Question: Our patio is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. How can we best control that?

Answer: Deciduous shade overhead is an obvious starting point. If you have an arbor over your patio, plant a vine that will be bare in the winter. Wisteria, Lady Banksia rose and Madame Galen trumpetcreeper are all examples. Remove all obstructions to the south breezes during the summer, and erect some type of wind break to the north. To explain, keep all low vegetation from trees and shrubs “limbed up” so that the summer breezes can actually be funneled in underneath. Use dense shrubs such as hollies, ligustrums or elaeagnus to stop the wind from the north. Be careful, too, how you choose and place fencing near the patio. Use it to block the north winter wind, and leave openings for the south breezes in the summer.

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