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Summer Solstice Sun & Shade Trap

See how this layout of trees and cisterns on the west of and house on the north of the garden create an afternoon Shade Trap when the cisterns and trees shade and cool the garden (and front porch) at the hottest time of the day.

This significantly reduces the water needs of the garden, since the shaded and cooled plants and soil will lose less moisture to evapotranspiration and evaporation than they would if exposed to the more intense heat of direct sun at the hottest time of day.

Note 1: The Solar Oven is always facing the sun, thus it moves throughout the day. Watch the solar oven and shadows to see where the sun is throughout the day.

Compare this Summer video to the Winter Solstice Sun & Shade Trap video ( to see how the different seasons’ sun and shadow paths vary.

If you want more morning shade consider using a Solar Arc arrangement of trees (…), rather than a Sun & Shade Trap.

Note how these Sun & Shade Traps and Solar Arcs are ideal for passively harvesting winter sun and summer shade where and when needed. These are great ways to grow living air conditioners and heaters that can be freely irrigated with on-site rainfall and run-off (turned into “soak-in”) captured in passive water-harvesting earthworks or rain gardens. Note that hardy, native food-bearing shade trees are often the best plants for creating a Sun & Shade Trap (or Solar Arc), as they are the best adapted to local climatic extremes. Thus they can buffer the extremes for gardens, gathering areas, buildings, or less-hardy exotic fruit trees within the sheltered area they create. If you want shade earlier or later within the trap, move the shading elements closer to or farther from the trap—or grow/build a taller or shorter shading element.

Note 2: This video is for 32º N latitude. For sun and shadow paths and angles for other latitudes, plus additional strategies for the free/passive harvest of sun and shadow, see the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition available at deep discount direct from the author.

Active SystemsPassive SystemsRainwater HarvestingSun and Shade Harvesting