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Relaxing in the shade

03 March 2012 swimart

Relaxing in the shade

Relaxing in the shade

There's more than one way to beat the sun in our sunburnt country. With the depletion of the atmosphere's ozone layer, seeking shade not only helps our comfort levels, but is also good for our health and enhances outdoor living, making entertainment a pleasure.

Today there are myriad shade options, ranging from umbrellas, shade sails, canopies or shade structures, awnings and nature's own cooling trees. We take a look at what's on offer.

Outdoor umbrellas
A classy umbrella can add a touch of glamour to your poolside and allow you to enjoy the great outdoors for much longer. There's the standard centre post style, plus the newer cantilevered style (side post) which provides great flexibility and convenience. Umbrellas can also be positioned to shade the pool itself – ideal for hot days.

It's also a good idea to invest in a good quality, heavy umbrella base, especially useful on a windy day. You can even get lights fitted just under the canopy for an atmospheric effect. There are even strip lights which can be fitted under certain umbrellas – perfect for the cooler evenings.

And long gone are the limited umbrella shade colour options of forest green, navy blue and cream. Of course you can still get these colours if classic and traditional styles are your preference, or you can explore the variety that's now available

Did you know that the collapsible (or folding) umbrella originated from China in the year 21 A.D.? And most umbrellas these days are made in China. The city of Shangyu alone has more than 1000 umbrella factories. In the US, about 33 million umbrellas, worth $348 million, are sold each year. Eat your heart out Mary Poppins!



Shade sails
Shade sails are sail-shaped sections of durable fabric that provide flexible protection from the sun and wind. Able to cover significant outdoor areas and more cost effective than gazebos, patio covers, and pergolas, they demand little maintenance and are very durable. They can provide up to 95% UV protection whilst having the capacity to breathe to allow hot air to flow out. They’re also unobtrusive and visual, so no need to fret about installing an eyesore in your yard.

Canopies and shade structures
The permanent solution to a shady problem, the shade structure or canopy has been a common fixture in public spaces including parks, public swimming pools, schools, and childcare facilities for years, but has now been making an appearance in our backyards. Similar to a pergola, the structure can be installed as an extension of the home, over a portion of the pool, or alongside the pool like a gazebo. An alloy frame, often with clear canopy material, this is the most durable of the options.

Folding awning
Folding awnings offer a convenient, adjustable level of shade. When not in use, they can be easily folded away with either a crank handle or an electric remote control. And they’re extendable up to around three to four metres. Café style plastic drops also offer an option to enclose outdoor areas when it gets too windy.

Mother Nature’s solution
Plant trees on the south side of the pool for a natural cooling effect. They also enhance the look of the garden and pool area and offer lovely dappled shade. Just be careful to avoid shading the whole pool area – and don’t plant too close to the pool or you’ll end up with a lot of leaves in the pool. And finally, don’t forget your protective clothing and sunscreen while enjoying the great outdoors!

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