Some of the best things about spring and summer are the abundance of beautiful weather, the ability to grow things, ample opportunities for outdoor barbecues, parties, and other forms of open-air entertainment, and the ability to enjoy nature is all of its glory.
As a garden designer, I revel in creating areas that can be enjoyed any time of year. However, abundant sun can be a deterrence for many people who may suffer from skin conditions and other medical problems. So, in additional to shading plants, I generally recommend using sun protection in the form of shade sails.
Shade sails are basically overhead covers or canopies made from sail fabric, which are anchored on several sides to rail supports and hooking mechanisms. The flexible but breathable cloth provides instant, cooling shade. Shade cloth also provides necessary UV protection because the cloth is treated with inhibitors.
The sails come in several shapes: square, rectangle and square. There are a variety of sizes available as well, starting from 5 to 20 feet depending on the size of the area you’d like to cover. You can purchased shade sails at home improvement stores if you want to install a system yourself. However, if you’re not the D.I.Y. type, there are many suppliers available who can create custom sails and install them for you (but be forewarned that they can be a bit costly). Shade sails also come in a wide variety of color. To help lower temperatures under shade sails, I recommend lighter colors (but dark colors tend to help reduce glare from sun’s rays).
One thing that makes shade sails a great option is their versatility. They can easily be moved or taken down if necessary (strong winds or other serious weather conditions can be a problem). And although shade sails are usually over patios and decks, they can be placed over any other area, making it a more hospitable place for enjoying a small slice of the great outdoors.