Shade…

Our patio/courtyard is a work in progress.  So far we have the grill, lounge furniture, dining chairs, and one art feature (the kinetic art sculpture).  Still on the To Do List – dining table, water feature, maybe additional art, TV, music, ambient lighting, and shade.

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It might seem like an odd time of year to be worrying about shade on our patio.  Well… the other day I was watching Bang For Your Buck on HGTV.  They were featuring some beautiful outdoor spaces. Vern Yip said something about spaces not getting used unless there is adequate shade. It hit home.  We have been talking about getting some shade back there for awhile now – over 2 years I think.  Things became sort of stagnant because our options seemed to have fizzled out early this summer.

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I initially thought I had made up my mind – these shade sails caught my eye…

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Last year I contacted the shade sail company with every intent on getting some quick shade.   The advantages – totally cool looking.  The disadvantages – has to be taken down for the winter and reinstalled in the spring; not retractable so limits the light coming into my office area and mudroom; possible weird drainage issues; possible damage to the structure of our house or garage due to the high tension needed for installation.  So, you can see for us that the disadvantages outweighed the advantages.  Sadly, I had to let go of the shade sail idea – and my idea for a quick shade fix.

We currently have an old umbrella that works with the existing dining table. It is nice shade for the table.  Early this summer, we thought about just getting another umbrella for the seating area.  I ended up scraping that idea pretty quickly – takes up a lot of floor space and doesn’t provide enough shade for the seating area.  I am looking for something a bit more contemporary looking too.

Tad liked the idea of a retractable, motorized awning.  I wasn’t sure it fit the style I was going for.  Most importantly though it didn’t seem flexible enough – it didn’t provide coverage for the entire patio.

Our dilemma – wanting shade but not really liking the available options…

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Then, I stumbled upon a picture of a retractable roman type shade cover on Houzz.  The panel slides on cables strung across the patio (between the house and garage in our case).  Perfect!  Looks cool – fits in with the design style I am going for.  It’s retractable so won’t interfere with the natural light in my office area.   Doesn’t sound like there would be any risk of serious damage to the house or garage. Flexible – can be moved to provide shade to the different areas of the patio depending on where the sun is.  The only disadvantage is that it happens to be a bit pricey.  I have checked out the DIY options thinking maybe I could do it myself but it hasn’t worked out for a variety of reasons – fabric not really what I want, custom sizes not available, can’t get the sales people to call me back (maddening), etc…

Over the weekend, I decided that Vern Yip is right – life is too short to not enjoy the great outdoors (that’s not a quote – he didn’t really say it like that)!  So, I spent some time laying out the proposed panels and decided that three panels will work just fine rather than the proposed four – and brings the price within my budget.  Final results to be posted in 2-3 weeks…

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