Outdoor Sun Shades

There are a variety of outdoor sun shades you can use to keep the sun out of the space you are using. And the approaches don't just have to be window coverings or window treatments. Be creative in solving the dilemma of shading the space and making it decorative too.

The outdoor areas of your home need protection against the broiling sun. So do the campgrounds and picnic areas where you and your family have fun. Outdoor sun shades are virtually essential for summer enjoyment.

One type of outdoor sun shades is the patio shade. These shades are generally attached to the side of a dwelling and can be extended outward to shade a patio area. An articulated arm extends the patio shade in and out. It may be flexed and extended using a long metal rod with an eye loop on the end, which engages a hook attached to a cranking mechanism. Some lightweight patio shades are operated by simply pulling on them. Large, heavy patio shades are often electrically motorized.

Parasols or umbrellas are often used as outdoor sun shades. A parasol fits neatly into a hole in the middle of a patio table, providing shade for those sitting around it. Better parasols can be tilted up to 45 degrees to block the sun's rays as the come in from different angles. Parasols are often taken to the beach as well, where they find themselves rammed into the sand or simply leaned on their edges.

Outdoor sun shades can be as simple as a piece of cloth suspended between three tree branches. Indeed, triangular outdoor sun shades are sold by many outfitters. The cloth used in such outdoor sun shades is often of a synthetic material, designed to withstand weather and ultraviolet radiation. It may be sold in sheets cut to size, with grommets in the corners to prevent tearing in high winds. But the cloth may also be sold in rolls from which any length can be cut. These rolls are often used to make outdoor sun shades for special events such as weddings, where they may cover a long aisle up which the bride walks.

Some outdoor sun shades rest flat against the side of a house when not in use. They may be eight or sixteen feet in width and six to eight feet wide. These outdoor sun shades are cranked up to a horizontal position when they are needed. Wire cables may support them, or they may be supported by two corner posts on the outer corners, much like a tent. This type of outdoor sun shade serves the dual purpose of keeping sun from the interior of the room it faces as well as off the heads of party-goers outdoors.

A great many canopies are available to serve as outdoor sun shades. These portable, free-standing shades are like wall-less tents, supported at all four corners by posts and tie-downs secured by pegs driven into the ground. You see canopies often at parks during the summer, providing cool shade for the old folks and the beer. Canopies are also common at summer arts and crafts festivals, where they provide a haven for commerce as well as protection from the sun.

Outdoor sun shades come in many shapes and sizes. They are very useful when natural shade from trees, mountains, and other features is unavailable.