Shade in the garden is just as important as light – for both people and plants. Summer sunshine is wonderful but we all need protection from too much of a good thing. There are many ways to achieve this – some temporary, some more permanent, but whatever your garden space is like there are a number of solutions.
Parasols are a quick and easy way to have fairly mobile shade, though larger heavier ones require a heavy base which might not be so easy to move. You can choose the colour to match your garden planting or your outdoor decor, whichever you prefer. Whether it be a small ‘tete a tete’ size or family sized you can create a pool of shade wherever you need it. To give more flexibility to how you use the space under the parasol, you can always have a side support rather than the more traditional centre one.
If you have a spot in your garden you particularly love to sit you can take a slightly longer term approach and train climbers or small tree (especially fruit trees) to form a pergola that will provide shade when in full leaf.
Slightly less mobile but not fixed are swing seat, most of which have their own canopy so you can curl up with a good book and a glass of wine for a restful break safe from too much sun, or over enthusiastic breezes.
An arbour with a built in seat is always a favourite, wooden ones with a good supply of weatherproof cushions are comfortable and enhance the garden – you can even grow some plants using it as a support if you don’t intend to move it around.
Sails are almost infinitely flexible and can be used in many place in the garden if you have suitable fixing points. A corner at the bottom of the garden is a perfect place for a shady nook. Again sails come in all sorts of sizes and colours so there is something for every garden.
Modern gazebos and geodomes are perfect for expandable shade – you can always add a sail or two to extend them when required.
If the external walls are suitable, you can add an awning from a simple ‘pull out’ version through to those with built in sensors for light and heat that will open them when needed. More limited in location but an ideal outdoor dining area.
What better shade could there be in the garden than a beautiful tree as both a focal point of your planting and somewhere shady to shelter. Look for interesting leaves, barks and flowers or fruits to really make the most of it.
A pergola can give the most wonderful shady spot depending on how you plant around it. With care you can create a spot that has shade all year round. THey are a more permanent addition to the garden but one that brings rich rewards.
Summer houses are not a cheap option but they can extend your living space dramatically for far less cost than an extension. Many garden sheds are now used as Studios, Bars, Gyms or simple retreats from the hustle of everyday life.
There are many ways to bring a restful, shady area into your garden, something for every budget, so there is no reason not to make the most of your outdoor space even on the hottest of days.