Guest Blogger: 7 Ways to Shade Your Outdoor Living Space
Guest Blogger #613, Entry #1453, August 9, 2012
You won’t spend much time enjoying the fresh air in the heat of summer if your outdoor living area is missing one vital component: shade! Here are 7 ways to shield your patio or deck from those scorching UV rays.
#1 Build to Block
Building an awning over your outdoor living space is the most permanent solution to your shade deficit. A roof extension supported by brick columns that match your home’s façade would look fantastic. A corrugated aluminum awning supported by wooden or metal posts will do if your budget is tight. Avoid plastic awnings that will fade and crack.
#2 Roll with It
A retractable awning provides flexibility and adds a touch of whimsy to your home’s exterior with bold, striped prints. High quality outdoor fabrics are resistant to wind, rain, and UV. Still, you should retract the awning when it’s not in use to extend its lifespan. Since both hand cranked and motorized awnings have moving parts, consider having yours professionally installed and serviced.
#3 GIY (Grow It Yourself)
A tree with spreading limbs and thick foliage delivers sun blocking service the way Nature intended. Plant a fast growing cultivar such as the Freeman maple and wait for it to grow. Or, simply build your deck or patio under an existing tree. Avoid species that drop fruit and debris. A Sissoo tree (Indian Rosewood) is an example of a species that offers maximum shade with minimum mess.
#4 Hardscape Your Habitat
A pergola is a classic hardscape shade structure that consists of four wooden columns topped with some form of latticework. If the open spaces let in too much sun, plant a fast-growing vine to fill in the gaps. Honeysuckle is a favorite with luscious green leaves and fragrant, nectar filled blossoms. If you’re allergic to bees, choose a less tempting vine like ivy instead.
#5 Fabricated Shade
A canopy or sun sail adds both tropical color and temperate shade to your outdoor living space. These textile shades are lightweight and simple enough for a DIY install. Since they are generally very inexpensive, you might invest in several. Put one over your porch and a second one over your child’s pool or sandbox.
#6 Parasol Paradise
Portability is the watchword of the sun umbrella. Don’t limit yourself to an umbrella that’s anchored in a patio table. Pick one with a sturdy, freestanding base. That way, you can move it around to block the sun’s rays based on the time of day…or the time of year.
#7 Gadget Hideaways
It’s not just people that need sun protection. If you have outdoor electronics such as a flat screen TV, this type of item could use some extra UV shielding as well. You can instantly shade your television by lowering it inside a cabinet, island, or outdoor kitchen countertop. Simply install it on an automated TV lift and watch it drop into cool darkness at the push of a button.
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