Garden Shade Options
One of the most difficult issues in the garden is shade. Most garden plants prefer sun, however the people enjoying the beauty of a garden seek somewhere cool on a hot Summer day. Unfortunately, few locations offer a sunny garden plot near enough to a shady sitting area for you and your guests to enjoy the garden in comfort. Fortunately however, there are a variety of options for adding a delightfully shady corner to your otherwise sunny garden.
Fabric shade covers are becoming one of the most popular solutions. While permanent shade structures may be desirable in some circumstances, the portability and affordability of good quality shade cloth often makes it the better choice. Even if you intend to add a gazebo or arbor to your garden, you may choose the option of fabric shade, such as a shade sail, until such structure can be completed – or to add additional shady seating when you have family and friends over for a back yard BBQ.
When selecting a shade solution, there are a few things to take into consideration. The first of which is quality. Some awnings and shade sails are made of cheap, flimsy material that will not withstand many summers of intense sun exposure. Be sure to choose fabric that is woven, or knitted for durability. It should be made of a weather resistant material such as polyethylene monofilament, or the equivalent, in order to withstand the intense UV rays in hot summer areas.
The wide variety of shade fabrics available can be confusing. Many of them are designed for plants that require less than full sun, rather than for human comfort. You will see a percentage of UV absorption listed for each type of fabric. These may range anywhere from 20 to 90 percent. The lower the percentage, the less sun they will block. While blocking only 20 or 30 percent of the sunlight may be ideal for garden crops requiring near (but not quite) full sun, they will not provide you and your family a great deal of protection from the heat of summer. When choosing a garden cloth for your own comfort, choose 90 percent UV protection. These fabrics will be extremely dense, providing deep shade for your comfort, while still being breathable enough for raising heat to escape. Be careful to avoid shade fabrics designed specifically for use as crop covers.
Shade Material Weight Considerations
The weight of the shade cloth you select is also important. Choose a material with a bare minimum weight of 5 ounces, preferably up to 10 ounces. Anything less will provide an unsatisfactory level of sun protection, as well as lacking in durability. These heavier weight fabrics are also better able to withstand summer storms. Wind and hail or even heavy rain can easily cause damage to thin fabrics. If you choose a dense, heavy weight fabric it will not only survive stormy conditions better, but it will provide you with a degree of rain protection. Fabric shade is never waterproof, because it must be breathable. However, good quality fabrics can reduce a downpour to some drips and keep you nearly dry in a light, misty rain.
The increasing popularity of fabric shade solutions is mainly attributed to simplicity, effectiveness, and affordability. However, this is also quickly becoming one of the most fashionable ways to add shade to your yard or garden. These fabrics are typically available in a variety of colors to complement your landscape.
You can select your own fabric shade and build a frame for attaching it, however this adds to the expense and removes the option of portability. If you choose this option, be especially careful in your selection of fabric, and remember that you will have to create a durable hem anywhere you have cut it in order to prevent fraying. It is best to install grommets wherever you will secure your fabric to prevent tearing, and attach it in such a way it is easily removable for winter storage.
The Shade Sails Alternative
The ever increasingly popular solution is affordable, easy to install shade sails. These are traditionally seen in triangular shapes, allowing you to create a shady corner anywhere you wish. However, with the growing popularity of shade sails, they are now increasingly available in square or rectangular shapes, allowing you to shade an entire patio or swimming pool.
Canopies are easily available and can be picked up from home improvement stores or ordered online. The price largely depends on the size and the materials used in manufacturing them. Adorn your garden with a canopy and enjoy the safe haven it provides you.