The good lawn has a lot going for it as a climate modifier. Combined with other greenery around your house it has a definite cooling effect.
And if you shudder at the thought of spending all that time sweating in the heat to keep the lawn in trim, replace it with a thyme lawn (drought hardy), Dichondra, or lawn chamomile in cooler areas.
Hedges can be planted to eliminate road glare and paths eliminated and replaced by paving stones with ground cover plants – thyme, chamomile, moneywort, pennyroyal – growing between them. As the plants spread, the glare of the stone is reduced and eventually eliminated.
Try different varieties of thyme combined with chamomile for a variety of color, and wormwood or yew for a tall hedge.
Inside our home, internal heat gain – heat generated by people, lights and appliances – can be effectively reduced by modifying your household habits.
Try to prepare meals that use minimum stove cooking time or require no cooking at all. If you intend to cook, use a microwave oven as much as possible and avoid using the normal oven. And when baking, do this in the cool of the evening when breezes can blow away heat, or early in the morning before the day starts.
If possible, locate refrigerators and freezers in a garage, laundry, or on a veranda – they both give off considerable heat.
Alternatively, a screened, closable vent in the floor behind the appliance and a vent in the ceiling above it (vented to the outside) will exhaust heat built up.
On hot days keep windows and external doors closed, lower external blinds or awnings, and draw internal blinds or curtains. Close internal doors that lead to areas likely to be influenced by outside conditions. And instead of using an air conditioner in hot weather, open all the windows and let the natural breeze cool you.
Large pots of water (covered with fly wire to prevent mosquitoes breeding) placed below windows where the draft will flow over them will provide instant, water-cooled air conditioning.
Fish ponds located beneath pergolas and in a line close to doors will achieve the same effect, as will goldfish bowls placed on sills of open windows.
They are, without doubt, one of the easiest methods of cooling, relying simply on evaporation – the same principal energy hungry air conditioners work on.