OUTDOOR living is all about relaxation and enjoying your garden in comfortable and pleasant surroundings. To maximise the enjoyment this summer, install temperature control at the usual hot spots like the poolside, on the patio or deck or in the children’s play area.
To keep your sun zones cool when temperatures start to soar, follow these shade-making strategies.
An easy two-weekend project, shade sails are a versatile alternative to patio umbrellas. You can hook these on to steel or wood posts that have been anchored in hefty concrete footings.
For fast relief, use a patio umbrella. When shopping for these, look for products that are also water and mildew resistant.
To benefit from the cooling comforts of a patio umbrella, simply make an excursion to a home supply store. The most versatile models have offset poles that enable you to see the person sitting across the table, and swivel so you can block the sun at any angle. A rolling base adds the convenient option of moving the rig around the garden.
For a balcony or a patio beside the house, the best shade choice would be to have a retractable awning attached to an exterior wall.
Not only will it cool down the area beneath it, but it will also lower the temperature in the adjacent indoor room, thereby reducing air-conditioning costs.
The least expensive models have simple, hand-cranked folding frames, while more sophisticated awnings incorporate motorised panels with tilting mechanisms that allow you to adjust independently both ends of the unit for maximum coverage.
Shade sails consist of knitted, high-density polyethylene fabric panels that block out more than 90% of harmful ultraviolet rays. Sails are advantageous because they are versatile due to the weave, they can be pulled taut, tilted and overlapped in almost any sculptural patterns. Part of the appeal is that they have such a light and airy look.
You can use an open-roofed pergola, which offers shelter without sacrificing outdoor pleasures like cooling breezes and the scent of flowers and freshly mowed lawns.
Endless options enable you to blend the structure with the architecture of your home. Columns of wood or composites rated for structural use are surprisingly easy to install and lend a weighty, traditional look.
As with any garden structure, make sure the posts and beams are rot and bug resistant, and beefy enough to support the weight. Posts should be anchored to a concrete patio or sunk into concrete footings.
For the ultimate long-term solution, there’s nothing like a tree.
An ideal shade tree is high and wide enough to accommodate a table beneath it.
Start small as little nursery trees are less likely to have girdling roots, cost less to buy and are easier to plant, yet they establish quickly and soon will be as large as or larger than older specimens.
And while you are waiting for your trees to grow, you can employ one of the shade strategies listed above.