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Style Magazine

Keep Your Cool: 7 Design Ideas to Beat the Heat

Apr 27, 2020 01:08PM ● By Kerrie Kelly
The first signs of summer don't have to send you and your guests craving the comforts of air conditioning, especially if you're up for making your backyard more inviting with the addition of shade, air and a splash of water. By incorporating cool features into an alfresco space, you'll find yourself spending more time enjoying the extra square footage outdoors.

All About Awnings

It used to be that awnings were confined to the rooflines of dwellings, but today there are many options to choose from, including large format umbrellas and tensioned shade sails. The latter takes on a simple architectural form when attached to nearby structures and bathes the space with captivating light. Other awnings are installed much like pergolas with different strips of fabric that can be retracted in different directions to shade the desired area.

Porch Life

If your style is to celebrate front-of-house living, consider the front porch. Not only do they open up to the world but also are ideal for reading the morning's news or enjoying a sunset spritzer. Update your existing porch by making simple cosmetic modifications or build one out as an addition. You can easily dress up an underused porch with comfortable seating and side tables, along with planted hanging baskets; or go big, adding thoughtful trim, a tin roof, and fresh coat of paint.


Pretty Pergolas

Though traditionally planted with vines to cover walkways in the garden, many pergolas today are used as architectural elements. Materials can run the gamut from rustic branches to wood to modern metal structures. If you decide to grow vines on your pergola, choose a strong one that can support that much weight. A professionally installed pergola can handle a much heavier load than one installed from a kit.

Trees Please

The easiest and most cost-effective way to add shade to your outdoor space is to plant shade trees. Although they take time to grow, trees add beauty and charm to the neighborhood, and a well-cared-for one can last for generations to come. While fall is typically the best time to plant new trees, you can begin planning for the perfect spot today.

Fantastic Fans

If it's still sweltering in your summer shade, a cool breeze can circulate the air to make the heat a few degrees cooler while keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Available in a variety of chic finishes and styles, ceiling fans make an outdoor living area look and feel more inviting in an affordable way.

Misting Models

Misting systems spray a fine mist over your outdoor space and provide a cool breeze that can make outdoor living very comfortable on even the hottest days. Install one along your patio or porch roofline to add just the right amount of cool to your most-used outdoor areas.

Water Features

If a swimming pool is too large of an addition to your outdoor space, consider a water feature. The soothing sounds of a small flowing fountain will make a hot summer day feel more bearable. Well-designed and maintained fountains and ponds provide a relaxed environment and attract birds and wildlife, making the outdoor space seem cooler. Professionally installed water features are ideal, but budget-conscious homeowners can get their feet wet with a variety of products—from precast fountains and urns to plastic pond liners and waterfall kits.



Tea Garden Fountain
$225 at Green Acres, 205 Serpa Way, Folsom, 916-358-9099;
5436 Crossings Drive, Rocklin, 916-824-1310,





Kichler Imari LED 65” Ceiling Fan
$539 at Lighting Unlimited, 2522 Merrychase Drive, Cameron Park,


Castaway Rope Hammock + Steel Stand
$169 available to order at Placerville Hardware, 441 Main Street, Placerville, 530-622-1151,


Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID, is an award-winning interior designer, author, product developer, and multimedia consultant helping brands reach the interior design community. / 916-919-3023