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Outdoor Living Space Ideas

How to keep cool and comfortable in your Texas backyard. We love spending time in our outdoor living space, but we have to admit a Texas summer can be brutal! Here are some tips we learned from the Texas Home and Garden Idea Center to make your back yard retreat beautiful, comfortable and relaxing.

Adequate Shade Natural shade from trees or designed shade from patio covers or umbrellas is a must during the hottest parts of the day. Keep in mind orientation. The sun's rays will be coming from the south and west during the summer and afternoon when we tend to use our outdoor spaces the most. Be sure your shade is positioned so that it blocks the most sun during those times.

Water Features Everyone agrees that a pool is a great way to cool down. But even a small fountain or fish pond can have a cooling effect. And the sound of running water is calming and relaxing. Misting fans and patio misters are extremely effective, especially in the dryer climates of Texas.

Landscaping More green and less cement will keep you cooler. Grass, flowers, shrubs, and trees absorb and defuse the radiant energy of the sun, unlike cement, brick and stone which reflect and radiate the light and heat energy. In addition, a beautiful green living space accented with the colors and textures of flowers and plants will create a relaxing, natural retreat that will add to your enjoyment and peace of mind.

Patio Furniture While selecting patio furniture for your backyard sanctuary it is important to keep temperature in mind. Metal can get extremely hot in the summer sun and can actually cause severe burns on bare skin. Wood is the best option for patio furniture. It is solid and should last a long time, if treated with water resistant stains. Teak outdoor furniture is virtually maintenance free and can last a lifetime. Wicker is another cooling option as it doesn’t get too hot to the touch. Plastic patio furniture can go either way in temperature tendencies but using plastic pieces that aren’t in direct sunlight, or can get a quick spray of a hose before use, will help to keep them cool for use.

Don't Forget the Cooler Cold drinks are essential on a hot summer day. Beyond the simple plastic cooler, there are many creative and attractive options. Consider a stand alone or built-in cooler. Many DIY projects are simple, fun, practical, and can blend in with the beautiful setting. Whatever option you choose, be sure to keep it stocked with plenty of ice and drinks.

You can extend the usefulness outdoor living space by following these tips. Your space will provide relief from the hot summer sun and become a beautiful, relaxing retreat for you and your loved ones.