Patio Shades

The purpose of patio shades is to keep the sun's rays off the patio door glass to keep the indoors and the patio cooler. This is a window covering that can be part of your decor or landscaping. You may opt to just keep the sun from getting indoors, or you may opt for patio and room shade. Knowing your intention will help you choose the right patio shade.

Patio shades provide sun protection for the outdoor living areas of homes, businesses, and restaurants. Patio shades also protect indoor areas near windows against the ravages of bright sunshine. Such useful accessories come in a wide variety of styles and price ranges.

Most patio shades are retractable. In manually operated patio shades, a lever is cranked outward to extend the patio shade, usually by turning an eyehook at one end of the shade attached to the building. A long metal rod with a hook in its end engages the eye, and a bent section of the rod serves as a crank enabling the user to turn it. Some lightweight patio shades are extended and closed simply by pulling on them. More expensive patio shades are opened and closed by electric motors.

Window patio shades provide shade on the patio and protection for indoor items near the windows. These patio shades are hung on the outside of a window, unlike traditional shades. Window patio shades are often used over skylights and solarium windows to cut bright sunshine. Window patio shades can hang straight down to shade the interior room alone, or a portion of the window patio shade can be cranked horizontal in order to provide shade to the outdoor area as well. Tilting the patio shade in this way also provides an unobstructed view of the outdoors underneath the patio shade.

Patio shades can also be stretched and curved to shade entryways. This type of patio shade is typically not a do-it-yourself job, but requires professionally trained installers who measure and cut the patio shade to the right size; cut and articulate the supports that hold the shade in position; and attach the patio shade to its supports securely.

When buying a patio shade, attention should be paid to protecting the shade cloth when it is furled. It's no good to just bunch up the cloth of a patio shade when it's not in use. Most patio shades roll up the cloth inside of a protective housing that attaches to a wall or ceiling using mounting brackets. These protective shrouds help ensure that your patio shades will last through years of off-season storage under harsh conditions.

Another style of patio shades is the Dutch-style blind. A set of articulated metal frames provide the intricate shape of this patio shade. Cloth stretched over the framework folds up when the framework is folded up, and the whole thing tucks under a protective housing up against the building.

Parasols and giant umbrellas are patio shades, too! Many parasols and umbrellas are the simple variety that opens with a push on a central ring. But others are so large they must be cranked open using mechanisms concealed in their central posts. Some really large umbrellas are seven meters in diameter -- nearly 21 feet!

Patio shades can cost as little as $50 or up to several thousand dollars. They are great ways to cool yourself, you house, and your plants from the sun's rays.