July 12, 2017
The “Dog Days of Summer”…
Many hot days await us in the coming months. Since we’re usually indoors through most winter and spring weeks, we want to maximize our time outside. When temperatures soar into the 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range (~27-32 Celsius), it is tempting to stay inside.
The Hardscaping™ experts at EP Henry know how the sun and heat in outdoor spaces can be daunting, but getting outside is healthy for us. Finding ways to enjoy even the hot days is the key to a great summer. Plus, who doesn’t want to host parties on the patio? We can’t let a little heat stop us! Here are a few tips on keeping cool during these hot summer months.
The Centers for Disease Control has some great information about heat safety. A few of their top tips: If you are heat sensitive (e.g., small children and the elderly), avoid the hottest hours when the sun is at its peak, from 10am-4pm daily. Cotton, loose-fitting and light-colored clothes are best. Drink plenty of water while outdoors and take care to watch for signs of heat-related illness. See more information at their site here.
Die-hard sports fans are the true masters of setting up camp on a hot “Hardscape.” Your brick paver patio may be cooler and is better at releasing heat than parking-lot asphalt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use some masterful beat-the-heat moves from tailgaters.
1. Set up a shady area away from the grill.
2. Use personal hand-held misting fans. Pack extra batteries.
3. Cooling towels and ice-pack neck wraps work. Cooling the nape of the neck releases heat pressure on the head and helps the whole body feel cooler.
4. Soaking feet in a tub of icy water can also help cool the whole body.
5. Freeze water-filled plastic bottles. They serve as cooler ice and stay cold while you drink them (as the ice melts).
6. Special baseball caps exist that evaporate water over time. This can lessen the heat on your head by many degrees, which in turns cools the body. You can also dunk a regular baseball cap in ice water and wear it to get a similar effect.
7. Have the kids make a sponge necklace. Cut new sponges in triangles or small decorative shapes. String them on a ribbon or thread. Dunk in ice water. Instant cooling!
Other options for keeping cool while patio living:
1. Mist systems. Mister hoses release microscopic drops of water that quickly evaporate, therefore cooling the air. Evaporation and cooling from misting systems works best on dry days. Humidity will lessen the cooling effectiveness of the water droplets because they won’t evaporate as quickly. Mist hoses come in all lengths and usually come with clips to attach to umbrellas or overhangs.
2. Good old-fashioned fans. Fans have the dual benefit of cooling the skin while blowing away mosquitos who cannot land in the strong air current. If the blown air isn’t cool, place a solid ice 2 Liter bottle in front of the fan. The ice will cool the air. This is also a good tip to remember when trying to sleep in a non-air-conditioned room.
Keeping Your Pond Cool
Record high temperatures across the nation create a number of challenges for people, pets, plants, and yes, even your water garden. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your pond, especially when the water temperature reaches 80 degrees or higher.
Warm water has a low capacity for holding oxygen, so you may start to see your fish gasping for air close to the water’s surface, or especially close to a fountain or waterfall. In addition, warm pond water leads to increased activity and that means your fish require more oxygen at a time when it’s least available.
As your fish struggle for oxygen, they’ll become increasingly stressed. And stressed fish are more likely to develop diseases … a scenario you want to avoid.
To optimize fish health during extreme heat, you’ll want to ensure your fish have the best pond environment possible. It all starts with a well-designed water feature. Depth, plant coverage, shade, and circulation should all be considered when building a pond. A minimum depth of two feet is suggested so the bottom can remain cooler.
You’ll also want to stock your pond with a lot of plants to provide shade for the fish. A good rule of thumb is to provide plant coverage of approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the pond’s surface area. Waterlily pads provide great coverage, but if your pond lacks the proper amount, you can easily add floating plants such as water lettuce until the waterlilies fill in.
One of the most important parts of pond design is circulation. If possible, you’ll want to place your biological filter and mechanical filter across the pond from each other, so that all areas of the pond are skimmed and the water circulated. Keep in mind that waterfalls, streams, and even fountains play a huge part in the oxygenation of the water in your pond. If you don’t already have a waterfall cascading into your pond, you might want to invest in a fountain that can be added without any construction to the pond.
During these hot, dog days of summer, try some of these tips to keep your pond performing optimally:
The bottom line is that you need to keep an eye on your pond and let your fish and plants do the talking. If you have a balanced ecosystem, you don’t need to be checking your pond out every day, but you do need to check it out every once in a while to make sure your aquatic plants and fish are healthy.
Call us today for ideas!
Pond Tour Books are here!
The 20th Annual “Parade of Ponds” tour is as follows:
South Tour: July 15-16th
Under the Lights Tour: July 21st
North Tour: July 22-23
What is the pond tour? It is a great way to spend a weekend driving around town looking at fellow pond enthusiast’s water features. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Akron Children’s Hospital Burn Unit!
The books serve as your admission to this event, as well as your map. Each book is $10.00 and you can pay by cash or check at our sales office or at Mock Pond and Landscape Supply. But HURRY! Supplies are limited!