We have a love hate relationship when it comes to the heat here in T&T. Some days we boast of our sunny weather but some days it’s so steaming hot that we pray for snow, then we remember that it doesn’t snow in the Caribbean, so we look for other means of cooling down.
We drink cold beverages, use fans (manual and automatic ones), dress scantily, we even go outdoors. However, going outdoors on hot days might seem like a good idea because after all, you get the breeze firsthand that way but unless there’s shade you’re looking at a lot of unneeded sun exposure.
If you have a garden, you can create a shady alcove, so that you will have a cool, calming spot that you can escape to, on those days when the heat is too much to take.
Adding a shady alcove to your garden doesn’t only have to be for escaping the heat, it can be utilized in other ways. Like enhancing your overall landscape design or even for a romantic space. Here’s what’s essential for the creation of the perfect shady alcove in your garden:
Shade and seating are the main objectives with shady alcoves. You want to block out the sun and also feel cool and comfortable. If you have large shade providing trees in your garden already, then you can simply build your alcove among it and let the trees be your shade. If you don’t have large shade trees present, then try growing quick-climbing vines like coral honeysuckle, which will act as a natural roof making the shady alcove feel more enclosed. You can also plant small flowering trees like frangipani. To add to the aesthetics of your shady alcove use plants like bougainvillea, heliconias, buttercups and orchids that really brighten up the area. Seating must be comfortable, this is very important. Your seating selection can come in a variety of forms; from typical outdoor furniture, to garden benches, to cushioned chairs, it’s up to you. You should add a small table to the mix, just so you have a place to put your drinks and food etc.
You can design your shady alcove for a romantic setting. If you want your shady alcove to double as a place to escape the hot weather, as well as a place to have a private romantic candlelit dinner with your significant other, then you need to add elements of design to suit. Use more plants like rose and lilies; also make the seating more cozy and intimate. Plant jasmine and gardenia to appeal to your olfactory sense as you enjoy your partner’s company. For some extra enhancement, place potted plants around your shady alcove; plants like rosemary, lavender and palms, just takes the romantic mood to another level.
If you have kids they can make use of your shady alcove in their own way. Children would really appreciate a spot like this and not only on the days when it’s unbearably hot. A shady alcove can give them the opportunity to have a private place while they can play and hideaway. To accommodate the kiddies use seating such as bean bag chairs and hammocks. Use plants like daylily and hibiscus, which will attract wildlife such as hummingbirds, kids would really love this.