Dallas Architect shares ideas for designing exterior living spaces to be as enjoyable as your interiors.

One of the biggest obstacles to really being able to enjoy the outdoors in the South is the heat we get in the summer.  And possibly even worse, the humidity that accompanies it.  Fortunately, there are some options for cooling your space so you can spend time outside comfortably.

Designing exterior living spaces

Large side post umbrella from backyardcity.com

Naturally, having a shaded area is a simple solution, at least simple in that it blocks the sun.  How you achieve that is where the simple becomes challenging.

Your options range from either a completely covered porch with ceiling fans and lights, or just a pergola that still lets some light through but still provides plenty of shade.  A project that has some design flexibility, may opt to locate the building and/or trees to provide plenty of shade on the outdoor living spaces.

If you prefer a portable solution, go the simple route of an umbrella.  Select one that’s appropriately sized for your deck or patio.  An umbrella that is out of proportion to your seating arrangement will look awkward and be ineffective.  Consider a side post umbrella if you want shade but not the center post of a traditional umbrella.

Home misting system

Cool mist fan from thegreenhead.com

Another option that is surprisingly inexpensive is using a misting system or misting fan to help cool the air down around you. You see these on restaurant patios, but you may not have considered it for your own outdoor space. When researching this topic for the podcast, we found a couple sites with good information:  www.cool-off.com and www.coolingline.com.

To hear more tips for outdoor living, tune into The Architecture Happy Hour podcast with Laura Davis, AIA and Larry Paschall, AIA.

Dallas Architect Laura Davis, AIA is a Principal and Director of Marketing at HPD Architecture. She and her partners offer custom design services and love designing exterior living for residential clients in the North Texas, Dallas area.