Pergolas and Shade Structures - Different Ways to Cover your Patio

Pergolas and Shade Structures - Different Ways to Cover your Patio

Who doesn’t love that barefoot inside-outside lifestyle where you don’t have to wear slippers or shoes as you take your coffee outdoors to marvel at your wondrous landscape? A connected patio or porch to your home makes this a possibility.

However, when it’s too warm or raining, all dreams of hanging out with a good book and a cup of cocoa are typically set aside for sunny days. Fortunately, it’s easy to remedy these with different types of shades and patio covers. Taking into consideration the style, the solar orientation as well as your budget, several options can be explored on how to provide shade to your patio.

1. Patio Umbrellas - A cost-efficient, temporary, and quick way to provide shade and protection. Whether you’re with girlfriends gossiping over the trending celebrity news, or having morning coffee with your partner, or having tea by yourself in the afternoon, getting a patio umbrella is the easiest way to shield from the sunrays. The wide range of colors, patterns, and different sizes available means you can find the one that suits your taste.

Some outdoor tables already come pre-drilled with a hole for parasols, but patio umbrellas with stands are advantageous so you can move it around anytime the sun changes position. Choose umbrellas that tilt to a specific angle. With larger and heavier umbrellas, choose those with a lever and crank mechanism to make it easier for you to open with less effort whenever you need it.

Most umbrella poles are either made of wood or aluminum, which is just a matter of preference. As for the fabric, look for those that are fade, water, mold, and mildew resistant, has UV protection and is easy to clean as well as maintain.

2. Pergolas - Now, if you want a sturdier and more attractive patio cover, you can opt for a pergola. Pergolas can either be permanent structures that extend from the exterior wall of your house and supported with two or more posts or freestanding pergolas that can be an added decorative element to your garden. If these are not an existing part of your house and you plan on building it, you may need to check with your local authorities if you need to secure a building permit.

While the traditional pergola consists of trellises or cross beams, pergolas now come in different styles and are made of different materials. It can be covered with acrylic, fiberglass, or a canopy to offer protection. Woody vines can trail through and even beautiful flowers or herbs that will leave your patio scented.

3. Shade Sails - If building a pergola is too much for you to handle, you might want to consider shade sails. Shade Sails are made of synthetic fabric, commonly known as HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene. However, it doesn't resemble a plastic fabric because of its knitted weaves.

It is said to block about 95% of UV rays. Shade sails are temporary tensile structures installed using hooks and timber or steel posts. It is moisture-resistant and will add a layer of protection for you and your outdoor furniture in harsh environments

4. Canvas Shade - Another idea is to use canvas shade. Similar to shade sails, it can be attached using hooks. It uses wires that can be retracted on a pulley when the shade is needed. It can quickly be taken off and folded away when not in use. There are other material options for canvas shades, such as bamboo.

5. Temporary Canopy - Another temporary structure is a canopy with four posts. Install it over the furniture to protect from harsh rays of the sun and from getting drenched by rain.

6. Large Tree - Don’t forget that nature can do its part as well. Trees with large leaf canopies can make your patio cooler during hot days, as well as provide you a source of greenery. Deciduous trees are best for providing shade. The downside is that it takes so long to grow a large tree. If you still want to push through with this idea, incorporate it into your landscape design and let nature take its course, allowing it to grow over time.

7. Curtains - If you already have an existing pergola, you can attach a curtain rod or wire mechanism for curtains. White outdoor pergola curtains softly flowing through the gentle breeze is an ideal picture of a perfect summer.

8. Permanent Structure - If the budget allows it, consider a patio cover that is a permanent part of your house, one that extends your roof to cover your patio. While this may be a costly investment, it’s something you want to consider if you frequently hang outside. Parties and intimate, personal moments will be more enjoyable if you know that you are well protected and covered come rain or shine.

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