“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” —Jane Austen
Well said, Ms. Austen. But in an area drenched with sunshine, the right amount of shade can be hard to find.
To control your outdoor environment (and improve your indoor environment) try patios and patio covers. You can bring abundant shade right where you want it. And it’s a smart move.
The Ground Floor
Let’s spend only a moment on patios. Your landscape construction and landscape design professionals can show you a variety of products and approaches to create a gorgeous patio: pavers, stamped or etched concrete, decorative gravel, walls. Your budget can probably accommodate more than you think. The patio literally is the ground floor. Let’s look overhead.
Weatherproof or Airy?
A patio cover can be a solid cover, protecting you from sun and rain, or a partial cover. Pergolas and lattices offer an airy feeling, yet still block the sun’s rays when they are strongest. And that’s the key.
As much as we love sunshine, it takes its toll from everything it touches. What difference can a patio cover make?
Indirect shade – Creating shade right next to your home can stop the sun from streaming through your doors and windows, preventing damage to your home’s interior. Another benefit is that you can continue to let glorious light into your favorite rooms. There’s no need to close yourself off from the outdoors. You just want to give the sun a different place to stop. The patio cover can also prevent sun damage to your outdoor furniture.
Cooler feeling – The sun’s radiation causes it to feel 10-15 degrees warmer when you’re in direct sunlight. The canopy of a patio cover won’t change the temperature, but it certainly will change the feeling. Add an outdoor fan or a natural breeze, and you’ll be that much more comfortable.
Curb appeal – Imagine visiting a home and finding the living space spilling right out the back door onto a covered patio. Comfortable chairs, sofas, and tables rest on a large outdoor rug. Cunningly placed speakers unobtrusively play your favorite music. A variety of eye-catching, drought-tolerant plantings create an enviable oasis that feels like a natural extension of the home.
What you’re about to create can look like this, or it can be simpler. It may be even much more elaborate. The important thing is that you can relive the feeling you had during your visit every time you’re at home. And your guests can experience it when they visit you.
A gentle transition – We’re all familiar with rounding a corner or a curve in the road and painfully squinting into harsh sunlight. A well-designed and sited patio cover allows you to move outside from the cool interior of your home, yet softens that abrupt encounter with the sun’s rays. It gives you a place to stop and consider where you’ll go next. And perhaps a soft spot where you can enjoy a cool drink while you’re making that decision.