Posts Tagged summer ideas

Beat the Heat (and help your plants do the same)

It is hot out there!  With record highs throughout the US, it’s a good time to start considering ways to beat the heat – and help your plants do the same.

Here are some ideas which will help you and your plants cool down:

Idea 1: Run a sprinkler or mister by the area in which you are relaxing.  The water will help mist you and your plants – cooling you both in the process.  My favorite way to do this is to string a hammock between two trees – so you have a shady lounging area – and then put a portable sprinkler out to give your grass and trees a nice drink.

Hint – The best spot to put your sprinkler is in a spot where the wind is blowing toward you.

Idea 2: Hand water your plants.  This may seem counter-intuitive.  Hand watering requires work outdoors – which equals you being in the direct line of fire of the sun.

Here’s how I hand water: I turn on the water, then grab the top of the hose and pull.  This means that water will slosh on my legs and feet.  It’s inevitable and nice and cool.  When I get the hose to its destination, I use my thumb as a pressure valve.  This is extremely inefficient, I know.  But the point in this exercise is not to conserve water – it’s to cool you and your plants.  The spray will shoot off randomly, hitting you and plants you didn’t even intend to water.

Hint – Wear flip-flops and clothes you don’t mind getting wet.

Idea 3: Relive your childhood.  In my world, this means two things – running through sprinklers (always a great pastime) and slip ‘n slides.  You’re an adult – but why does that mean you can’t have fun sliding down a wet, plastic surface on your lawn?  It doesn’t.

Hint – Remove rocks and pebbles from your path.

Those are my favorite ways to cool my plants and I off during these crazy summer months.  Enjoy!

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Beat the Heat

It’s summertime and it is HOT – especially in the Greater Los Angeles area.  So, how can we beat the heat without cranking the AC too much?  Or, how do you beat the heat when you are experiencing one of SoCal’s famous rolling blackouts?

The answer: Go outside and enjoy your yard.

“What??” You may say, “That’s complete madness!”

Let me explain: since summertime in Southern California tends to last most of the year, we take staying cool while outdoors seriously.  There are several things you can do with landscaping which will make your yard more enjoyable during those long summer days.

  • Install a cover over your patio area. If you don’t have a patio area, installing one and including a shade with electrical for a fan and a fridge will make it a wonderful hang out – not only does the temperature go down in the shade, but with a cold drink and the fan going… well, who could ask for more?
  • Plant shade trees.  Summertime is when most trees are bursting with greenery.  Use this natural phenomena to your advantage and add shade trees to your yard.  A professional landscaper can let you know the best places to plant, both aesthetically and for water conservation.
  • Install a sprinkler system.  Do you remember running through sprinklers as a kid?  Or water balloon fights? Or playing with squirt guns?  Why not relive those days with friends and/or family?  Get your sprinklers going and start an impromptu cool down party with squirt guns and water balloons.  Those moments of fun can be as refreshing as the cool water.
  • Install a pool or get a blow up pool.  We talked about this in an earlier article.  A pool is a big step – lots of landscaping decisions are involved.  But, if you live in a place with long summers, it may be a great investment for you.

Here’s hoping you stay cool and comfy all summer long!

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Hardscaping Choices

The summer season is the time of year we all enjoy our outdoor living space the most.  It’s also the time when the flaws in our outdoor space is most demonstrable.  Here are some factors to take into account when deciding on what you need to change or upgrade in your outdoor living space.

1. What do I want to do with the space?

Do you want to entertain? Have barbeques? Enjoy your deck with your significant other?  All these factors will tell you and your landscaper what material should be used, as well as what greenery and plant life would be appropriate. 

2. What’s the weather like where you live?

If you put in wood decking, will you experience excessive rain or termite damage?  What can prevent this? What other materials might be better?

3. Is there a certain style or look you’re going for?

Classic brick paths may be perfect for your home, or you might be going for a more modern style  where cement or flagstone could work better. 

4. Do you have children or elderly people in your home?

This might change your ideas on handrails or grip tape.  Additionally, you may reconsider steps in favor of a ramp. 

5. How will the color scheme work?

You don’t want your professionally landscaped yard to look haphazard at any stage of the game.  Make sure you know what color scheme you’re going for and stick to it. 

Do you know you want to do something with your yard, but you’re just not sure what? Check out this landscaping photo gallery for ideas.

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