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How to make your own shade at home

Getting too much sun can happen when you least expect it. You could be sitting on your deck, gardening or watching your kids playing. Why sweat it out in the sun when you can have it made in the shade? With a little planning – and perhaps some do-it-yourself projects – you can safely enjoy the time you spend in your own backyard.

Build your own shade

Image of a backyard with a patio with funiture and an umbrella and shrubery in the background

Structures, like a garden tent, are an easy and cost-effective way to add shade to a garden area. Garden storage or tool sheds can also be placed to give partial shade to a deck or a play area. A gazebo can provide excellent shelter from the sun. Do-it-yourself kits can be bought at hardware stores and garden centres.

Adding a retractable awning or canopy to the side of your house is also an easy way to add shade. This allows you to adjust the protection you want depending on the sun’s location. The colour and thickness of the awning material is important to consider. Thick, tightly woven material in dark colours provides the most effective protection. Awnings can be used year-round, but many are easily removed and stored away during the winter.

Installing a porch roof or backyard patio roof offers more permanent sun protection. Remember to check the sun’s path around your home before building it to make sure the structure will provide effective shade coverage.

Plant your own shade

image of trees with shade

Trees and hedges provide excellent shade around your house. How much shade will depend on how thick the leaves grow. This is not a quick solution – but it is one that may benefit you and your loved ones for years to come.

Planting deciduous trees like maple, birch, oak and beech that are native to Canada will provide excellent sun protection during the summer months. Be sure to select types of trees that provide large thick coverings of leaves that will block UV rays. For year-round protection, consider planting coniferous trees like hemlock, pine, spruce and cedar. But remember, these types of trees do not have natural canopies that provide midday shade, like deciduous trees do.

Think about how you use your space to decide which types of trees will grow best and provide you with the shade you need. When planting trees, think about:

• the way the sun moves around your home – remember UV rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• the time you spend on the deck or patio
• the location of the swimming pool, sandbox or play area

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