Home   |   Alfa Insurance   |   Alfa Health   |   Alfa Dental   |   Alfa Realty   |   County Federations    
ALFA Farmers
ABOUT US PUBLICATIONS AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES COMMODITIES PROGRAMS NEWS & EVENTS BENEFITS & MEMBERSHIP
-> Cultivator
-> Capitol Connection
-> Neighbors
-> Friends & Family
-> Ag Law Book
-> Coloring Book

Publications - Friends & Family
Current Issue
Archived Issues
June 01, 2011   Email to Friend 

Shade Trees are Natural Air Conditioning
Lois Chaplin

Shade trees and lush foliage heighten the senses to nature's air conditioning.
Walking along the cool of a deep woods creek in summer heightens your senses to nature's air conditioning. Professional landscape designers use the same landscape elements to create spots in a garden that make you feel a bit cooler in summer. You can create a little of the same in your yard with the use of shade, water and lush foliage. The easiest way is to start with a spot under a tree.

Is there a shady spot in your landscape where you can run some electricity? That helps with two things: creating a breeze and the sound of water. An outdoor fan will blow away summer's greatest outdoor detractors: mosquitoes. At my house, we place fans in strategic places on the deck to blow the pests away. On hot nights, it makes us cooler, too. I've seen locations where an arbor over the seating area provided both shade and a spot from which to hang outdoor ceiling fans and blow pests away.

A refreshing nook in your shady backyard can include a garden pond or water feature. Even a small, pre-fab water garden can become a big project because of the maintenance to keep it clean, but is well worth it if you have time to clean it out once a year. An edging of stone, a backdrop of shade-loving plants, and a splashing fountain will turn a hole in the ground into a garden oasis.

An easier way to bring in the soothing sound of splashing water is to create a fountain from a large pot. This is where it is important to have an electrical outlet to power a pump in your water feature that keeps the water flowing. The splash is soothing, and the flow keeps the mosquitoes from breeding in it. You can find many plans online for turning a big container into a fountain, or you can buy a garden fountain all ready to go. Either way, the sound of water just makes you feel cooler. If your garden is sunny, make your own shade. Even a sunny lot usually has a shady spot on the north side of the house where the house casts its shadow. Coupled with shade structure or patio-sized trees such as a full-sized Japanese maple, you can create a shady retreat in almost any spot on your lot. A good garden center can help you select the proper trees. Beware of those that drop blooms if that would annoy you on a patio. If you enjoy gardening, the nearby bed is a great place to create a shade border with a mix of shade loving annuals and perennials. When choosing plants, don't let shade intimidate you.

Some gardeners feel like things don't grow in the shade, but the truth is far from that. You can enjoy flowers, textural contrasts and leafy color in the shade. For example, elephant's ear, begonia, ferns, plectranthus, impatiens, hosta and coleus are just a few that will combine well in the shade. If you don't enjoy piddling with plants, keep the planting super simple with a mass of ground covers such as periwinkle or liriope that you can just trim back once a year in late winter. Also add a few shrubs with fragrant flowers such as gardenia and tea olive.

So, don't let summer run you indoors. We are blessed to live in a warm climate. Create a spot to enjoy it.


  Email to Friend Archived Issues  


e-News Sign Up | Site Map | Weather | Contact us RSS logo RSS Feed Twitter logo Follow us Facebook logo Become a Fan
© Copyright 2003 - 2010 Alabama Farmers Federation.
All Rights Reserved.