It looks like Sydney's in for a scorcher this summer - so how do you balance a love of the outdoors with a need to cool down your backyard? With a few clever little tricks, you can help bring the temperature down in your backyard, so it's a more pleasant place to be in summer.


Backyard cooling hack #1: Add greenery

Ever heard of the urban heat island effect? It's a phenomenon that happens in built-up areas where plant life is minimal, and generally tends to result in higher ambient temperatures. You can learn more about it here.

The same concept works in our gardens, too, on a smaller scale. The less greenery and the more hard surfaces (such as concrete, pavers or tiles) you have, the warmer you're likely to find it. This is because these hard surfaces tend to absorb heat. Plants, on the other hand, have a natural cooling effect - so by filling your outdoor areas with more plants, including groundcover and trees, and keeping them healthy, you can help cool down your backyard naturally! What better excuse to buy more plants? Shop Sydney's widest range here.


Backyard cooling hack #2: Plant more trees

For nature's original shade cover, plant tall-growing trees in your garden. While you might have to wait a while for them to reach maturity, once they do they'll provide a beautiful canopy of shade to cool down your backyard and your home through summer. Choosing evergreen trees such as Magnolia 'Teddy Bear' or 'Little Gem' will afford your garden shade all year long - ideal in west-facing gardens where the afternoon sun can get quite harsh. On the other hand, if you plant deciduous trees such as frangipanis or Acer varieties, you'll experience shade in summer when you need it most, but when the plants drop their leaves in the cooler months they'll let in plenty of glorious winter sunshine to warm your space.


Backyard cooling hack #3: Bring in a shade cover

Not one for trees? There are plenty of other man-made options for creating shade in your garden that will help to cool down your backyard. Here are a couple of our favourites.

  • Put up a large outdoor umbrella. The great thing about these is that you can move them around the garden to where they're needed, or dismantle them quickly and store them away if it gets windy. Flower Power stocks some great options here.
  • Erect some simple shade cloth over garden beds to take the edge off the sunlight and protect your plants. This is something you might consider on a seasonal basis to prevent tender plants (and gardeners!) from roasting. Click here for some shadecloth options from Flower Power.
  • Call in the experts from Flower Power to build and install an architectural shade cover. These permanent structures provide all-weather coverage so you can enjoy your backyard in all conditions. They're ideal for pools, spas and entertaining areas alight, because they allow plenty of natural light through, while still offering protection and shade. Click here to learn more and enquire about this service.

A note on sun safety: No matter how much shade you've created in your yard, the Australian sun is intense - so it's vital that whenever you're spending time in the garden, you stay sun-safe. Always wear high-SPF sunscreen and re-apply at regular intervals, don a hat and sunglasses, and keep your body covered with appropriate clothing.


Backyard cooling hack #4: Add hanging chairs

Every garden needs a comfy spot to sit, but a little extra airflow can make the world of difference - so introduce some hanging chairs! As they tend to be higher off the ground with little in the way of structures underneath and a very open, woven structure, they allow plenty of extra airflow to help keep you comfy. Flower Power stocks some stunning hanging chair options - check them out here.


Backyard cooling hack #5: Install a water feature

Sometimes suggestion is a powerful thing! A calming water feature, such as a pond, an aquatic garden, a wall cascade or a fountain, can offer a cool illusion when the mercury's rising, mentally transporting you to a seaside resort. On a more practical level, water features do help to cool the air directly around them while creating a humid microclimate, and so may also offer a physical cooling effect - especially in conjunction with other cooling measures. Additionally, these garden water features perform another important function - they serve as a cooling water source for the diverse wildlife you find in your backyard, from pollinating insects to frogs, lizards, birds and even possums.

To shop Flower Power's range of fountains and garden water features, click here. For all you need to build and install your own pond, click here.

A note on water safety: Don't forget, it's important to check with your local council or authority before installing a pond or water feature to ensure you're compliant with any relevant safety and fencing regulations. Never leave pets or children unattended near a water feature.