Does fear set in when you see the weather forecast is 40 degrees on the day you are due to have the extended family over for lunch? Bringing the party inside the answer but you don’t want your elderly aunt suffering heat stroke outside. There are permanent and temporary measures you can take to make sure your patio is comfortable no matter what the thermometer reads.
1. Patio Roofline & Material Makes a Difference
If your old patio has a large number of alsynite sheets, look at swapping some of them out to a solid material such as Colorbond. The filtered light coming through alsynite sheets bring with it a lot of heat. By swapping to Colorbond, the temperature reduction can be significant. Colorbond profile sheets are available as intermittently-placed skylights.
The SUNTUF Solarsmart sheets are ideal for Western Australian summers as they filter out 99.9% of the UV rays and far more heat than the old style sheets. SUNTUF is versatile and can be used on any roof shape.
If you are in the process of designing a new patio, think about how the roofline can keep temperatures cool. A higher pitch such as a gable roofline will allow the hot air to rise well above your guests than a flat roof patio. With a west facing patio you may need a lower roof line to block out the sinking sun’s rays for as long as possible.
The closest thing to outdoor air conditioning is air humidifiers or misters. The air temperature can decrease by up to 15 degrees by forcing water through tiny nozzles under high pressure creating an ultra-fine mist which absorbs the heat as they evaporate in the air. The constant atomisation creates cool conditions without wetting your guests. Depending on the size of your patio, you may need more than one misting fan or you can purchase a commercial size unit designed to keep outdoor restaurants and factory floors cool.
If you don’t want to take up valuable floor space with misting fans, you could install a mist line system. The line is strung up around the roof of your patio and provides even misting to the whole patio area. Kits can be purchased and installed over a weekend.
Misting fans and lines are a cost effective way to cool with low water usage and running costs. Misters have the added benefit of deterring flies.
An overhead fan can make a big difference to the air circulation and temperature of your outdoor area. Organise an electrician and wire one up so you can enjoy your patio on hot days. If wiring in an overhead fan isn’t practical, invest in a free-standing one and place it in a spot that benefits as many guests as possible. A small table top fan can even help with keeping the air circulating.
4. Enclose it
Keep the hot air outside your patio by enclosing it with pull-down blinds. If you want a cheap, easily removable system you can set up your own blinds made of shade cloth. Wet down the shade cloth regularly and you have your own version of a Coolgardie Safe. If you want a permanent solution with the flexibility of being able to move the height of the blinds and lock them in at the ground then a ZiptrakⓇ blind might be your best solution.
5. Cool Colours & Accessories
Choose cool colours of blue and greens for your furniture and accessories. A fiery red or burnt orange outdoor lounge will make you feel hotter than the same lounge covered in blue fabric.
You can soften and cool your outdoor area with leafy green plants. The hard lines of brick walls and paving disappear when there is a collection of plants placed in front. Hose down the plants to help keep the area cool.
6. Food & Drinks
Keep drinks icy cold with large ice buckets around the table. Keep the ice topped up during the day for adding to drinks and offering to kids. If you don’t have enough ice or freezer space, buy a bag of ice and keep it in the laundry trough or a spare esky under a wet towel.
Plan your menu around the hot day. For nibbles, serve plenty of cold dips with vegetable sticks rather than non-refrigerated foods. During the main offer refreshing salads and fresh bread rather than a hot potato dish and garlic bread. Sweets could be refreshing ice cream, fruit salad, jelly and unbaked cheesecakes rather than cakes served at room temperature.
Even if you don’t have a pool, there are cost effective ways for keeping your guests cool on your patio throughout the hottest of summer days. Talk to Poulter Installations about building a patio that is comfortable all year long.