The longest walk you’ll ever take is the walk across your backyard in the Summer without flip flops. Your patio or pool deck reaches heat levels that would make your car dashboard jealous. That’s life in Phoenix, for sure! Many Arizona backyards include hardscape such as bricks, pavers, concrete, stone, or tile. Any of these hardscape materials can look amazing while providing you with a highly durable surface. But they all share the same drawback: they get hot! As Phoenicians, we understand this is part and parcel with Summer in the Valley. But standing on your patio shouldn’t feel like walking across hot coals at a motivational corporate retreat. Thanks to scientific advancements, coupled with the relentless pursuit of staying cool, we now have more options than ever before for making backyard spaces a little more livable. This is welcome news for people who love spending the summer barefoot – or for anyone with kids or dogs in their backyard. Any product that protects feet and paws from getting burned is worth looking into.

 

With this in mind, here are five DIY ways to dial-back the surface temperature in your backyard:

 

Deck Paint

Transform a plain concrete surface into a good looking, heat-reducing lounge area. H&C Cool Feel Deck and Walkway Coating is a water-based coating that rolls on like paint and provides protection from water, pool chemicals, stains, and UV rays. Can be tinted to hundreds of different colors. $67 a gallon at Sherwin-Williams.

 

Wood Overlay Tiles

Turn a hardscaped surface into a wood deck with real wood tiles that snap together like Legos. Customizable, stainable, and removable. Perfect for apartment or condo balconies. 9 sq. feet for $25 at IKEA.

 

Runner Rugs

Outdoor rugs are a foot-friendly solution to make rough surfaces comfortable while mitigating the high ground temperatures. HomeDepot.com features hundreds of indoor/outdoor runner rugs, including several that measure a whopping 22-feet long! Prices start at $78. 

 

Shade

The easiest way to cool your hardscape is by not letting it get hot in the first place. Good ol’ fashioned shade can be a real game-changer in your backyard. The options are limitless, and include solutions such as patio umbrellas, awnings, and pergolas. Try the Ohuhu Sun Shade Sail. It’s a home version of the popular shade solutions you see on playgrounds. Each 8’ x 10’ sail comes with heavy duty rope and a stainless steel hardware kit for mounting and hanging. $39 on Amazon.com.

Soft Landing

If you don’t mind stepping up your budget, you can install commercial-grade foam flooring (think of the surface of a splash pad). Your pool deck will be transformed into a safer, softer, cooler place to hang out. The increased traction helps prevents slips & falls, and the cushiony material makes for softer landings whenever a tumble does occur. UV-resistant, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. The perfect surface in a cootie-filled world. Starting at $15 a sq. foot at GreatMats.com.

Did you know? 

Surface Temperatures on a 100-degree day:

Brick 150°

Concrete pavers 120°

Flagstone 115°

Travertine 110°