Here in Dominica we are blessed to be surrounded by fresh air, beautiful plants and many other natural wonders from the comfort of our own backyards. Because of our overflow of natural resources within the environment, it would be wise to take advantage of these benefits by investing in outdoor living spaces (porch, balcony, deck, patio, verandah, etc.). One of the few problems faced by homeowners with outdoor space is the direct heat from the sun. Fortunately, this can simply be resolved by installing one of many different shading options available.
A simple, cost effective method that can be implemented is having a large piece(s) of fabric pitched over your outdoor living space. It is important to note that any fabric will not do. Choose a material that is not easily penetrated by water, and ensure that it slopes to allow runoff.
Another cost effective method is having an umbrella(s) set up near your lounging areas or installed as part of your outdoor tables. Like fabric, umbrellas are easy to install. They also provide the benefit of being able to be adjusted based on the direction of the sun for optimized protection.
A lattice is a structure which has strips of wood or metal crossed and fastened together with square or diamond-shaped spaces left between. If your home has a contemporary design a lattice would make an excellent addition. They are often used to support climbing plants, which would help the natural outdoor feeling transcend into your space.
Similar to a lattice, a pergola is a structure that gives shade while providing support for climbing plants. They provide a shaded area with ample breeze for outdoor relaxation when the weather is very hot. For the best results use materials like acrylic trim boards, fiberglass, and strong woods like redwood.
If it structurally possible based on the design of your home, and within your budget, your outdoor space can be an integrated part of your inner home. The roof of the house can extended out without the external walls. If your outdoor space is small this can be easily done, however, the larger the space the more money it will cost, and the more work that would have to be done. But this is one of the most satisfying options.
Instead of going through the hassle of building a structure to provide shade why not use the trees around you. If your yard is surrounded by trees, build your outdoor space in a location where it can benefit from the trees’ shade. If it does not, you can always plant a tree and consider temporary options in the meantime. Deciduous trees which are filled out provide the most shade.
Which of the above shade options do you prefer, and why? Share with us in the comments.