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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Treat your Backyard to a Cool New Water Feature

Jul 07, 2011 02:21PM ● By Summer Bethea

Wouldn't it be nice if your back­ yard could be 10 to 20 degrees cooler? Alfresco Living, a land­scape lighting and outdoor water features company based in Anna, delivers on that promise with technology called Cool Fog­ging and offers a variety of other green waterfeatures, from koi ponds to rainwater harvesting systems.

Cool Fogging has its history in swamp cooling, a 20th-century prequel to air­ conditioning, that lowers temperature by putting more moisture into the air. A high-quality Cool Fogging system sprays a fine blanket of water fog into the air at a pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and nozzles with orifices measuring about a hundredth of an inch, which results in smaller droplets and less dampness than misting.

"It feels really good to sit under the nozzles," says owner jon Petersen. The more nozzles, the greater the area that can be cooled,and that area is unlimited. "One of our customers has 80 nozzles and is cooling about 2,000 square feet of outdoor living space," he says. A typical system costs between $2,500 and $3,500; and the company also sells portable outdoor swamp coolers starting at $500.

The downside to cool fogging comes in more humid areas, because the higher the humidity, the lower the cooling effect. In Arizona, for example, humidity is generally lower than 50 percent, Cool Fogging can offer a 20 to 25-degree drop in temperature, taking the climate from 90 degrees to a comfortable 75. In Dallas, however, where humidity levels run closer to 80 percent, a more realistic expectation for a temperature drop is about 10 to 15 degrees.

"If you really want to cooI off, I suggest dipping your feet in a pondless creekbed, Iike the one we installed at the Frisco Design Center," Petersen says. The impres­ sive 20-foot-long by three-feet-wide creek feature runs diagonally along the deck of the design center's outdoor kitchen. Most water features create a natural environment that attract wildlife and create a habitat for nature to thrive, so, "A backyard pond is one of the best ways to educate kids about nature," says Petersen.

For homeowners that want to recycle the Earth's resources, Alfresco Living can install rain water harvesting systems,which collect water from a home's roofline, oxy­ genize it through a waterfall, and then store it in an underground tank untiI it's ready to be used to irrigate the property. "The biggest consumer of 60 percent 80 percent of water in a household is the landscape," says Pe­tersen. Every inch of rain on a 2,000-square­ foot roof provides 1,250 gallons of water, which equates to about 36,000 gallons a year.

Petersen and his wife Laura started off in landscape lighting in 2005, offering low voltage led and halogen landscape lighting and LED Christmas lighting. Both personally and professionally, the Petersens recycle about 95 to 98 percent of all the waste that comes into their home and of­ fice.

For more information, call 972-924-2722 or visit

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