5 Ways to Make Shade: Covered Decks and Patios for the Sun Shy
Everyone knows we need to stay out of the sun to avoid skin cancer. Or do we need to get more sunshine exposure to increase our vitamin D? Huh. Confused yet? Either way, it’s a good idea to create an area of shade in your backyard. A spot for relaxation, entertainment and maybe even a nap – shade is essential.
1. Take a look at your yard. Unless you’re planning a full deck or patio reno, you will likely have to create shade out the structures and hard landscaping that you already have. Some situations are easier than others.
2. Pre-fab shade. If you have a wide open, fairly flat patio space you can purchase a pre-fab shade structure (often called a patio cover). They come in lots of different sizes and designs, as well as a variety of price tags. Look around in the spring and you’ll probably snag a deal. Be sure that you have a method to secure the cover to your patio – either permanently or temporarily. You don’t want the wind picking it up and throwing it into the neighbor’s yard now, do you now?
3. Work with what you’ve got. Pergolas and other permanent structures can be built into existing patios. Pergolas offer filtered shade, but vines and plants can be grown up and around them creating more solid coverage. Lanais or roofs can be installed on columns or posts anywhere on your yard. Think of it like a park pavilion in small scale and place it wherever you like.
4. Awnings are another option. Retractable and available in plenty of different styles and colors, awnings lend a classic look to your patio. Beware – they tend to be fairly expensive and will need some maintenance as well as muscle to crank out time after time.
5. Fabric sails can be hung or stretched across your patio too. From the house to a post or between columns, fabric sails provide easy, economical shade that only has to be brought in once the weather turns drastically. They are made to handle plenty of wind and rain, but you don’t want to leave them out in the freezing temperatures and snow of winter.
Use your imagination, work with your yard and add some shade. Get a table and chairs for lounging and throw in a few friends as well. Soon you will all be “made in the shade.”