Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Friday, May 22, 2009 9:19 AM EDT
We haven't even had a chance to warm our feeble Canadian bones in the sunlight and already the UV caution is permeating the media. Well I say tan a little! (I did read that something like 15 minutes of direct sunlight will give you some unquantifiable amount of vitamin B12, which would be next to impossible to ingest in any other form.)
Of course, I mean in moderation. And there's nothing worse than direct, scorching sunlight when you don't want it, like lunch time, or when your 15 minutes of B12 is up, or when your little one is happily -- and silently -- playing on a sun skillet, and moving them would mean disturbing the peace but you've no other choice. That's when you want that perfect shade to be there, waiting for you to come to it, OR, for it to come to you.
Shade is serious backyard business. It's not so much a problem on balconies, but larger roof-tops and verandas can take a few cues from today's Top 5 Friday, dealing with my favourite picks for getting some creative, affordable, aspirational, inspiring, and practical shade.
The Classic DIY Pergola
Lowe's Creative Ideas
You may be thinking that this is a little more Don't I Y, but those Lowe's people are pretty convincing that you can indeed make this happen with their help. This pergola is a great starting point for any free-standing shade structure, and can be easily sized up or sized down, embellished with curtains, or dressed up to suit anyone's taste. I love the idea of draping some outdoor fabric on the top -- you can really get creative with this once you've achieved the feat of actually erecting the structure.
The Sail Shade
Photo from Colorado Sail Shade.
I recently got back from Mexico and the resort town I stayed in had these all over the place. They're so airy and fabulous and instantly uncork the feel of tranquility and relaxation. The custom ones can be configured to provide strategic shade at certain times of the day, while leaving a patch of sunlight for those who wish to bask a little. One is great for a small space, while with many, the sky's the limit. Because they're suspended and usually triangular, they're really dynamic and tend not to depress with dense shade like many awnings and overhangs. ShadeSails.com, a company that ships to Canada with very little mark-up on standard shipping (contact them for details), has ready-made kits in five different colours, that range between $150-$400 USD -- worth a look-see!
Out-Of-The-Box Style, Easy on the Wallet
Pergola from Canadian Tire, pictured here in the home of blogger from 2GreenThumbsUp.com.
A fellow blogger got hip to this cause back in 2007, when she posted it on her blog 2GreenThumbsUp. I would imagine that this out-of-the-box vision of comely simplicity requires little more effort that it takes to slap down a credit card -- I mean, how can you go wrong?
UnoPiu lean-to iron pergola, UnoPiu free-standing iron pergola.
I'm not sure if they ship to Canada and I don't care. Nor do I think many of you really care either, as the simplest incarnation of either of these will run you approximately 1, 500 euros. A company clearly out of Italy, these aspirational beauties are reserved for when you build your reward home, or renovate the home that you plan on staying in for the rest of your natural life. If you're going to do it, you may as well do it right. Fine iron, exquisite proportions and classic antique motifs with natural and rustic weaves... I could go on. Really though, they're a great reference for something you can perhaps have made. Check out their site by clicking on the above links -- it's just beautiful!
The Backyard Addition
Aren't you already reeling with ideas? If you really study it, it's basically a large sauna with a vented ceiling, and planter ladders for walls! How pretty, simple and egalitarian -- all you really need is some wood and a really good level... (Ok, I'm sure it will take much more painstaking effort, but it's not the Taj Mahal.) I love it!
And a Little Extra: Dream a Little Dream
Clockwise from the top; Millennium aluminum pergola from Corradi via Trendir.com, the Pergola Sofa from Stardust, wall-mounted umbrella from Hammacher, Kitando sofa and canopy from Exteta.
You thought I got a little out of my league with the Italian iron? Well, this here is the ultimate in shade deluxe. Hey, it's always good to keep abreast what's going on out there in the world of design, and some people are always living it up. I particularly like the entire outdoor family room rolled into one piece of furniture -- the Stardust sofa -- and the wall-mounted patio umbrella. That, I would seriously consider spending money on (the umbrella, not the sofa/room).
What will you do for shade this sunny season? Got photos of you shady dealings? Send them along!