LET THE SUN SHINE – shade solutions

sandra Batley

One of life’s pleasures is being outside in the garden enjoying the sunshine. However, as the weather becomes warmer, some protection from the harsh rays is required. There are a number of stylish options available to allow you to entertain and relax in comfort outdoors.


Pergolas are a permanent architectural feature that creates an extension of the indoor living areas outside. They can be freestanding or attached to the house, covered with a roofing material or left open to the sky. The great thing about pergolas is that there is a wide array of styles that can add that functional special touch to your home.

However, you may be a bit confused about which style would work best. Hiring a professional architect, landscape designer/architect or builder to draw up some ideas and plans on paper is a great place to start. If you want to do-it-yourself then here are some simple tips to help you through the process.

  • Firstly, decide where you want to locate the pergola. Do you want to attach it to the house to create another room outdoors or perhaps have it freestanding, sitting within the garden or pool area a short distance from the house? If you are attaching it to the house then you are required by law to apply for a building consent. Construction detail drawings will also need to be submitted as part of the consent process.
  • Look at the architecture and era of the house. The pergola design needs to work harmoniously with the house and not stand out like a sore thumb. For example, if you have an old or renovated villa, then a timber pergola with traditional details would work best.
  • Choose materials and finishes that also suit the environment. If you have a coastal property, then an aluminum structure that does not rust or warp will last a lot longer than timber.
  • Consider how much shade you want to create. Timber battens placed close together on top of the rafters may do the trick. Or perhaps you want shade and shelter from the weather. New generation opening roof systems allow you to watch the stars or enjoy the summer sun or sit snug and protected from the rain during the winter months. There is also less costly, lightweight sheet roofing material that will provide protection from the rays.

Fixed or roller awnings can be added to the sides of the pergola for additional wind protection and privacy. Pergolas will definitely improve your lifestyle and add value to your home. However, they can be costly to build so get a few quotes first and see if it still fits within your budget. Find Shade Products

Pergola by Landscape Creations Ltd

Shade sails

Shade sails are a great solution if you want some shade over a small courtyard, patio space, spa pool, BBQ or kids play area. Some are waterproof to provide that extra protection. But remember the water will end up pooling on top during a lot of rain. They are easy to fix to existing features such as the house or carport. They are available in many different, size, colours and shapes to suit your individual outdoor environment. Shade Sails can be easily removed for winter storage and can be easily cleaned with Wet n forget or a mild detergent can be used. The cannot be enclosed and will withstand high winds up to 50k with specific engineering. The great thing is you do not require a permit to put one up. However, before putting a shade sail up here are a few points to consider first;

  • take into account of movement of the sun – make sure the location of your shade sail will provide maximum protection during summer as well as winter
  • do a sketch plan of the area you want to cover, the length, height and width. Additional measurements may be required if the area where you want to put the shade is an irregular shape
  • carefully consider the colour of your shade sail. A neutral colour in an earthy tone suits most outdoor environments

Shadesail from Shadeworld Ltd

Reader Comment:

Hi there, Re Sandra Batley Shade sail info, it would pay to check with the council regarding permits to install a shade sail, the info we have is that any unit under 10 sqm in area and less than 2m in height does not need a permit, any size and height over those needs one. Cheers Peter Dwyer Manager Shadepro Ltd Tauranga

You can find council regulations at our online resource


These are usually fixed to the house over windows and openings to outdoor areas. They provide good sun protection, privacy, insect screening and weather protection. There are freestanding carport awnings to cover and protect your car. The great thing about using an awning is that they can be retracted in the winter months or when shade is not required. They are superb for a number of outdoor places no matter how big or small the space. Once again any shape, colour and style can be chosen to fit your particular situation.

Awning from Shadeworld Ltd


Umbrellas are the most common, least expensive option for protection from the sun. They give you instant shade when you need it. There are some new innovative umbrellas that are on the market that are both functional and very stylish. An umbrella with a fixed central or side post gives you more room and allows you to move and direction the umbrella as the sun moves around. If your space is really limited, an umbrella that is wall mounted, that can be tilted and rotated is perfect for balconies and apartments.

There are a wide range of fabrics, colours and finishes to coordinate with your outdoor cushions and accessories. There are also a number of styles to choose from. If have a formal, classic style courtyard space, then an umbrella in a neutral sandstone colour in natural materials, with a timber pole would create an elegant simple look.

Shadesail by Shademakers Ltd

Whatever style or theme of garden you want to create, remember to include some sort of shade from the harsh sun this summer.

Sandra Batley of Flourish is a multi award-winning landscape designer based in Auckland. Sandra is passionate about, people, plants and design.

2 comments on “LET THE SUN SHINE – shade solutions

  1. Hello, I’m in the market for a 24′ x 40′ lightweight, waterproof covering for my free-standing pergola. What do you recommend? Please advise, THANKS, PAT

  2. Tanya Emerson on said:

    Is the free standing umbrealla movable or can it easily be moved around?

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