Saturday, January 9, 2010

The great shading experiment

To refresh my memory, here is a picture taken of the trellis erected on the western side of the house.

The sole intention behind this trellis was to shade it from the harsh western sun. It was heating up the house, even with a 1.8 metre verandah around it. You can see from the image above, how far the sun actually comes in under the verandah. The concrete is acting as a heat sink if anything. Great in winter - terrible in summer!

After much trial and error with the luffa seeds though, we finally got them to start covering the trellis.

I think I'll put it down to a false spring, which prevented the germination of the seeds originally. False spring, meaning we got warm temps during the day but night-time temperatures still dropped low enough to chill the seeds again. Luffa seeds only germinate in temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius, consistently.

But how did it achieve at shading the western side of the house after all? See for yourself...

This picture was taken at approximately 1.30pm, yesterday afternoon. Clearly, the sun is still getting through to the verandah. I have noticed a slight change in temperature however, but only when a breeze passes through the leaves. Perhaps even the shaded and moist bed itself, is acting to reduce the heat the concrete absorbs initially?

From the above picture though, it's clear that I need an overhead trellis (or pergola) to do the kind of job I'm after.

Now this brings up another two important questions. Firstly, do I risk growing a vine from the ground which contacts the roof, in a termite prone area? Secondly, do I risk an increased fire risk which contacts with the roof, in a fire sensitive area?

Either option doesn't seem like a safe risk, so I'm in a bit of a conundrum at the moment. What strategy do I try next?

Lattice attached directly to the verandah posts - without contacting the ground, does seem like a better option. But then again, it won't be easily moved in winter to allow the sun in, and made of either wood or plastic, it still becomes a fire hazard attached to the house.

Lay your ideas on me people. I'm ready for any suggestions...


  1. What about bamboo blinds from the edge of the veranda? You can roll them up under the bull-nose when you're not using them and they won't reach the ground? I guess your veranda is pretty long though so may not work?

  2. Both are great suggestion, Mashelly and Jacqui. I may have to incorporate something similar between the verandah posts.

    My biggest issue with blinds under the bullnose however, is we seem to get our greatest population of red-back spiders there.

    I'm happy for them to stay there and catch all the insects, but I leave them well alone, LOL.

    Still, I could probably design a kind of shading blind (bamboo or shade cloth) so that it's permanently down, and not so close to the gutters.

    All good ideas to contemplate for next summer. Thank you. :)


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