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Made in the shade: 4 ways to add backyard sun protection

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Made in the shade: 4 ways to add backyard sun protection

By: Darla Grant-Braid

Come rain or come shine, there’s one thing that every backyard needs and that’s shade. Whether lounging, BBQing, or gardening, a shade element is necessary to ensure your comfort and make it possible for extended enjoyment of your outdoor space. Shade elements come in all shapes, sizes and price points. Here are a few options:

Umbrellas

The classic patio umbrella has been a staple in backyards for generations. While the designs may have changed over the years, at its heart, this traditional shade element remains the same.

Whether supported by a center post or an offset design, patio umbrellas are a low-cost way to add colour and shade to your outdoor living space.

Additionally, they can be easily moved from place to place, and also offer excellent protection from the rain. Their relatively small size means that they are easier to store in the off-season than some other options.

Cons: Can be dislodged by wind, minimal coverage.

This option does not require professional installation.

Portable Gazebo

Portable backyard gazebos have been a popular option for the past decade. They provide more coverage than umbrellas, typically enough to shelter an entire dining or lounging area.

Many of these portable gazebos also allow the option of insect protection, via screens. While costlier than umbrellas, the wide range of styles and construction materials make this an affordable option for most homeowners.

At the lower end of the price spectrum, there are gazebos that are either freestanding or meant to be held in place on grass through ground stakes, while at the higher end, there exist gazebos with sturdier frames, intended to be bolted to a hard surface.

Cons: Certain models may be unable to withstand storms without incurring damage. Some models must be stored over winter or may run the risk of rusting.

This option may require professional installation.

Pergola

A pergola is an architectural feature, traditionally constructed as a garden archway. In recent years, these wooden structures have gone from acting as simple archways to becoming the focal point on decks and patios.

The pergola is typically a frame, consisting of posts and crossbeams. This means that the “ceiling” is primarily open and will not provide complete sun protection. The shade provided by your pergola is determined by the size and spacing of the crossbeams. Although sun protection can be extended by adding canvas or other fabric to the beams.

Cons: Pergolas can be expensive to install, may require a building permit, and does not provide complete sun protection.

This option requires professional installation.

Awning

An awning is fabric stretched over a metal frame that is attached to the over, over a window or door. They can be fixed or retractable.

In addition to providing limited sun protection in the outdoor living space, awnings can have an impact within the home as well. Their position above a window of glass door means that they can help reduce a room’s internal temperature and also protect furnishings from the impact of direct sunlight.

If your awning is positioned over your grill or outdoor kitchen, they can allow for more comfortable outdoor cooking in both sun and rain.

Cons: Retractable models can be expensive, may be susceptible to wind damage if not retracted, may be prone to mold and mildew if not cleaned.

This option may require professional installation.

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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