Awnings, Garden Design, George, How To, Sail Shades

how to shade a pool

If you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your garden, you’ll want to create the best possible environment to enjoy it. You’ve got your loungers, inflatables, maybe even a minibar – but what about some shelter from the sun? It’s an important consideration, with growing concern about sun damage and skin cancer. Basic shading can offer UV reduction of up to 75%, with specialist materials increasing protection up to 98%.

Aside from the health reasons, pool shading can also be a spectacular design feature. A stylish shade structure can elevate the appearance of your pool and turn the whole area into a classy feature. So dive in and find out how to shade a pool in your garden.

Ways to shade your swimming pool

1 – Shade sail

With their oceanic connection, shade sails are the perfect fit for pool shading. There are many options you can choose from in terms of shape, colour, size – and even combining multiple shades – which make them a really flexible option for creating your desired appearance.

For safety, go for a permanent fitting option to ensure the sail will endure our variable weather conditions. The best option will probably be support poles on each side of the pool, with the sail (or sails) stretching taut across the water.

shade sail over pool

2 – Parasol

If you’re looking for some instant shade at a pool party, parasols make for an affordable and convenient option. While the shade coverage they provide is limited, the advantage is they are easy to shift round the pool as the sun moves so you can usually have a shady spot to rest in.

Parasols are great for shade around the water as well as in it – they make the perfect pairing with a sun lounger or a poolside bar.

parasol by pool

3 – Pergola

Though not often associated with garden swimming pools, a pergola spanning the water can make a magnificent feature. You can install them over an end of the pool, and cover the top with retractable shade material, wooden slats or trailing plants to create some dappled shelter from the sun.

This option is one of the most significant investments for your garden in terms of money and permanence, so it’s worth spending time on the design and checking any local planning restrictions.

pergola by swimming pool

4 – Retractable enclosure

Another elaborate option is a pool enclosure, a greenhouse-like structure that covers the whole pool and can usually be telescopically retracted. While these are often constructed to provide protection from the elements and extra warmth, they can also offer shade when paired with blinds or obscured glass.

swimming pool enclosure

5 – Floating umbrella

If you’re looking for pool shade that follows you round, free from restrictions, then why not try a floating umbrella? The shady umbrella is usually attached to a buoy to float and a weight to keep it upright. Some even have inbuilt cup holders to keep your drinks right on hand. You can’t get more relaxing than that!

floating umbrella

6 – Awning

A retractable awning is one of the most classic ways to bring shade into your garden, though due to the need to be fixed to a wall, you’re more likely to choose an awning for poolside shade than actually in the water. Unless of course your pool is very close to your house or another garden building.

You can, however, choose a freestanding awning. This is a solid frame with a double-sided retractable canopy. Place this next to the pool and then unwind the awning whenever you require a bit more shade. You can even move it around once it’s assembled to track with the sun.

awning by swimming pool

7 – Tree

Finally we come to the most natural form of shading in the garden: trees. While these are perfect for a natural garden aesthetic, you do have to be careful planting them around swimming pools. Firstly, as the trees grow (which can take a long time to become big enough for adequate shading), their roots may interfere with the pool foundations. Secondly, debris – leaves, bird mess etc – will fall from the tree and require even more pool-cleaning time.

So if you’re looking for quick and easy way to shade your swimming pool, a tree probably isn’t your best option!

trees by pool

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Awnings, Current Issues, Guest Posts, New Products, Watering

smart technology garden

When smart technology first arrived, many just thought it was something that controlled thermostats and helped save on HVAC costs.

Then it morphed into motion detectors, smart doorbells and security systems. As you know, smart technology applications continue to grow at a rapid pace, and if you want to keep your garden growing also, check out the latest innovations:

Smart irrigation

Whether you live in an apartment in Eugene, Oregon or a penthouse in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood, we know you can get your plants to grow and keep your grass green by simply standing outside with the hose and watering by hand, but by using a smart app, you can control when you water and why you water.

A good smart system that is integrated with your sprinkler configuration can tell you when it is the best time to water. Those in hot climates know that random watering done during the heat of the day is wasteful since there is a lot of evaporation, and a smart app can pin down the correct times to give your plants a good drink. The best innovations can interface with the weather so that you don’t water when it is raining.

smart irrigation

Smart mower

Wouldn’t it be great to just sit on the lawn chair while you grass is being cut? This is now possible with robot lawn mowing systems, and of course, these can be controlled from your mobile device.

Here’s how it works; available for lawns of all shapes and sizes, robot lawn mowers are relatively easy to set up and program. They’re powered by rechargeable batteries, so you don’t have to keep buying fresh batteries. Plus, they’re super quiet, which means you can turn them on at any hour of the day without bothering the neighbors. You’ll use bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, and a mobile app to get them set up and get to work. Remember, if you have a large lawn, you’ll need to purchase a model that can handle larger areas and things that get in the way such as flower beds, trees, and bushes.

smart mower

Smart garden hub

These gizmos, such as GreenIQ, put it all together:

  • Soil temperature
  • Garden lights
  • Smoke alarms
  • Motion detectors
  • Personal weather stations

A smart garden hub will capture this information, interpret it, and allow your app to dictate plant watering cycles.

GreenIQ Smart Garden Hub, specifically, supports various Smart Home Integrations such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Nest, and Apple Watch and allows you to complete your Smart Home with a full Smart Garden experience.

The system factors in weather data from public weather stations or private like ones, Netatmo and Davis. It detects pipe leaks and clogs when connected to a flow meter. If you want your GreenIQ to factor in the soil moisture level, add a soil sensor to your system.

The possibilities are endless with smart garden hubs like GreenIQ!

Soil condition

Do you want to know your soil moisture content, fertilizer readings, temperature, light intensity, and what to do about it?

A soil sensor like Spiio can provide all of this information and your app can advise you of any corrective action that may be necessary.

With a good soil sensor and an integrated app, you will no longer have to guess about which fertilizer will adjust your lawn’s pH to the proper level for the type of plants you are growing.

smart soil

Smart awnings

Electric awnings have transformed the garden shade experience into something that can be managed with ease. You can extend your awning at the touch of a button and retract it the moment the conditions become too blustery. But now electric awnings have entered the modern age with the adoption of smart technology – you can set them up to be controlled from you mobile phone.

Camera

This is simple, but totally necessary if you go on vacation. A friend of ours was a great gardener but lived in the hot southwest and was afraid to go on vacation in July because three days without water would be a disaster for his garden.

One year, he had to leave for a wedding and primitively set up a mechanically timed DIY sprinkler system. It was set to go on twice a day. Our friend left for a week and hoped for the best. When he came home, he found out that while his concocted sprinkler system worked, it had also rained every day, and our guy came home to a flooded backyard.

With a simple camera, he could have seen from his mobile device that the sprinkler system needed to be turned off, and he could have asked his neighbor to help. Since he didn’t know what was going on, he had to clean up the mess.

The moral? Even if you don’t want to invest in a smart watering or gardening system, at least set up a smart camera so you can see what your yard looks like when you are gone, and subsequently take action where needed.

garden camera

RadbilSam Radbil is the lead writer for ABODO Apartments, an online real estate marketplace with available apartments from small towns like Eugene, Oregon to big cities like New York City. ABODO’s research and writing has been featured nationally in Curbed, Forbes, Realtor.com, HousingWire and more.

Awnings, Garden Design, Garden Screening, George, Sail Shades

As the sun finally comes out, our thoughts turn to the burning question of British summers… how can we get some shade? To help you escape the heat we’ve answered that very question with our complete list of garden shade ideas and advice. Enjoy!

garden shade ideas

Ways to make shade in your garden

1 – Awnings

The gold standard of outdoor shading, you can’t beat an awning. Generally you’ll need to fix an awning to the side of your house, so they’re perfect for making shade in an area where you spend a lot of time, like a patio. They come in a multitude of sizes and colours to suit the space you need. When you need some shade you just have to unwind the awning – this can either be done via a handle or a remote for an electric model. As well as sheltering you outdoors, these have the added benefit of shading rooms inside, keeping them cool and protecting furnishings from fading in the sun.

2 – Shade sails

A very contemporary form of shade, sails can be bright and fun or cool and classy. Layer different sails for complete shading in whichever part of the garden you need and you can make striking designs. Shade sails originated in the heat of Australia, where they’re made from breathable fabric to keep you cool. But in the UK you can also buy waterproof versions as our weather isn’t quite as reliable!

shade sails

3 – Pergolas and climbing plants

Perfect for creating a private getaway in a corner of the garden for sitting or eating under. Build your wooden structure to allow enough room underneath for whatever activity you’d like to do there. Then plant some climbers like clematis, roses or jasmine to trail over the pergola. Over time this should grow into a lovely leafy canopy offering dappled shade. You could even hang some outdoor curtains on the side of the pergola for added shade and privacy.

4 – Garden screening

Not all sun comes from directly overhead. A stylish way to add some horizontal shading to your garden is through decorative screening. Simply fix the screening rolls of your desired material (from bamboo to artificial ivy) to wire fences or balconies for instant shade. Not only will these look great, they can also make your outdoor space more private.

tree shade

5 – Trees

If you want the natural solution to escaping the sun, look no further than trees. Yes, they may take many years to grow into a fully mature source of shelter but it will be worth the wait. You’ll have a beautiful, environmentally-conscious addition to the garden offering a perfect spot for a shaded bench or table. Of course the downside is you won’t be able to move the tree to wherever you want shade, so choose your position carefully!

6 – Gazebos and marquees

Whether you’re hosting a royal wedding or family BBQ, a gazebo is the perfect pop-up outdoor room. You get shelter come rain or shine and depending on the size you choose, enough space for a dinner table or dance floor. Adding side walls to your party tent can give you some extra protection against cool breezes, which is a definite bonus as the sun goes down. If you’re keen to entertain in style this summer, look no further than our brand new Indian-style marquees.

7 – Parasols

If you’re limited on space, particularly for storage, then a parasol is likely your shade essential. Compact and stylish, it’ll fit right in the centre of your patio table or stand on the side. Many modern versions have the ability to tilt to help place the shade where you want it, but compared to the other ideas in this list, parasols usually offer a limited area of protection that can leave family members fighting over space in the shadow on a hot day.

parasol shade

Why you need garden shade

Outdoor dining

As soon as the sun comes out, we love to embrace the luxury of eating outside. But it doesn’t take long to realise that getting sticky in the heat isn’t much fun for diners or the food. Keeping your guests comfortable is key to great entertaining, so it’s worth investing in sufficient shading for your table and all the chairs. It will also help keep your food from spoiling in the sun.

Our top recommendations: awnings, marquees, parasols.

Reading or working

A good book or a bit of focused time on the laptop is wonderful when the weather permits you to take it out into the garden. Neither is ideal, however, in the glare of the sun, which makes it hard to concentrate on the page or screen. The heat can also cause headaches that just make it even harder. So naturally – shade is essential!

Our top recommendations: awnings, shade sails, parasols, trees.

reading in shade

Sun protection

As we become more aware of the potentially dangerous effects of the sun’s rays, it’s natural to want to protect ourselves outdoors. So if you want to enjoy your garden from the shade without worrying about skin cancer, then pay close attention to the UV protection rating of the shading you look at.

Our top recommendations: Primrose shade sails and awnings offer up to 98% UV protection, equivalent to UPF 50+.

Rain protection

As great as British summers can be, they’re not that reliable. We’ve all been there when a lovely sunny party is thrown into jeopardy by an unexpected shower. But what if your garden shade could also offer shelter from these other elements? Unsurprisingly, the thing you’ve got to look out for is waterproof fabric. And of course the extra consideration when planning the best shelter for your gathering – will it be able to cover enough people should the heavens open? Bear in mind too that most of these products will only provide shelter from light showers, not downpours.

Our top recommendations: waterproof shade sails, gazebos and Primrose awnings, which are all waterproof.

garden rain

Other ways to keep cool in the heat

If even the shade is leaving you in a sweat, what else can you do to keep cool? Luckily we’ve published a whole list of suggestions, from swimming pools to summer houses.

So throw some shade, escape the heat and embrace your summer in the garden!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Awnings, Dakota Murphey, Gardening Year, How To, Sail Shades

keep cool in garden summer

With the snow finally off the radar and spring beginning to warm things up, most of our minds have already drifted into making plans for the sizzling summer sun. Hot days on the beach, lazy weekend picnics and maybe even a nice cold drink in the beer garden of our favourite pub – right?

Getting out of the house seems ideal when you’ve been staring at the same four walls all winter, but don’t forget that everyone else will be thinking of doing the same thing. Why not go somewhere that’s free from people, free of charge and literally right on your doorstep?

Here are five ways you can beat the queues of people flocking to the beach this summer and stay cool (and smug) in your own back garden.

parasol

1. Grab some shaded lawn furniture

One of the quickest ways to get some shade in your garden is simply to put up some parasols, but you may as well do it in style. If your current patio table doesn’t have a hole to support a parasol you can either use this as an excuse to get a new set or opt for a free-standing design. Update the cushions on your seats to match the fabric of the parasol and consider treating yourself to a co-ordinated swing seat or loungers so that you have somewhere cool and comfortable to relax after lunch.

New lawn furniture is an effective way of giving your garden an instant makeover, making it feel like you’ve been transported somewhere exotic without ever leaving your home.

summer house

2. Treat yourself to a stunning summer house

Create an inviting, shady retreat in your own garden by building a summer house in a secluded spot, away from the house. A bit like a shed (only much, much prettier and devoid of muddy tools), you can get summer houses in all kinds of styles.

Whether you like the idea of just enough space for a comfy chair and a bookshelf, or a cabin that’s are big enough to double up as a home office or guest bedroom, there’s a summer house that is perfect for your garden. The only requirements are that it lets in plenty of natural light but has windows that open and shutters that close to keep you cool in the middle of the day!

swimming pool

3. Invest in a luxurious swimming pool

Building a pool is a commitment, but if you intend to stay in your home for many more years and have a big family, or love to host parties, it can absolutely pay off. Just imagine the joy of being at the beach or lido on a hot day, but with warmer water, cleaner toilets, zero crowds and no drive to get there – heaven!

Modern designs mean that you don’t even need a huge garden to accommodate a pool, with plunge pools, lap pools and hot tubs all being great pool options for a small home. Above-ground (rather than in-ground) styles will bring the cost down and choosing a modest size will be much easier to maintain, too.

pergola

4. Build a romantic pergola

Somewhere between a gazebo and a trellis, pergolas are great for providing cover over a patio or walkway. To get the most shade from a pergola you will need to surround it with fast-growing climbers and shade plants, which will wind around the beams to create a beautiful, natural rooftop.

Pergolas can make for a beautiful focal point in a large garden but are also ideal for more compact spaces, where having both seating and plants would be otherwise difficult. It’s the perfect spot for dining al fresco and enjoying your garden throughout the year.

hammock

5. Lay back in a breezy hammock

If these suggestions are sounding a little bit intense, there’s nothing simpler than stringing up a hammock and putting not just your feet, but your whole body up. Two sturdy trees should be able to support a hammock and provide plenty of shade, or you can use the beams of a pergola if you have one and don’t need the space for dining.

There’s something immediately relaxing about gently swinging above the ground, although the best part about a hammock might be how incredibly easy it is to pack up and put away once it gets colder. Between partners, friends, children and pets, your hammock will probably be occupied for most of the summer!

It might be a little bit more effort than grabbing your sunblock and heading to the local park, but if you get your summer shade plans in action now, your garden will be a veritable paradise in time for June.

Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.