Patio Shade Cloth – Inexpensive and Efficient Materials

When the hot summer sun is beating down, shade is one of the most valuable commodities for outdoor living.  The comfort that a patio shade cloth can bring to you and your family can make an amazing difference in how much time you spend out enjoying your backyard instead of being stuck inside hugging the air conditioner.

Better yet, you can achieve this rather inexpensively. The types of products used for patio shading can be very lightweight indeed, which means they don’t use a lot of materials. Patio shade sails for instance are often not much more than a triangle of woven material, somewhat like a tarp, that is connected to supports using fasteners and cables. This type of setup can shade a rather large area for only a few dollars investment.

Outdoor Shade Cloth Fabric

The types of fabrics used in patio shading applications can vary quite a bit.  Most are lightweight fabrics which are not completely opaque.  This allows the light in, but diffused enough that it isn’t harsh on your skin or eyes.  Also a benefit of these lightweight fabrics is that they allow hot air to rise, rather than having it trapped or radiated downwards like with aluminum or wood patio covers.

Sometimes heavier knitted materials can be used, which gives a less uniform shade.  Small patterns of light and dark emerge, and this can give a more natural feel to the shade.  If you’ve ever been under a shade tree, you know how the leaves often have gaps where spots of sunlight can make their way through the tree canopy.  These make for interesting patterns of shadow, and can be mimicked somewhat by the way the shade cloth is woven.

In a pinch, you can just string up a tarp for shading.  This is something that you often see at swap meets and flea markets.  The booths there need shading, but they also need to be imminently portable.  Tying a tarp to a few posts can give the cooling comfort necessary, for only a few dollars and about 5 minutes of setup time.

More Substantial Patio Shade Structures

Patio Shade Sail by Coolaroo

Sometimes you need a more permanent patio cover.  Whether it’s for providing shade, or simply to use as a raised trellis for your ornamental plants, pergolas make a great addition to your patio.  Pergolas are also very flexible shade structures that give you a lot of room for customization of the look and feel of your yard.  Between modifying the spacing and slant of the slats that make up the top deck, you can adjust the amount and timing of shade to suit your purposes.

Awnings are another type of structure you can use on your deck or patio.  They are more similar to shade cloths in that they tend to be made of lightweight fabrics stretched over a frame.  These are often attached to the side of the house, and can be retractable as well.  Stand-alone awnings are available too though, and often are portable and fold up for when they aren’t in use.

Another type of sun shade that you can add to your patio is a gazebo canopy.  With a lightweight fabric top, often made of canvas, gazebo canopies bring a very stylish look to your landscaping and home.  Those with heavy duty materials such as aluminum roofs can also be used as outdoor kitchens.  Installing your grill or even a firepit under an aluminum gazebo can make for a lot of great times enjoying the outdoors.

Functional Shade Sails for Your Garden

People aren’t the only living things that benefit from shade.  Many plants can have a difficult time with full sunlight, and especially in newer gardens it can be difficult to find adequate shading for their needs.  Shade cloths are thus one of the gardener’s secret tools.  Everyone knows about hoes, rakes, and spades, but not everyone realizes just how important shade can be.

This is especially true for nurseries where you grow seedlings.  A greenhouse shade cloth is a standard accessory for those growing plants indoors.  With the ability to retract the shade cloth, or even double it up to block more sunlight than just on it’s own, the gardener can to set the amount of sunlight the new plants receive very precisely.

This means that you will have healthier transplants when it comes time to move them out to the garden.  This will help out with production of vegetables, as well as help mitigate the damaging effects of insect pests.  Strong seedlings can get established faster, and thus be in better shape to handle the damage those insects dish out.

Shade Cloth Manufacturers

With how simple patio shade cloths are, it may seem silly to worry about the manufacturer.  There are some good reasons to do so though.  For one, the shade cloth is going to be taking the full brunt of the sun’s energy.  That is, after all, the point is it not?  Well, the ultraviolet rays in sunlight aren’t just damaging to your skin, but can also damage fabrics as well.

That means that having properly treated cloth for your patio shade is very important.  Having UV protection can make the difference between the shade sail lasting years and years, or only making it through one summer.  Over time this can make for a big difference in cost, and so you shouldn’t skimp to just get the cheapest material you can find.

Coolaroo shade cloth is well regarded, and not much more expensive than the no-name brands. Aluminet is another great choice for shade cloths. Going with a name-brand known for quality will ensure that you have the right amount of shade when you need it, and won’t have to spend a lot on repairs or replacements over the years.  Certainly a worthwhile investment!