How Hot Do Common Landscape Surfaces Get In Summer?

How Hot Do Common Landscape Surfaces Get In Summer?

By Todd Layt

landscape surfaces in summer

Over the last couple of years we took the temperatures of many landscape surfaces on 40 degree days. You might find the results we got surprising. We discovered there was a great deal of variation in temperature between different surfaces. For example, from grass to gravel the temperature varied by 32 degrees. The findings from this important research could help contractors and designers create cooler landscapes.

Some hard surfaces were a lot cooler than others. Selecting the right products can greatly reduce the surrounding temperature of your backyard entertaining area. With the spreading fear about the possible temperature rises, isn’t it time to consider using cooler landscape alternatives?

It’s not surprising that the coolest temperature taken was from the surface water of a large pond, which was exactly 40 degrees, the same as the air temperature. The next coolest surface in full sun was the green grass on a sports field, which measured 45.65°. Dry grass on the same field was 51.5°.

Green grass growing near gravel was found to be 52.15°, whilst dry grass next to gravel was surprisingly 62.2°. Dry grass further away from the gravel was cooler. Shaded turf near concrete was 47.2° whilst concrete in shade was 49.8°. Gravel in full sun was 77.78° and grey concrete on a tennis court reached an amazing 78.27°, with concrete surfaces around a house in full sun 74.75°. Fake grass did not fair much better reaching 66.95°.

So the first trend that can be seen is that grass in full sun is much cooler than concrete and gravel, but so is shaded concrete. The shade of a tree reduced the temperature of the concrete by 25°. Lomandra Tanika growing in gravel that was 77.78 degrees just a few metres away cooled the gravel that was right next to it down to 53.9 degrees Celsius.

It’s amazing the plants can even survive in…read more









3 responses to “How Hot Do Common Landscape Surfaces Get In Summer?

  1. Hello Todd,
    I am finding it very difficult to find a email address or telephone number to contact you. I have two soft leaf Buffalo Lawn questions that I will value your opinion on.
    1. Optimal height of cut for Perth? Most contractors cut at 20mm with sharp correctly set cylinder mowers as often as is necessary to avoid removing 1/3 of the leaf. 2. How to deal with rampant stolons that run over the surface, I love ‘Sapphire’ it is simply the best in shade.
    Kind regards,Nick Bell.

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