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  • Your skin is the largest organ so treat it with kindness and respect, sunscreen, a hat, UV blocking sunglasses and UV clothing will help keep it young looking.

Gardening and Landscaping in the SUN

Is there anyone who does not appreciate a garden? Whether it is a beautifully landscaped garden planned and planted by professionals or a work of love by the landowner. A garden can be a source of pleasure, renewal, a source of productive activity and a creative outlet while enjoying the life giving sun.

First of all, you need to have a plan and it is best to stick to this plan. Remember to consider what areas of the yard receive sun, for how long and what time of day this occurs. Different plants require different amounts of sun, some plants don’t “suntan” well and with too much sun will actually sunburn. They also require different amounts of water so this must be considered, research plants native to your area and use them as the base. Once you accomplish this then let the creative juices flow taking into consideration how much time you want to spend in maintenance. While you are at it create an area with a deep outdoor gardening sink, water and flat surface for working and cleaning up. Ames makes a True Temper garden sink and hose holder if you want something inexpensive and easy. There is another very important part to garden maintenance and that is mulch. Mulch has several benefits such as inhibiting weed germination and growth. Weeds love the sun! Mulch also holds in soil moisture to keep your plants from drying out faster. On hot sunny summer days mulch will help keep plant roots cooler, while during those cold low sun winter months it will protect roots from frost. Depending on which mulch you decide to put in your garden, it will add some nutrition.

Another consideration is who will be using the area around your home? A large expanse of lawn surrounded by trees, plants and flowers may be preferred by a family with kids who love playing outside in the sun. Sand boxes should be in the shade, remember reflected sun? What person as a child hasn’t loved playing in the sprinkler? Plants need water so why not combine the two, be creative. Remember water intensifies the effect of the sun so make sure waterproof sunscreen is used. Skin type and a good base tan are factors to consider when deciding what sun product to use. Fairer skinned people and young children should use SPF 30+ sunscreen, even with a good base tan. Give 5-10 minutes in the sun before applying the sunscreen to allow the vitamin D process to begin. Sunglasses and/or a sun protective hat are best to wear if out in full sun for extended periods. Shaded areas should be part of a planned garden, perhaps a covered terrace or a nice big tree with a swing. Don’t forget to incorporate plants around the family ‘fun in the sun’ swimming pool!

For those who love a healthy tan, consider creating a small garden area for tanning surrounded by sun loving plants that act as natural aromatherapy. The sun helps bring out the scents so choose well. A few plants that would love to join you in your suntan area are lavender, thyme, rosemary or roses. Roses need a full 6-8 hours of sun daily and heirloom roses are known for wonderful scent. The perfect mulch for this type of garden would be tree bark! When the sun heats the bark, the smell would be another part of that aromatherapy. A water feature can be soothing in a garden, a spot where world weary adults can let the stress flow away. A bubbling fountain with the water reflecting the sun is another feature that will soothe the soul. An area of relaxing cool colors of blue, brown and purple are perfect for a sun dappled meditation garden. Butterfly or hummingbird attracting plants are also a consideration, helping to create a spot to unwind with filtered sun that gives you gentle access to the “sunshine vitamin”.

An older couple may want a low maintenance garden, one created more for relaxation and health. Older people need more sun and tend to chill more easily. A spot to relax in, soaking up the warmth of the sun, as well as the necessary vitamin D would be beneficial in many ways. Plan for a weatherproof bench to store sun hats, sun protection lotions and oils, something to cover up with if the breeze gets too cool or whatever. Even if you are sitting at an umbrella protected table, reflected sun must be considered. After the age of 50 your vitamin D requirement almost triples and sun is the best source of the aptly named “sunshine vitamin”. Unfortunately, too often as you age, more time is spent away from the sun leading to many of the complaints associated with aging. Tanning is not a common activity of older people; with them it is basking or dozing in the sun. Older people tend to be on medications so be sure to find out of the medication you are on is one that increases your sensitivity to the sun.

In the South, sitting outside is possible all year round so make sure you have a seating area in the sun for the cool of winter but also one in the shade for the heat and intense sun of summer. Those in real cold climes may want to think about plant filled sunrooms and/or glass enclosed gazebos for their gardens. Remember sunroom plants in winter may need their own “sun lamps” to insure good health. Sun lamps wouldn’t hurt the humans either so don’t forget tanning salons exist for safe tanning that helps both body and spirit.

Make enjoying a sunny garden a year round activity. Always remember when working in the garden to wear a big “sun protective” hat, quality gloves and sunscreen or tanning lotion. Checking the UV index and choosing to work in the garden before 10AM and after 2PM may be a wise choice. If a nice even tan is your concern then don’t think you will attain that working in your garden. It would be better to slather on the sunscreen and cover up with UV clothing while working in your garden and obtain that nice even tan at the tanning salon. For those who enjoy digging in the earth and love the creative challenge of bringing beauty to their piece of the world, it is a wonderful way to obtain vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”.

Check out our online store for your sun protective hat, garden accessories, products for protection from sun and insects and so much more. If you have any pictures of you tanning in the garden, please email them to our Suntan Crew.

-Miss Suntan & Ms. Suntan

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