Picking out the perfect outdoor shade for your home - Lifestyle NZ
Picking out the perfect outdoor shade for your home

Picking out the perfect outdoor shade for your home

Outdoor shades need to provide protection above all, presenting a barrier to the elements as much as an aesthetic asset. The good news is that outdoor shades come in a plethora of styles, sizes, types, and materials.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Indoor shades are often a matter of design over function, but the situation is quite different when it comes to outdoor shelter and shade systems. Outdoor shades need to provide protection above all, providing a barrier to the elements as much as an aesthetic asset. The good news is that outdoor shades come in a plethora of styles, sizes, types and materials. You can easily find a model that suits the specific needs of your home's style and landscape design.

Outdoor shades should minimise or even completely block out the sunlight. Depending on the area you live in, additional protection from wind and rain might be an asset. Also, homes with large windows or glass curtain walls will benefit from some privacy in the form of outdoor blinds or retractable canopies.

With a good set of custom shelter and shade systems, you can turn your patio area into a temporary lounge. Your outdoor & landscaping design can include a shelter all dressed up and designed to keep the heat in during winter and the sun out during summer.

Louvre system allows your outdoor space to be fully opened to the sky

What You Should Know About Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings offer convenient protection that can shade you from the intense sunlight during the day and let you enjoy a starry night later. It's an excellent solution for balconies since this kind of awning allows you to let more light inside. Retractable awnings also feature no posts or poles and can cover a sizable area while leaving all usable space unobstructed.

However, they are not the most affordable investment around, especially if motorised, and they require professional installation. Retractable awnings are primarily intended as protection from the sun, so are not very resistant to enduring harsh conditions like a strong wind, heavy rains, or snow.

Can retractable awnings withstand wind?

Yes, they can withstand winds to a certain limit. It is always a good idea to check for the wind rating. In general, it's advised to keep patio awnings retracted if the wind blows 30 kph or more. Some awnings can withstand wind speed upto 40 kph. As such, they are not built for extreme wind conditions.

How to Install and Maintain Retractable Awnings and Canopies?

Installation should be done professionally, although some manufacturers offer DIY instructions too. Estimating correct ground clearance is vital since you need to know the exact size of the area that needs coverage. Also, a proper, sturdy installation of mounting brackets will minimise wind impact and the possibility of future damage. Then comes the hood, before attaching the assembled awning to the wall.

Regular maintenance means a thorough annual cleaning with a soft brush, and mild soap in lukewarm water. Additionally, it's recommended to rinse your awning down once a month, using a garden hose and clean the underside with a household broom.

A good idea is to keep shrubbery trimmed away, as many varieties contain acid that can damage the fabric. Finally, make sure to regularly check awning frames for rust, as it can cause deterioration of the structure and also lead to fabric stains.

Retractable Fabric Roofs by Louvretec New Zealand

What You Should Know About Gazebos

What is a Gazebo?

A gazebo is a freestanding outdoor covered structure, open on all sides, and can be permanent or portable. Permanent gazebos are commonly made of wood or composite materials, attractively designed to provide aesthetic value to the garden. However, they can also be quite expensive, and the price goes higher with accessories. Portable gazebos, also known as pop-up gazebos and camping shelters, are practical and more affordable but also less attractive than a permanent solution.

How to Install and Maintain Gazebos

A portable gazebo can be installed anywhere, as it only needs to be staked securely in place. A permanent gazebo requires a foundation in the form of a concrete slab or concrete piers. Its structure consists of posts, beams, and a roof with rafters. A square top is the most straightforward option, while the traditional hexagonal or even octagonal roof requires more effort. Some gazebo kits also feature two-tiered roof, cupola, and railing panels.

Maintenance of the gazebo depends on the structure type. Plastic and composite materials require only periodic sweeping and annual cleaning, using warm water and mild soap. Wooden structures also need painting, staining, and specific treatments with a clear waterproof seal.

Pavilion Daybed by Dawson & Co.

What You Should Know About Opening Louvre Roofs

What is a Louvre Roof?

The opening roof over your deck or patio can be an attractive and practical solution, depending on the climate and wind zone you live in. Opening louvred roofs are typically constructed of aluminium or wood, to ensure durability. Blades can be flat underneath when closed or feature a soft curve. It's possible to have a translucent opening roof made of plexiglass that offers natural UV protection while allowing light to flow through.

How to Install and Maintain Opening Louvred Roofs

Before installation, you need to take into consideration the area, as well as additional facilities like supports and frames. Based on your outdoor space orientation, you will decide how the blades will be opening. Manual opening roofs have louvre blades operated by a lever. Automatic opening roofs can be altered with the touch of a button, by remote control or even using an app.

A thorough semi-annual cleaning of the louvre blades is highly recommended. If you live in a coastal area, make it three months. Dry brushing followed by warm water and mild soap will suffice.

Opening Louvre Roofs by Louvretec New Zealand

What You Should Know About Outdoor Blinds

How to choose outdoor blinds?

There are two crucial factors to help you determine which outdoor blinds to choose. Outdoor blinds have a substantial effect on curb appeal and can elevate or ruin the aesthetic of the property. You need to pay attention to design, type and size.

The other factor is the protection of both you and your furniture from harmful UV rays. While PVC material shelters from the wind and rain, it's not the most convenient solution for hot days. Canvas offers excellent UV protection and mesh is the most versatile middle solution.

How to Maintain Outdoor Patio Blinds

Maintenance comprises regular dusting, and occasional cleaning with a soft cloth, cold water, and mild detergent. Avoid harsh chemicals and high-pressure cleaners as those can damage the fabric.

Outdoor Blinds by Shade Elements

What You Should Know About Outdoor Umbrellas

Outdoor umbrellas present the most effortless shading solutions around, plus their design has remarkably evolved. A garden umbrella will provide shade precisely where you want it while adding a touch of flair to your landscape. There are several different kinds of outdoor umbrellas, including sunshades, pagodas, cantilever umbrellas, and special commercial types. Commonly used materials include canvas, vinyl mesh, or even straw or thatch.

How to Install and Maintain Outdoor Umbrellas

Most patio umbrellas measure between 1.5m and 4m in diameter. A pole can be placed into a hole in your outdoor dining table or kept stable by a weighted base. A crank at the top of the shaft allows you to raise or lower the canopy as desired.

Monthly maintenance is recommended, in the form of washing with a mild soap solution and allowing it to dry naturally.

Outdoor Umbrella by Dawson & Co

What You Should Know About Privacy Screens

Affordable and effortless to install, sail screens are an attractive way of protection from both curious eyes and harmful UV rays in the outdoor areas. They come with a variety of options, including different angles, designs and posts. Sail style garden screening makes an attractive, multifunctional lightweight shell around your outdoor spaces.

Bamboo panels make another great solution as privacy and shade screens, best used as freestanding panels or partitions between two gardens. Their sustainable design merges with the environment and can even help to cover an unsightly garden feature. Paired with a liner, bamboo screens provide insulation against heat and cold.

How to Install and Maintain Garden Screening

Sail privacy screens feature a flexible membrane, usually made out of a variety of water-resistant or waterproof fabrics, tightened between several anchor points. Bamboo panels can be tightened to a wall, stretched between two columns, or left freestanding in the areas without strong winds.

Maintenance is easy with a spray cleaning solution. Brush, rinse, and leave to dry naturally.

Composite Screening by Timberline

How to Choose the Right Outdoor Shade?

The answer depends on many factors like your budget, location, and preferences. If you want something comfortable to install and maintain, opt for privacy screens or garden umbrellas. On the other hand, if you prefer an alluring, permanent asset to the landscape, build a gazebo. Alternatively, you can choose retractable awnings that provide freedom of use without occupying the floor area.

Darker coloured fabrics provide glare control and visibility, while the lighter ones are more effective in repelling heat. Certain materials are more efficient in blocking damaging UV rays than others. Finally, if you're not a fan of manual adjustments, go for motorised shades operated by wireless remote control.

If you need help to decide what would make the best outdoor shelter for you, ArchiPro can help you find the right professional for all your requirements and questions. Simply click "Contact supplier" on the product's page or visit the supplier's website directly from the product's page.

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