Just last week, temperatures in the UK reached highs that broke records and many of us struggled to cope. England is really not set up for the heat and we have next to no experience with how to keep ourselves cool in such temperatures. Garden buildings can pose even more of a challenge with many of them containing a lot of glass or polycarbonate. Your large open windows give you wonderful views and a feeling of being outdoors, but they can make it more difficult to keep your garden room cool. If you work out of your garden office, keeping cool is going to be essential to you. We don’t all have the luxury of just throwing in the towel for a few days because it’s too hot! So, with another heat wave expected soon, we’ve put together our best advice to help you all stay cool and comfortable this summer.
Should I open the doors and windows in a heat wave?
Absolutely not! We often mistakenly think that we need to do this to keep the house well ventilated. But what we’re doing is letting all the hot air inside! Keeping all the doors and windows closed during the day makes a huge difference, especially when there is a run of excessively hot days in a row. You’re also going to want to keep the blinds shut to block out the sunlight. If your garden office isn’t currently set up with sufficient lighting, then invest in a few good lamps to get you through the hot days. Essentially, you need to do all you can to keep the air inside your office cooler than the air outside. Just as we wouldn’t leave the fridge open in the heat, we shouldn’t leave our garden offices open either.
When the air outside cools down at night you can then have your doors and windows wide open to bring the colder air inside. Use air conditioning units or fans to get the air moving right through the building.
It usually starts to heat up very early in the morning during a heat wave so shut the doors, windows, and blinds as soon as that happens. You can leave air conditioning units running during the day if you have them with everything closed. If you don’t fancy rising that early, shut everything up before you go to bed.
Another tip during the day is to keep your appliance use to a minimum. If you have a TV or an extra monitor in there that you could do without, leave them off on hot days to reduce heat emission.
General advice for a heat wave
Drink water. Drink water. Drink water!
You absolutely must make sure you stay hydrated in a heat wave. Bear in mind that it will take far more water to keep you hydrated in high temperatures than it will normally. Becoming de-hydrated can lead to dangerous effects, so please make sure you are drinking water almost continuously throughout the hot days.
Here’s our hack for keeping an ice-cold bottle of water with you all day in your garden office:
Another top tip for coping with the heat is to shower regularly. Since the UK is not usually too hot, most of us usually shower once a day and are a bit stuck in that habit. But in hotter countries it’s common to shower several times a day as standard. A quick 60 second dip under water helps you cool down quickly and resets your thermostat. Why not try taking a quick shower on your lunch break to help you cool down for the rest of your day?
Can I cool down the garden?
You might well be missing your garden views since you’ve now got to close the blinds to keep the sunlight out. But there’s no rule that says you have to remain in your office all day. If you’re working on a computer or laptop then you may need to be indoors, but if you have online meetings to attend or calls to take, these could easily be done from the garden on your phone. The trouble is, in a heat wave it can just be too hot to be outside! But we have a fix for that too.
You need to create semi-permanent shade. If you have an umbrella or gazebo, put it up a day or two before the hot days are predicted, and leave it up. If the sun never hits the ground on the hot days, it will stay cool, creating a nice little spot for some outdoor working if that’s what you’re craving. If you don’t have a structure like this, you can create makeshift shade with strung up bits of cloth tied to shed or house roofs, trees and fences. The more shade you can make, the more it keeps your garden cool overall. For outdoor shade, you want cover from the sun, but sides open for air to move. Feet in a paddling pool and you’re made . . . and no one will ever know!