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Outdoor living, Summer…
Mama Cass Elliot finished that with “for dancing in the streets.” Ella Fitzgerald (and countless others) sing about “Summertime and the living is easy.” The not-so-subtle trend? Summer is a fine time to kick back, have fun, and go outside. But for those that live in Florida (like myself) or anywhere similar, summers can be brutal. Beat the heat with shade and water to not only make the outdoors tolerable, but enjoyable!
Shade is important in Florida. It keeps us cool and protects us from the harsh rays in the middle of the day. Covered outdoor living has long been a mainstay in Florida, but it has recently grown in size, flair, and design. Instead of a simple 10’ by 20’ covered concrete space, we are setting lanai extensions that look more like gazebos. In addition to a summer kitchen (outdoor kitchen) with a grill, sink, and under-counter refrigerator, look for outdoor TVs and Tiki bars. Tile or pavers go a long way in adding the finishing touch to your outdoor living space. This is the new living room, after all! Don’t forget, you can create shade outside the building footprint with trellises and free standing gazebos as well.
Ceiling fans are must to circulate the heavy air and ward off mosquitoes. The most effective fans are hung between 7 and 8’ above the floor. If you have taller ceilings, you can add extension rods. Fans blades with the steepest pitch will move the most air. You will also want to look for “outdoor” or “exterior” fan and synthetic fan blades. It should be mentioned that before you go crazy buying expensive outdoor fans, be prepared to replace even the “exterior grade” ceiling fans about every 3 to 5 years. As I said, summer can be brutal!
Water is a great way to provide relief from the heat. If a swimming pool is out of the question, consider a small fountain instead. Not only does the sound of running water add ambiance, but evaporation from the water cools the air – if ever so slightly… Super-hot, desert climates utilize this phenomena with outdoor misters.
Of course, don’t forget the water you drink! It’s always a good idea to have cold beverages on hand, especially water. It’s a good idea to alternate non-alcoholic beverages like ice tea, lemonade, and cold water in between the grownup drinks.
So, summer’s here, the living is easy, and the time is right for enjoying the outdoors! A little advanced planning may be in order to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.