When it finally stops snowing in Michigan, no, seriously; one of the more enjoyable experiences is just sitting outside, maybe doing some grilling, and listening to the birds. In the thick of summer, though, the sun can really be unbearable at times. If you are looking to upgrade your outdoor space with a new patio (or updating the patio you have), you should definitely make shade a part of the plan.
Sure, some people like to lay in the sun and soak up the rays. They would do it all day if you let them. Most of us, it's safe to say, prefer to find some shade when the mercury rises. By integrating shade into your patio plans, and even other parts of your yard, you can make summer more enjoyable for the whole family. In this post, we are going to look at a few different options for creating shade in your yard.
Trees for Shade
Mother Nature really knew what she was doing with all this tree business. In addition to giving us all of that wonderful oxygen, trees are a natural go-to for shade. Shade trees, like the American elm, for example, are grown primarily for their ability to cast shade. Flowers or fruit are usually an afterthought. In Michigan, trees like elms, maples, and oaks are popular shade tree options, because they have larger leaves and thick branches. Since trees literally take decades to grow large enough to provide ample shade, you might want to have some other options on hand until your trees mature.
Pergolas for Shade
Most pergolas you see look like a very poor choice for providing shade. Pergolas, in a nutshell, are just frames with overhead beams, which don't really provide much shade. From their inception, though, pergolas were supposed to be paired with a removable sun shade that was draped across those overhead beams. The sun shade, then, could be removed and washed, then put back out again as needed. On occasion, you'll see some homeowners use pergolas for crawling vines. Like trees, this takes quite some time to mature and fill in, but it really is an attractive way to offer shade for a patio when it is all filled in.
Gazebos for Shade
As pergolas are often set near the home and over patio pavers, gazebos are stand-alone units set away from the home. They feature open walls and a solid roof. Originally, gazebos were completely constructed from wood. In time, however, gazebos with bases of concrete or brick pavers that match nearby patios have become increasingly popular. For the most part, gazebos feature arched openings that allow for a full view of the yard, as well as creating opportunities for cross breezes. One popular option is to have the openings on a gazebo fitted for removable bug screening, so you can keep those pests at bay.
Umbrellas for Shade
If you haven't looked at patio umbrellas in a few years, you might actually be surprised at the options that exist now. Instead of being relegated to a hole in the middle of a patio table, contemporary patio umbrellas are available in a great range of shapes, sizes, and designs. For instance, some umbrellas make use of a cantilever system that creates an umbrella canopy, which actually hovers from an arm above the umbrella, rather than being supported by an arm below it. Situated on a weighted base, you can simply use a rolling crank to open or close these umbrellas.
Retractable Awnings for Shade
If you have an exposed porch or walk-out basement patio, a retractable awning is another solid choice in a shade provider. Whether you are looking for protection from the sun or from rain, you simply crank the handle and the whole frame and fabric of the awning expands to cover your space.
It's worth noting that retractable awnings come with a wide variety of fabric options. For instance, would you prefer a lighter material that allows a good amount of light to pass through? Or would you prefer a full-SPF shade that keeps all of the suns rays out. A reputable retractable awning company will be able to work with you in deciding which fabric works best for your patio.
When it comes to making patio plans, you'll want to keep your shade options in mind. Being able to get out of the sun when you need to is a great way to make the summer season all the more enjoyable. From trees to retractable awnings and everything in between, keep your eyes open for opportunities to create shade where you want or need it.
If you have a patio project in mind, trust E.P.M. Lawnscape and Supply to help you through the process from start to finish. To get started, give us a call at (517) 990-0110 or contact us online today!