I think the definition of misery is a hot muggy day in the southeastern United States.
I don't know what it is like in other hot regions around the globe, but the hot summers in Kentucky have to be among the most miserable.
You've heard the phrase, "Its not so much the heat as it is the humidity." Nothing was ever more truly spoken.
Because once you reach that certain point when spring slides into summer, then you can bet that anything outside after 10 a.m. in the southeast is pretty much hot, humid, and miserable. I gotta say that the thing that I am constantly reminded of is how the slaves worked all day, every day in this impossible heat. Thankfully those times are long past. But, how on earth did they endure that?
We used to go sailing and golfing in this heat. Golfing we did as soon as the course opened at 7:00 a.m. We could get in 18 holes well before 11:00, and still you had to shower when you got home because you were drenched. Sailing when we didn't get the boat in the water early, we usually waited until about 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon and would enjoy a sunset sail, putting in just before dark.
After having spent almost 30 years living in Germany, I guess my heat tolerance has gone down. These days, I just deplore summer. The only way to enjoy it is to have a pool, ocean, or lake to swim in and wear next to nothing and be in the shade.
Doing yard work is something that is a complete waste of time except for the fact that you are exercising some and have some sense of accomplishment after you are done. But, I am not the guy who loves being dripping wet, hot, and sticky in the summer sun trimming hedge or weed eating the grounds. The trick to yard work is to do it more often so that it doesn't take long to do it.
In my estimation, there is nothing worse than a poorly planned landscaping. You see effective landscaping means two things: 1. Ease of upkeep. 2. Clean looking. Really, you can't have one unless you have the other.
The worst things in landscaping are unpruned trees, poorly chosen plants that are placed poorly. I believe all houses should have a concrete "skirt" around them at least 3 feet wide that forces people to not plant close to the house. Plus, it keeps rainwater from collecting down into the foundation and makes it possible to easily walk around the house. Then outside of that, there should be a 4-foot buffer, depending on the lot, of pine needle mulch with well-chosen plants that are frequently trimmed. Trees should only be placed either in the middle or on the outer edge of the lot. I prefer trees that don't grow too high, such as dogwoods that are beautiful in the spring tall enough to walk under and be shaded by, but don't grow into huge trees that you have to deal with.
I get my love of Dogwood trees from my Mom, and you know what, she was correct. Evergreen shrubs well designed can create visual barriers and it is important to choose slow-growing varieties and keep them at their ideal height and breadth.
Instead of flower beds, I prefer elevated pots that aren't too big which can be easily moved and watered. This way you can easily care for them and they never get out of control. Plus, you don't have to bend over and grovel on the ground to weed between them.