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Mitigating heat

Randommoose1Randommoose1 Posts: 38
edited 24 January in Garden design
Hello,

The rear of my house faces SSW so it gets a lot of sun. Lovely for most of the year but baking hot in the height of summer. The garden is gradually being changed but we haven't got onto hard landscaping so far. We are hopefully doing a side extension this year (money allowing!) and if so then some of the hard landscaping will be done by the builders while they are here as we might as well get excavating etc done while the digger is here.

Back of the house is orange brick which absorbs and radiates heat. The patio/hard surfacing is huge, 6m deep by 11m wide, partially patio, partially bases from demolished outbuildings. This all gets VERY hot in summer. Last year we put a tarpaulin up on poles to shade the living room (sliding doors) and this really helped but it doesn't work in wind so has to be put and down. Long term we will probably do a proper shade sail above the patio doors the very hot weather (but not the rest of the time). There will be a new smaller patio and lots of changes to the rest of the garden (lots more planting, smaller lawn). The whole patio area will be dug out for a finished surface at least 100mm lower as it is built up too high to the air bricks and slopes slightly towards the house.

I was thinking about putting in some beds to grow sun loving plants next to and possibly up the walls to shade the brick. There is a passionflower on the fence on the right of the picture which often grows round onto the back wall in summer and seems to really like it. 

I have included a photo taken today (the tree shade doesn't reach the patio in summer) and an edited photo to show the approx size of the side extension and changes to windows. I have drawn on possible bed locations to give an idea of what I am thinking of doing. The new patio will be somewhere on the old patio but exact location and shape still to be determined.


The bed on the right of the photo would be about 1.2m deep from patio to fence and run up to the garden. The other two beds on the back of the house maybe 0.6-1.2m deep. The one under the long window 2-3m wide. The one between back door and patio doors is about 2m.

What do you think? Are there climbing plants that will enjoy this being cooked with heat? The passionflower likes it and I think it helps it has its roots under the patio so always cooler and damp soil. It doesn't seem to mind the poor quality of the soil or never being fed. I know things like lavender would like the heat.

Location Gloucestershire. Soil is loam over clay. Drainage is ok. That tree trunk is going. Sorry about all the random mess!
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  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 847
    My conditions are different, so won't make any suggestions.
    I think you are on the right track with looking for plants that will suit your conditions, rather than fighting against it. I'm sure other folk will give good advice.
    Sunny Dundee
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,054
    edited 24 January
    I have a small south front facing front garden. In the height of summer it is also hot.
    One thing I may be able to help with is the plants. This is a long list but all are successful. My soil is improved clay.
    Verbena bonariensis, Verbena Bampton,Stipa gigantea,Santolina rosmarinifolia Primrose Gem,Salvia nemorosa, Salvia Caradonna,Rosemary officinalis,Rosa Glauca,Pittosporum Tom Thumb,Phormium Chocomint,Phlomis russeliana, Parahebe perfoliata, Papaver rupifragum,Origanum Herrenhausen,Nasella tenuissima,Helianthemum Henfield Brilliant,Eryngium Picos Blue,Erodium chrysanthum cream.Erigeron Karvinskianus,Calamagrostis acutiflora Overdam and Allium cernuum. Phew! Something to look at on a rainy day I think.
     The reason why I have this list is I hope to move soon. You can pay extra for a garden that faces south but maybe things will change in the future as in summer it is becoming just too hot.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,965
    I'd agree - try and choose plants which will work with your site, but if you're re doing the patio, it might also be worth thinking about a pergola too. It doesn't need to be fancy, but you could get posts in when doing the other landscaping. That might also help for creating good planting sites for other climbers to cover it, but if the passion flower is happy, then you could always put another one in.
    You should be able to have things like clematis too, as there are varieties to suit all sites and aspects, but the soil will certainly need to be well amended etc. 
    That will also give you some shade in hot weather  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Randommoose1Randommoose1 Posts: 38
    edited 24 January
    I have a small south front facing front garden. In the height of summer it is also hot.
    One thing I may be able to help with is the plants. This is a long list but all are successful. My soil is improved clay.
    Verbena bonariensis, Verbena Bampton,Stipa gigantea,Santolina rosmarinifolia Primrose Gem,Salvia nemorosa, Salvia Caradonna,Rosemary officinalis,Rosa Glauca,Pittosporum Tom Thumb,Phormium Chocomint,Phlomis russeliana, Parahebe perfoliata, Papaver rupifragum,Origanum Herrenhausen,Nasella tenuissima,Helianthemum Henfield Brilliant,Eryngium Picos Blue,Erodium chrysanthum cream.Erigeron Karvinskianus,Calamagrostis acutiflora Overdam and Allium cernuum. Phew! Something to look at on a rainy day I think.
     The reason why I have this list is I hope to move soon. You can pay extra for a garden that faces south but maybe things will change in the future as in summer it is becoming just too hot.
    Thank you for that list, I will have fun looking them all up. Verbena bonariensis does well around here and I tested one and a salvia in the front garden (poor soil, full sun) this year and they did well. I am redoing the front garden this spring, plants ordered and coming March/April! So some of the full sun plants there will be contenders for this place provided they can deal with the extra heat from the walls.

    I need the sunlight as otherwise I get very low mood in winter and we bought the house based on sun position and it has really worked well. But it is a disadvantage in high summer heatwaves. At least it is possible to get more shade whereas it wouldn't be possible to get more sun

  • Fairygirl said:
    I'd agree - try and choose plants which will work with your site, but if you're re doing the patio, it might also be worth thinking about a pergola too. It doesn't need to be fancy, but you could get posts in when doing the other landscaping. That might also help for creating good planting sites for other climbers to cover it, but if the passion flower is happy, then you could always put another one in.
    You should be able to have things like clematis too, as there are varieties to suit all sites and aspects, but the soil will certainly need to be well amended etc. 
    That will also give you some shade in hot weather  :)

    I hadn't thought about a pergola so thank you for that suggestion. Do you mean the type of pergola to walk through or the type to sit under? (I don't really know about them).

    The new planting in the garden near the end of the patio may well include something like Silver Birch Trinity College or similar for dappled tree shade onto the patio. I have just planted a Trinity College at the back of the garden so will see how it does. It is the smallest (or one of the smallest) of the silver birches.

    I have also considered a tree in a big planter on wheels. Not ideal for the tree but a possibility.

    The future garden redesign will include a small patio at the back of the garden which is shaded by trees when the main patio is in sun. That should give us a place to sit as well.

    The passionflower is happy and vigorous but its roots are in shade and from what I read that is what clematis want as well. The only shade that would be possible in the potential left and middle bed would be whatever was provided by plants and mulch.

    Will need to work on soil, who knows what is under there?!?! At some point I will lift some paving slabs and dig to discover.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,552
    A pergola can be what you want it to be - a covered walkway or a shaded seating area depending on the chosen dimensions.   If you can work out how big your garden table is, or will be, and add 1m all round to allow for chairs and getting round it you will have the minimum length and width you need for a pergola.

    Then you can decide on the placement of posts to support the crossbeams and whether or not you can nclude planting holes for climbers when you re-do the terrace.   Consider a grape vine as it will enjoy having its roots kept cool but full sun to ripen grapes and you can even use leaves for Greek or Turkish dishes.   

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,733


    I need the sunlight as otherwise I get very low mood in winter and we bought the house based on sun position and it has really worked well. But it is a disadvantage in high summer heatwaves. At least it is possible to get more shade whereas it wouldn't be possible to get more sun

    Unless it’s of a light construction and you use deciduous climbers, a pergola close to the house could make the inside of your house dark, particularly in winter.  Another option is to install a retractable canopy above your patio doors and above the window in your new extension to reduce the heat on your patio and in your house in summer, without affecting your light in winter.
  • Plantminded said:
    Unless it’s of a light construction and you use deciduous climbers, a pergola close to the house could make the inside of your house dark, particularly in winter.  Another option is to install a retractable canopy above your patio doors and above the window in your new extension to reduce the heat on your patio and in your house in summer, without affecting your light in winter.
    Hi,
    Those are exactly the things I have been thinking about this evening! A smaller pergola (brise soliel size) with annual climbers (or group 3 clematis to cut to ground) could be a possibility outside the kitchen door and window but I want the living room to feel open and let in all the sunlight.

    Retractable canopy is another good idea I will look into. We had been thinking about a shade sail (or two) that we put up when the weather is very hot, similar to what we did with the tarpaulin this year. It is only needed for a couple of weeks of the year so having a permanent structure might be a bit much.

    For now I am trying to find out if there are plants to about 2m high that would be happy growing next to the brick walls. Whether climbers or other plants. Most climbers are taller but some clematis are short enough. This is still quite a new idea so still lots to look up.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,965
    edited 25 January
    Check out the specialist clem growers @Randommoose1 - Taylors, Thorncroft etc, for your wall. Some of the smaller, early varieties will be fine, especially as they like drier conditions, and the winter ones generally need a warmer, sheltered site, so you could be fine with those. The 'roots in shade head in sun' thing with clematis is a myth. What they need is enough depth to get roots down to keep them cool - especially the bigger flowered ones, which is why the Group 2s and 3s should be planted a bit deeper too  :)

    You could combine that with a small pergola in the site that's best for some shade in the heat. A triangular style for example, can work quite well, but the sails are also useful if you don't want something more permanent. I'm always concerned about those in windy sites - I don't know how stable they are, but I expect others will have experience of them.
    It's a good time of year to play about with plans and ideas.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,054
    edited 25 January
    @Randommoose1 I agree it is a good time of year to be outside making plans before it is too hot. You can also assess your soil to see how wet it is at this time of year.

    I was in my south facing garden yesterday you could feel the warmth of the sun, years ago it was nowhere near as strong in January.

    If you can create a space that you can also enjoy in the winter months, so you can sit out if only for a short time that might be an idea. I think it is not only light that can help but being surrounded by plants is also beneficial. 
    Plants can create spiritual spaces even in winter.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
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