighting, landscape lighting or uplighting to highlight an ornamental tree or hardscape feature, for example. Some systems even let you program colors. Options are endless—lanterns, string lights, recessed lights, wall lights, solar markers and more.
Related: Shop Outdoor Lighting
13. Dedicate a Play and Gaming Area
Play areas don’t have to be kids-only. Adults can enjoy play and gaming areas too. Lay out a level, blade-perfect grass or smooth-gravel bocce court, or break out the giant lawn chess set. Put a rugged outdoor pool table under cover, or create a triad area hosting cornhole, checkers and card games. You could even create a mini-observatory for stargazing. The idea is to create a space dedicated to leisure, fun and relaxation.
Get Started at Coburn’s Today
Making the most of your backyard is all about creating a place where you can go to enjoy the things you like most, and a Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom is a great place to get started. Explore our website, or visit your nearest Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom; we have all sorts of ideas to bring the indoors outdoors and make the most of your backyard and your home.