Top News

Pergola perfect Good shade alternatives important consideration when designing your backyard getaway

A stand-alone pergola offers a shady retreat for dining and entertainment all summer long.
A stand-alone pergola offers a shady retreat for dining and entertainment all summer long. - Contributed

Q and A with Debbie Travis

Dear Debbie;

We like to eat outside but the summer’s direct sun is too hot. What is a cost-efficient way to add shade to our backyard? We have tried sun umbrellas but they aren’t so good in the wind. Thank you.

~ Denise

Dear Denise;

Good shade alternatives are an important consideration when designing your backyard getaway. A sun umbrella is the most inexpensive option and works for blocking sun rays and light rain. However, it is not the versatile solution you are looking for. A retractable awning has similar drawbacks; when open it offers shade, but being attached to the house, it is not practical for a large deck.

Why not look at pergolas? These are permanent structures that are available in many styles and sizes. You decide how much space you want to cover and what type of canopy — metal or cloth.

Pergolas such as New England Arbors’ eden malibu pergola can be set up away from the house, giving you the freedom to plan a seating area surrounded by nature. It can also be installed on a wood deck or patio. The canvas canopy is retractable as are the canvas side panels, managed by pull strings. For the look of wood without the maintenance, these pergolas are made with high-grade vinyl wrapped around traditional structural elements.

When choosing outdoor awnings and canvas for pergolas, look for high-quality outdoor fabric. Sunbrella manufactures excellent weather-resistant fabrics that block most UV rays, are resistant to mould and mildew, durable and easy to clean.

Sun Louvre pergolas are a strong, custom option. This bioclimatic system built with high-quality aluminum provides natural ventilation, keeps out rain and lets you control how much sun with mechanical louvres that open and close manually. You choose the design, size and colour (black, white, brown, grey, sable). Once installed, either attached to the house or erected on its own, you do not need to take the canopy down in the winter/snowy months. Simply lock the louvres in the vertical position.

I always suggest talking to your local professional about what system suits you and your budget the best. Matching up sun and shade products with your local weather conditions plays a big role in how you can benefit from outdoor living.

Dear Debbie;

Years ago, I textured the walls in my small bathroom following your instructions and painted with a shade of grey that looked fantastic. I want to repeat the process but the paint brand is no longer available. How can I get a good colour match? Thank you for inspiring me and bringing colour to the world.

~ Alison

Dear Alison;

There are paint matching machines at most quality paint stores that will be able to help you to recreate the shade you love. Note that the colour that you applied originally to your wall may have faded, and colours appear to have slightly different shades on a textured surface rather than a flat wall. There is a huge selection of greys from which to choose. Your local paint store will be able to help and you can purchase a small amount of the paint as an experiment. Paint dries slightly lighter than when wet, so wait for a few hours before you decide. You should be able to replicate the look as closely as possible, and I am sure you will be happy with the new results. Doing it yourself is always exciting and satisfying.

Recent Stories