Patios are the perfect place to relax at the height of summer -- until they get too hot to stand on. This problem can be solved with some clever landscaping tricks.
Plan your prime location
Before you head for the DIY store, spend some time in your garden thinking about the best place to build your patio. The go-to choice is outside the back door, but you might find a better location. Shade, breeze and other elements of climate can vary greatly within a garden, as can privacy. Look into landscaping supplies from a place like Elite's Rock Sand & Soil to create the perfect patio climate for you. Rather than put a patio close to the house, it may be better to put it further down the garden with a path winding toward it, or you could even build it in the front garden if that's where the best sun-and-shade balance is.
The key consideration is which direction your patio will face. Gardens which face north catch the most sun, so if you're lucky to have one of these you're likely to get plenty of light. You may want to place the patio near to a building so it's shaded from the sun at the hottest part of the day. If your garden doesn't provide much shade there are some tricks you can use to keep the patio cool.
Coat your concrete
For materials, the usual suspects when building a patio are stone, brick and concrete. All of these materials act like heat traps, with the tendency to scorch any bare feet during the hottest part of the day. One solution to this problem is to use ordinary paint from your local hardware store. The lighter the colour, the better you'll protect against overheating. You can have fun deciding on colour scheme with your family -- white, lilac, sea green or even a creative floor mural.
For a more natural look, you can also buy sealant specifically for keeping patios cool. As well as reflecting the sun away from your patio material, these sealants create a texture like an orange peel, with tiny air pockets that help minimise heat.
Create your own shade
If you want shade at certain times of the day, it's easy to engineer if you know where the sunlight falls in your garden. There are so many options for building shade that you're bound to find one that suits your home. It can be as easy as buying a parasol. More permanent fixtures include awnings, gazebos, fencing or even planting new trees to add natural shadow.