The summer is approaching fast bringing with it warm weather, humidity, and lots of sunshine. While a deck or a patio is ideal for spending time outside and enjoying summer activities, it is important to think about having ample shade to comfortably entertain guests and prevent excessive sun exposure for your family.
“Now is a great time to think about outdoor improvements to get prepared for summer cookouts with friends and family. Consider deck shading options such as pergolas, gazebos and covered pavilions,” says Andy Merz, from Frontier Deck Builders, Inc.
Pergolas, or framed open-roof structures, are a popular choice and can be built to match the style of the deck; thus seamlessly blending into the landscape. The roof can then be fully or partially covered by vines, fabric, or any other material.
Strategically placing a gazebo or an open-wall pavilion on one’s deck or patio can also provide desired shading. “For homeowners who are concerned about maintaining a consistent look throughout their property, pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions are a better choice over canopy awnings,” points out Merz.
These options are more functional than awnings, which are limited in both design and functionality because they attach to the side of the house, leaving minimal choice by way of location and materials. Merz adds that canopies are also less functional as they might not always fit in with one’s overall landscape, because certain features cannot be customized.
Another effective and creative way to protect any outdoor space from excessive sunlight is by using shade sails. These large sheets of thick fabric, tensioned across several anchors, can shade decks, patios, yards, and even pools. Natural or artificial support points are required for installation.
“You might not have enough space or simply might not want to install any bulky shading constructions. In this case, we suggest using temporary portable solutions to block the dangerous rays,” mentions Merz.
Such solutions include table umbrellas, portable tents, canopies, large plants, or trees. Trees can be strategically planted around the yard to provide necessary shade. Many plants, as well as young palm trees and some evergreens, can also be grown in planters and positioned on the deck where shade is desired.
“Having replaced quite a few decks, I can tell you that lots of sun can harm not just people, but their outdoor structures as well,” points out Merz. Bright sun fades and dries wood, making it more likely to retain water and rot. And just like people use sunscreen, wooden decks can be protected by applying a finish with UV inhibitors.
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