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Green retreats ... plants, water, shadecloth.

As summer sun climbs higher, even sheltered gardens such as atriums often become hot spots. Notice how professionals transformed these three atriums from summer sizzlers into cool, shady retreats: green plants and water create a cool ambience; shadecloth overhead tames glare and heat. Cooling combinations shown here are especially suited to north-or east-facing patios, enclosed entries or atriums, or other areas partially shades by walls or overhangs.

To make the atrium at upper left livable during summer heat in Davis, California, landscape, designer Michael Glassman capped it with 55-percent shadecloth. Then he brightened the shade by using plants with pale to medium-green foliage. In time, young evergreen pears and a bougainvillea will provide a leafy canopy for additional shade (otherwise denser cloth would be advisable). The splash and vapor of a corner fountain further freshen the air. The combination of a large space (20 by 20 feet) and a high roof line provides adequate air circulation.

In the center garden, architect Robert M. Fox and Donald Stimpson stretched 30-percent shadecloth over the open-beamed corridor to keep out insects and diffuse light without blocking rain. Owners used plants suitable for their frost-free climate.

In the garden at right, Michael Glassman again emphasized light-colored foliage and moving water, but this time in a woodsy, natural style. This 10- by 20-foot atrium was designed primarily to provide a view from rooms surrounding it, but steppingstones invite an occasional walk through the greenery.

In summer, overhead shadecloth prevents leaf scorch, glare, and insect invasion. For this small, confined space, a pop-up roof is necessary to promote good air circulation through the shadecloth; the high ceiling also gives a larger, airier feeling. In winter, the owners switch to clear, heavy-duty plastic to protect plants from frosts and to encourage growth earlier in spring. These seasonal roofing materials moderate temperatures within the house and in the atrium, reducing both heating and airconditioning bills.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jul 1, 1984
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