With Australia’s extreme temperatures, it is important to create shade around your home. Internal and external blinds are a great starting point in protecting your home against the elements. But you can protect your home further from the elements by doing a few simple things. Plants are a great natural source of shade and make your outdoor areas more attractive. By planting greenery in your outdoor rooms and around your awnings and blinds, you are increasing the efficiency of your cooling system as well as creating a lush green outlook.
When deciding what type of plants to grow outdoor there are a number of factors to consider. You will need to determine how shaded the area is and whether it receives any sunlight throughout the day. You will also need to consider the size of your area and the functionality of your plants. For example, do you need to cover a post or fence or perhaps you would prefer plants you can use, such as herbs. You will also need to decide if it would be best to grow the plants in pots or in flowerbeds. A plant nursery will be able to help you decide which plants are best for your conditions.
Climbers and creepers are a great starting point for a covered patio, verandah or deck. Most of these types of plants do very well in the shade, and are fast growing. Climbers are perfect for smaller areas as they grow vertically. If you have an outdoor shade system, which is mounted with a pole, a climber can be planted at the base and will provide coverage. They are also perfect for covering walls or fences. Bougainvillea is very popular due to its bright colours and dense foliage. It is now possible to buy miniature bougainvillea, which can be planted in a pot – perfect for a deck.
Another popular climber for warmer climates are Mandevillas. Fast growing, the Mandevilla does best in partly shaded areas, making it perfect for patios and decks. Its bright, tropical flowers will provide a beautiful splash of colour to any outdoor area. The Mandevilla does need a structure to climb, such as a trellis or post.
Create your own rainforest with a mass of lush green ferns. A sea of ferns can make even the hottest day seem cooler. Ferns are a great choice for shaded areas. The popular Maidenhair Fern grows well in partial shade while Elk or Stag Horn Ferns look magnificent mounted on the wall of an outdoor room.
You can even create your own potted cottage garden on your deck. Native Violets and Daphne do well in shaded pots. And Daphne is not only very pretty but has an exquisite perfume. Many herbs will thrive in a covered shaded area. Vietnamese mint, Galangal, and Lemon Balm are just some of the herbs, which do better in the shade. In Australia’s harsh climate shade loving natives are also a great choice. Needing little water, natives are low maintenance and will survive in even the toughest conditions.
When designing your outdoor area and what awning to erect take the time to consider the plants which will grow best in the environment. They will not only be an attractive feature of your shaded area but will enhance the cooling properties of your awnings and blinds.