The time between May and September is when kids of all ages come out to play outside the house. Some kids engage in sports or physical activities in the porch, patio or yard areas. Other kids get to indulge in a home pool where they can invite all their friends over. These outdoor activities share the problem of too much sun light, which has both a near term and a longer term health risk.
The immediate consequences of excess sunlight is the classic sun burn that happens on the shoulder, arms, neck and other exposed areas of skin. The long term consequences of too much sun has been shown rather convincingly to result in increased risk for skin-related cancers. Both of these are preventable problems.
Part of the answer lies in ensuring adequate cover such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, or sun block. However, another method is to install patio shades for the house. These exterior patio shades are fixed and permanent, for the times when the kids just forget to put on the hat or sun block. Outdoor shades have another benefit in that they add value to the home.
Common indoor shades are bamboo roll up blinds for the window. There are basically three types of outdoor shades: the canopy, the awning, and the pergola. All three will be discussed here.
A canopy is a structure constructed like a tent. The archetypal layout is a large self-supported steel scaffold sheathed in a large section of shade fabric. The shade fabric almost always covers the roofing to block out direct sunlight but the walls are optional, a decision that hinges on whether a canopy owner would like to give up some privacy for good circulation. These can also be placed on an uncovered patio where it becomes known as a deck canopy.
Awnings are exterior shades that are attached to a building structure, the installation point usually being atop a door or a window. In contrast to retail establishment awnings, the ones for houses are built for entertainment and comfort of customers. The most recent kind is the retractable model.
A pergola is simple exterior shade made of wood that stands on four or more posts in a rectangular configuration. Instead of supporting shade cloth, it holds wood bars that give partial shading and some sunlight. A related outdoor shade to the pergola is the garden arbor. The arbor is smaller in size, much simpler in construction, but cannot shade many people at once. In recent times it’s largely a decorative element of the garden.