Regardless of your local weather patterns, your landscaping and gardens will have a specific microclimate which is created due to several different influences working together. Some of these factors are the direction your property faces, how it’s protected from the wind, amount of slope, and how much sun or shade it gets. Considering microclimates into your landscape design could prove to be one of the most important elements to how successful your landscape or garden is.

Any structures that you place on your property could have an immediate effect on its microclimate. All your landscaping and garden ideas could easily be effected by just one placement. For example, a house creates a windbreak and alters the flow of air around and above it. There will be cooler spots and warmer spots created on either side of the house with shade in different places at different times. Walls and fences similarly have an effect on a site, as do natural features like trees and hedges.

The composition of the soil surface can have effect on local temeratures and temperature changes. Some surfaces, like bitumen, attract so much heat that you can’t walk on them in the heat of the summer. And the heat they produce is even felt in the air above. Concrete surfaces, on the other hand, keeps fairly cool. All landscaping ideas will be effected differently by different elements. Turf grass is always cool. However, the temperature of the soil under the grass is influenced by how long the grass is growing over it. Temperature changes like this can help you grow warmth loving plants like semi tropical and some tropical varieties. Exposed surfaces that get hot in the daytime will transfer the heat energy back out through the night. This effect can be used to mitigate frost damage in susceptible areas.

In gardens and landscaping exposed to heavy winds, some type of barrier is usually needed. It’s been shown that solid wind blocks like wood fences make areas of turbulence on each side. This is common knowledge to most landscape design contractors. The best sort of barriers are the ones that allow some air flow. A barrier like this will be more like a filter than a baracade. To create an effective wind barrier, you can place light foliaged trees, an open boarded fence, or a brick fence with spaces left between the bricks.

Water can have many different effects on a microclimate. Depending on the pond size, it helps stabilize the temperature of the air. A pond reflects light from its surface, so plants surrounding a pond tend to get both more water and more light than those planted elsewhere. However, even though a pond has a cooling effect on its surroundings in the heat of Summer, it can also have a very chilly effect in Winter. Keep this in mind when you’re considering where to place a pond.

Both people and vegetation get more out of it when you consider your site’s microclimate and plan accordingly.

Filed under: Landscaping

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