We have been blessed with some exceptional weather of late so this created the question of 'how to add some shade around the garden' especially when there are no trees close to your seating area. A shaded area, under a pergola, parasol or sail will help you use your garden during the warmer days without being exposed to the damaging UV rays all the time. And when eating alfresco, you can be sure to do so in style. Here are some smart ways to cool down when the sun is up, whatever your budget and garden size.
Pergolas are both practical and decorative, providing support for climbing plants, while giving the garden structure. Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes and can be a DIY project too if you so wish. Depending on the style, you can weave fabric into them or use long thin pieces of wood to create a grilles effect. Alternative, and if you are patient, you can add some climbers (jasmine, ivy) close to the base of your pergola (in the ground or in containers) and allow those to cover the top of your pergola over time, creating a natural cover that will still allow the air and some sun to flow through.
All you need to decide is whether the pergola will be stand alone, away from the house or whether it will be attached to the end of your house, e.g. outside the doors that lead to your garden. If you do attach your pergola to your home you need to remember that it will reduce the amount of light that goes into your living space. If you are thinking of building the pergola yourself, this handy video will help. Pergola kits are available to buy online or you can come up with your own components are the local timber yard.
Available to buy
An alternative to pergolas, shade sails are less permanent and also come in a variety of shapes (rectangle, square, triangle) and colours (white, cream, grey). They still need to be attached somewhere, so you need to decide early on, how close they will be to your house or whether you will use a nearby tree to support one of its sides. They may need a supporting beam (and more expensive types come with their own metal frames, they are also permanently installed).