Being able to provide shade from the hot summer sun is essential to use an outdoor space for long periods of time. There are many options, with various price ranges. Below are a few ideas starting with more cost effective solutions:
Portable umbrellas that can be fixed into concrete paving/slabs. Instant shade umbrellas are a neat solution and take up little room when not in use.
Mature trees are always a favourite as long as you have adequate soil capacity. Deciduous specimens will provide summer shade and winter sun, plus the advantage of having a natural canopy can really help soften and cool a space.
Retractable fabric awnings are also a popular solution, there are two main types:
Folding arm awning that can be retro-fitted to masonry walls (think of the old style café awnings). Many fabric colours to choose from, quick tip – darker colours are easier to clean and will absorb the heat well.
Fabric tensioned on guide wire. Outrigger awnings offer a wide range of solutions to choose from.
There are also retractable weather proof structures now available, for example the ‘Corradi’ system.
Permanent structures such as:
Open timber pergolas present great opportunities to grow a climber over the top. A very classic approach.
Alternatively for more contemporary designs we are seeing weather-proof structures with fixed ceilings, fitted with down lights and speakers.