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.

Awnings, George, New Products, News

Wooden awnings

Are you fawning for a new type of awning? Looking for something that wood make your garden stand out? Well, Primrose is here to cover you once again. We’re delighted to roll out our stunning range of new wooden awnings.

After being inspired by the traditional store front awnings on our research trips around London, we developed this collection of DIY wooden awnings exclusive to Primrose.

The new look

The full wooden cassette, which protects the awning canopy from the elements when retracted, is supported by black powder-coated steel arms and chain.

With a wooden casing, these awnings have a look that harkens back to traditional design and craftsmanship. They have a distinct, tactile feel, bringing a level of class to your garden that sets them apart from the regular awnings.

Why wooden?

As our awnings buyer says, ‘Wooden awnings would add a nice touch of character to the garden compared to normal metal casings. The beauty of the softwood cassette will complement the surroundings.’

Wood awnings specs

The specs

The wood frame is crafted from Scots pine, a softwood which will age gracefully when left exposed to the elements. It has been treated against rot and decay so will last for years to come. Made using only FSC certified timber, a guaranteed sustainable supply.

The awning fabric is waterproof and has UPF 50+ protection, so will shelter you come rain or shine. It is available in ivory and charcoal colours. All our wooden awnings also come with a detachable valance.

Wood cassette awnings

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, Garden Design

choosing the best awning

Awnings can add great style and some fantastic colour to your home’s patio. On hot sunny days, you can sit out and have a barbecue while enjoying the shade and the comfort they provide. There are many awning options available so it can be difficult to find the ideal fit for your patio. There are open awnings, full cassette awnings, pergola patio roof blinds and even rain awnings.

Because there are many things to consider when choosing the right awnings for your home, you need to be sure you’re making the right choice.

Which awning is right for you?

Retractable awnings

5m Full Cassette Manual Awning, Turquoise

Retractable awnings consist of a metal framework that’s covered with hard-wearing fabric. The framework is normally mounted directly to the brickwork of your house. These awnings can be opened and retracted either manually, with a hand crank or with an automatic electronic system. They provide instant shade, or can be conveniently rolled up when you don’t need them, and they’re not a permanent structure on your patio.

Awnings can be installed easily on most patios. The brackets are mounted to the frame that supports the weight of the awning. The structure is solid and will last a long time. There will be a space between the patio and the eaves and gutters, while an allowance is made for clearance from any light fittings and electric points.

Canopy awnings

Perfect for a patio, these fabric-roofed coverings are supported by a solid frame that’s bolted to the patio. The frame then becomes a permanent fixture, and you can choose to leave the fabric cover up all year round or remove it in the winter months. Canopy awning fabrics normally last around 15 years. The awnings come in pyramid roof style and hip roof style and you can choose from a wide range of colours.

Latina Aluminium Canopy H2.3m

Outdoor lighting can be installed on the framework. Canopy awnings are as good choice for full shading of smaller patios and the fabric won’t sag or tear. The structure is strong enough to withstand rain, strong winds and even hail and strong winds (although it’s a good idea to remove the cloth in high winds). And because it’s a permanent structure, the canopy has no moving parts that can jam or break.

Intelligent awnings

If you want to go really high-tech, then you might like to have ‘intelligent’ awnings installed. These have built in sun sensors and automatically open or close depending on whether the sun is out or hidden behind dark grey clouds. There are also wind sensors that automatically retract your awning in blowy conditions. This helps to avoid damage to the awning.

What about reliability?

Awnings are a big investment, so you need to know that the fabric, the frame and the electronic components are able to withstand the variable weather all year round. The fabric mustn’t fade and the frames mustn’t rust.

Synthetic yarns are a good choice as they’re strong and won’t tear. If you live in a location that has really bad weather conditions like heavy rains and winds you might want to invest in an awning that incorporates a top coat or laminate, as these are really strong. However, most of the fabrics on the market these days are hard-wearing, long-lasting and fade-resistant. The frames are constructed from stainless steel and powder-coated aluminium, so they are resilient and will remain free from rust.

… and value for money?

You pay for what you get! Buy the best quality patio awnings you can afford. There are cheap products out there but these won’t last as long as a top quality awning and frame. Most awnings come with a five-year guarantee.

Don’t forget to ask about optional extras like patio heaters and night lights, so you can enjoy evenings out on the patio in chilly weather.

Make sure you get satisfactory answers to these essential questions:

• What size awning do I require?
• Do I want the awning to provide shade throughout the day?
• Do I want a manual or a motorised awning?
• Which style of awning best suits my home?
• Which fabric should I choose?
• Will the awning be fully automatic?

Dakota Murphey an independent writer, working alongside blind specialists Aquarius Blinds, has come up with some useful questions to help you select the best awnings for your patio.