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  • Writer's pictureJohn Coleman

15 DIY Ways To Cool Down Your Hot Patio

Updated: May 7

Have you ever stepped out onto your patio on a sunny day and felt like you were suddenly on the sun's surface? Yeah, outdoor spaces can really heat up. Ever wonder why your patio seems to be competing in a bake-off with the whole neighborhood? More importantly, how do you turn your outdoor space from a no-go zone in a heatwave back into your chill spot? Before you decide to spend your entire summer indoors with the AC cranked up, hang in here. We're going to look deeper into why your patio feels like a sauna and give you 15 easy, no-fuss ways to cool it down without having to redo your whole backyard.



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What Causes Your Patio To Be So Hot?

What Causes Your Patio To Be So Hot?
What Causes Your Patio To Be So Hot?

Let's be honest, it's no secret that the sun is the root cause of why your patio is so hot but there may be some factors that you haven't thought of that could be exacerbating that heat. Here is a list of other items that could be causing the temperature of your outdoor area to be even higher.


Lack of Shade

One of the most obvious reasons for a hot patio is the lack of shade. If your outdoor space doesn't have any natural or built-in shade, then you are at the mercy of the sun's rays. Without any protection from direct sunlight, everything on your patio will absorb heat and make it feel like an oven.


Heat Being Absorbed from Surrounding Elements

Many will focus solely on the fact that the immediate area of their patio is hot. However, it is important to take a look around at things that are surrounding your patio. If you have tall buildings, concrete walls, or dark-painted surfaces nearby, they can absorb heat and radiate it back onto your patio.


Position of Windows

Sun Reflecting Off A Window
Sun Reflecting Off A Window

If you have large windows or glass doors facing your patio, they could be acting as a

magnifying glass and intensifying the heat coming into your outdoor space. This can also happen with mirrors or reflective surfaces that are positioned towards your patio.


This actually happened to my patio. My back porch extends a short distance over my patio which is next to a swimming pool. The wall of my back porch is all windows. From mid-day to nightfall, the sun shines directly on my back porch and reflects off the windows; needless to say.........it gets super hot. In fact, during one summer, the heat reflecting off the windows became so hot that it melted a couple of small holes in my pool liner which I had to repair. All that said, heat absorption is real and can dramatically increase the temperature of your patio.


Lack of Air Circulation and Ventilation

Stagnant air can trap heat and make your outdoor space feel stuffy and unbearable. If there's no breeze passing through your patio, then the hot air will just stay trapped in that area. This is especially true if your patio is enclosed by walls or tall fences. Lack of air circulation can also prevent cool air from entering your patio, making it feel even hotter.


Materials and Color of Patio Decor and Furniture

Patio Furniture with Light-Colored Cushions
Patio Furniture with Light-Colored Cushions

The materials and color of your patio decor and furniture can also contribute to increasing the temperature of your outdoor space. Dark-colored fabrics, plastic, metal, or wood will absorb more heat compared to lighter colors. If you have dark-colored cushions on your patio furniture, they can become scorching hot under direct sunlight. Opt for lighter-colored materials and fabrics that can reflect sunlight and keep your outdoor space cooler.


I originally bought black metal furniture for my patio because I really liked the sleek look of the black furniture mixed with the wooden patio cover that I built. Initially, I had little shade on my patio which quickly heated up the black metal frames of the furniture and made it basically useless because it was too hot to sit in. I eventually changed the color to a light brown which significantly helped and added light aqua-colored cushions. Now, I can use the furniture without having to put a towel or something down to keep from getting burned.


The Area You Live In

The climate and location of your home greatly affect the temperature of your patio. If you live in an area with a hotter climate, then it's more likely that your patio will also be hot. I live in the southeastern U.S. If you have ever visited this area during the summer, you know that it is a very hot and humid place to live. You are looking for any way possible to cool all of your common areas down.


Patio Positioning

The positioning of your patio can also play a significant role in how hot it gets. If your patio is facing the sun for most of the day, then it's more likely to retain heat and make your outdoor space feel hotter. If you are currently considering pouring a patio, this is a concept that you should definitely take into consideration. If you are like me, there is not much you can do about positioning if your patio is already in place. That is why I put together the list below to help with affordable options to transform your patio from an unbearable inferno to an enjoyable outdoor area for you and your family to enjoy.


Let's get to the list........


15 DIY Ways To Cool Down Your Hot Patio

Now that you have identified what is causing the unbearable heat in your area of relaxation, it's time to look at some ways you can reduce the heat. I have put together a list of ways to bring the temperature down a bit. As a DIYer, I am consistently looking for cost-efficient but lasting and quality fixes. With that said, below is a list of solutions I would recommend to cool down your patio. I have arranged them in order of estimated costs from least to greatest.


1) Add Plants

Plants have a natural cooling effect
Plants have a natural cooling effect

Plants not only add beauty to your patio, but they also provide shade and decrease the temperature. They have a natural cooling effect as they release moisture into the air. Some plants that are great for this purpose include ferns, palms, and spider plants. You may also consider building a trellis and planting a climbing plant or flower.




2) Plant Trees

A Tree Planted a Safe Distance From A Patio
A Tree Planted a Safe Distance From A Patio

Trees are a great way to provide shade and cool down your patio. They not only offer

protection from the sun but also add an element of privacy to your outdoor space. You may decide to plant larger trees in the ground next to your patio or smaller decorative trees in large planting pots. Whichever you choose, it is important to extensively research all aspects of the tree you intend to plant. You want to be sure that you don't plant a tree that is going to mature and be too large for your patio. Be sure to consider the size and type of root system the tree has. Do the roots typically grow near the surface of the ground? Will the root system have a widespread and far reach from the base of the tree? These questions are important because if you plant them too close to your patio or house, the root system could cause cracks in your patio or foundation issues. If this happens, it could result in costly repairs. Another important question is how much the tree sheds it's leaves. A tree can become a nuisance if it is dropping leaves faster than you can blow them off your patio. That is definitely not how you want to spend your summer.


3) Hang a Sunshade Sail (also known as a shade sail)

Sunshade Sail
Sunshade Sail

Shade sails are triangular or square pieces of fabric that can be attached to posts or walls to provide shade. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, making them a popular choice for patios. They also come in various colors and sizes, so you can choose one that best suits your patio's design.









4) Install Patio/Outdoor Blinds or Curtains

Patio blinds or curtains are another great option for providing shade and privacy on your patio. They can be adjusted depending on the amount of shade or privacy you desire, and they come in various materials, colors, and styles to match your patio's design.


5) Incorporate Patio Umbrellas

Cantilever Umbrella
Cantilever Umbrella

Patio umbrellas are a classic and versatile way to provide shade on your patio. They come in various sizes and styles and can be easily moved around to adjust for the sun's movement throughout the day. I have owned many different types of patio umbrellas. The one I have found to be the most beneficial is a cantilever umbrella that has a base with wheels so it can be easily moved around the patio.





6) Hang a Misting System

Misting systems are a great way to cool down your patio during hot summer months. They work by emitting a fine mist of water that evaporates and cools the surrounding air. You can install a permanent system or opt for a portable one that can be set up when needed.


7) Strategically Place Fans

Strategically Place Fans to Increase Air Flow
Strategically Place Fans to Increase Air Flow

Adding a fan or two on your patio can help circulate air and keep you cool. You can choose from various types of outdoor fans, such as ceiling fans, standing fans, or wall-mounted fans. Make sure to strategically place them in areas where they won't obstruct foot traffic but can still provide a cool breeze.


8) Get a Misting Fan

For an even cooler option, consider investing in a misting fan. These fans combine the cooling effects of mist with the air circulation provided by traditional fans. They come in various sizes and styles and can be a great addition to any patio.







9) Paint Your Patio a Light Color

Dark colors absorb more heat, so consider painting your patio a lighter color to help keep it cooler. White or light beige are popular choices and can also add a clean and airy look to your outdoor space.


10) Get an Evaporative Cooler (also known as a Swamp Cooler)

If you live in a dry climate, an evaporative cooler can be a great alternative to traditional air conditioning. These coolers work by pulling in hot, dry air and passing it through wet pads that cool the air before circulating it back into the room. They are more energy-efficient than AC units and can significantly reduce the temperature on your patio.


11) Portable or Stationary Bar

Okay, so as I was putting this list together, I couldn't help but add this. What better way to cool yourself down than partaking in your favorite chilled beverage? Adding a bar to your patio can be a fun and functional way to keep cool. You can choose between a portable bar on wheels that you can move around as needed or a stationary one built into your patio design. Either option allows you to enjoy cold drinks and snacks without having to constantly go inside.


12) Replace Patio Furniture and/or Decor with Lighter Colors and Materials

Light-Colored Patio Furniture
Light-Colored Patio Furniture

Similar to painting your patio a lighter color, replacing dark-colored furniture and decor with lighter options can also help keep your outdoor space cooler. Opt for materials like wicker or rattan, which are more breathable and won't absorb as much heat. Lighter fabrics for cushions and pillows can also make a difference in keeping things cool.


13) Install a Water Feature

Small Birdbath with a Fountain
Small Birdbath with a Fountain

The sound of trickling water can have a calming and cooling effect on a hot day. Consider adding a small water feature, like a fountain or birdbath, to your patio space. Not only will it add visual interest, but the evaporation from the water can also help lower the temperature in the surrounding area.





14) Build a Structure for Shade

A Pergola With A Canopy
A Pergola With A Canopy

If your patio is in an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight, it's important to have some sort of shade structure. This could be a retractable awning, a pergola with a canopy, a gazebo, or perhaps even a roof extension over your patio. Though this is a more expensive option, it can greatly increase your comfort and allow you to enjoy your patio even on the hottest days. There are multiple styles and options to choose from.












15) Build an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola
Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola

For those who love to cook and entertain, building an outdoor kitchen can be a great

addition to your patio space. This not only allows you to prepare meals outdoors but it also eliminates the need for constant trips inside for food and drinks. You can include a grill, mini fridge, sink, and even a small bar area in your outdoor kitchen.





If you purchase through links on this site, we may earn a small commission. See our affiliate disclosure.


What Are The Benefits of Cooling Down Your Patio?

Of course, cooling your patio down will make it a more enjoyable place to be but there are also practical benefits. By keeping your patio cooler, you can extend the life of your outdoor furniture and prevent damage from direct sunlight and extreme heat. A cooler patio also means that you can spend more time outside without worrying about overheating or sunburn. Additionally, having a cool and comfortable patio can increase the overall value and appeal of your home.


Conclusion

Creating a comfortable and inviting outdoor patio space is not just about aesthetics, but also functionality. By implementing the tips mentioned above, you can cool your patio down so you and your family can spend more time outdoors all summer long. Remember to always stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade when spending extended periods of time outdoors.


Frequently Asked Questions

What size evaporative cooler should I buy for my patio?

The size of evaporative cooler you should buy for your patio depends on the size of your patio and the climate in your area. The general rule of thumb is that a 1,000 CFM (cubic feet per minute) unit can effectively cool a space up to 300 square feet. However, if you live in a hot and dry climate, you may need a larger unit to effectively cool your patio.


Can I use a misting system on my patio?

Yes, you can use a misting system on your patio but it is important to properly plan and install the system. Consider the size of your space, placement of the nozzles, and water source for the misters. Make sure to also regularly clean and maintain the system to prevent clogging and prolong its lifespan.


How do I choose the right patio furniture for my space?

When choosing patio furniture, consider the size of your space, desired aesthetic, and functionality. Opt for weather-resistant materials such as aluminum or teak to ensure durability. Don't be afraid to mix and match different pieces to create a unique look. And most importantly, choose furniture that is comfortable and fits your lifestyle.


What are some low-cost options for cooling my patio?

If you're on a budget, there are still plenty of ways to cool your patio. Consider using natural shade from trees or installing a retractable awning. You can also use portable fans strategically placed around the space. Another cost-effective option is to use a shade sail or canopy to block direct sunlight and provide cooler air circulation.


What kind of water feature should I install?

When choosing a water feature for your patio, consider the size of your space and the overall aesthetic you're going for. If you have a smaller patio, opt for a tabletop fountain or wall-mounted water feature. For larger spaces, an in-ground or freestanding fountain can make a beautiful focal point. Consider incorporating plants and lighting to enhance the ambiance.


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