• Sarah Kay

It's hot out there - how to design your garden to keep cool

With temperatures up to 34C in London this weekend, it's never been more important to consider shade in the garden. Here's a few ways to keep cool in the garden this Summer.


  1. Pergola

Pergolas are great for providing that extension to your house/kitchen that really makes the garden feel integral to the house. There are many pergolas available to buy with louvres, retractable roofs or curtains (see London Stone's website), but I think they can sometimes look a bit stark. I prefer a custom made wooden pergola, maybe painted to match fencing or bi-fold doors, which can have climber grown up and over them to provide dappled shade, fragrance and greenery.


This garden, for an East London wine bar, included a large pergola at the back of the garden, painted the same colour as the fencing, with a grapevine planted in the adjacent raised bed to grow over the pergola, providing shade in the Summer.

Completed garden 2016

Covered with the grape vine

This pergola for a garden I designed in Walthamstow in 2019, was painted Urban slate to complement the fencing and bi-fold doors and has a Wisteria planted in one corner to eventually grow over the pergola to provide shade and prevent glare into the kitchen.


2. Trees

A great natural shade giver is a tree which provides essential shade in the Summer when in leaf but lets the light through in the Winter when shade is not needed.

I created a lovely seating area in dappled shade under the mature Apple tree in my N12 Dog Friendly Garden, built in 2020.


3. Umbrellas/Shade sails

There are so many options available from permanent umbrellas or parasols to shade sails which can be positioned where you want dependant on the sun and fixing options available. My clients in Mile End opted for an integral table parasol option to provide much needed shade to their outdoor dining area in my E2 Terraced Family Garden, designed in 2018.



It's really important to consider the shade when redesigning your garden, as the Summer gets warmer in the UK. A garden designer will help you to plan your space to ensure you get the most out of your garden all year round.


Contact me if you would like to talk to me about how best to maximise your enjoyment of your outdoor space.

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