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A Sheltered Life

As we move into summer months, its typical for Cantabrians to migrate outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. Its hard to beat the relaxed atmosphere of dining outside, kids playing in the backyard and a spot of leisurely gardening after the lawns have been freshly mowed.

To ensure our outdoor living spaces are pleasant in summer, a shade structure is often a key element. The best time to consider how shade can be integrated into your outdoor space is when the area is being designed. There are plenty of great options to consider if you are planning to create a shady retreat or respite from the summer sun.

A few options include:

Louvre Roofs:

Louvre roofs are a comparatively recent product that offer good control over shade your to your outdoor space. At the touch of a button an automated louvre can both rotate or retract to allow as much sun or shade as you require in the moment. The overhead structure of the louvre blades and frame also create the feel of a genuine outdoor room. With the blades closed you also have a degree of protection from rain and weather protection to your outdoor furniture.


All too often timber pergolas have been tacked onto the side of a house with little thought to scale, and construction materials. However, with good design a pergola can create fixed shade that compliments the architecture of the home. The shade offered can be determined by the spacing of timber slats on the roof of the pergola frame. The overall effect can be softened by a well chosen climber that can form a vegetated green roof.


Umbrellas can be both permanent or occasional, depending on the how you use your space. A key to umbrella selection is first to consider the quality of the product you chose. The old saying applies ‘You only get what you pay for’. Top quality product will rotate to ensure you are creating shade where you need it. This can be hard to achieve as the sun moves throughout the day. Also consider how your umbrella will handle Canterbury winds.

Shade Trees:

A well selected and positioned tree will create dappled or full shade at a minimum of cost. Again selection is the key and you will need to consider if an evergreen or deciduous specimen best suits your needs. An evergreen may block precious winter sun.

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