The Southwest region of the United States is comprised of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah, states where the hot and arid climate challenges any landscape designer. With summer temperatures in the hundreds, shelter is a chief concern of a landscaper who responds by shading homes with a combination of softscape (organic materials) and hardscape (architectural elements).
The strategic placement of trees proves natural shade, adjusting the micro climate of home. Plant trees of your landscape's southern and western edges to block the intense heat of southwest afternoon sun. Large canopied trees are good for dealing with mid-day heat. Outside air conditioning compressors should be covered with trees and shrubs that shelter them from air and allow them efficiently run. Architectural elements such as shade houses and arbors are effective means of blocking sun. A shade house is fashioned out of a four post base and a slanted roof whose slats are spaced one to two inches apart. This way, air can flow through yet the sun is largely blocked. Erected next to a house's outside wall, shade houses combine with shade trees to keep your heat concerns in check.