The majority of people spend their time indoors, but more people would spend their time in the garden or outdoors if shades were installed to protect them against all the discouraging elements such as varying amounts of sun, wind and rain. Outdoor shades, in short, add much to the living space of a house.
Shades can also beautify the house by adding a bit of extra flair that differentiate it from others on the block. An example are retractable awnings that add uniqueness to your house. Furthermore, they are essential around areas like pools where UV radiation can pose a hazard to the skin of guests or children.
Party-like gatherings tend to have a lot of people. To ensure the gathering goes smoothly even in event of inclement weather, a canopy may be used to house all the guests, tables and chairs. A canopy is large structure resembling a tent. Steel standing poles hold up the shade fabric, and side flaps may be added to increase shelter and privacy. The flaps usually have small openings which can let air into the interior, or if left closed can keep the cold air out.
The deck or porch of a house may not always have a fixed overhead structure for outdoor shading. Deck awnings were made for this purpose. They are usually fitted over a large window, using attachments that work for several kinds of materials. Awnings should be retractable, and need to be in certain regions of the country where snow fall is heavy during winters. Heavy snow can damage the frame of the deck awning, even causing it to collapse.
Both manually operated retractables and automatic ones are available. The automatic ones are controlled by motor mechanisms, which are operated by remote control, and also automatic sensing electronics that activate upon detection of high wind speeds or precipitation. A less complicated type is the freestanding awnings that are unattached to the house.
If the front or back yard has sufficient space, some homeowners will choose to put an entire gazebo for outdoor shading. A gazebo is a freestanding structure with a platform, posts and a supported roof. Gazebos can be made of metal like steel or iron, or wood, depending on how it would blend into the surrounding decor. However, a gazebo is a lot of work for both purchase, set-up, maintenance and repair. A simpler option would be a pergola which can be set up with just posts and some beams for the roof. Furthermore, shade fabrics can be hung on the pergola design to increase shading on all sides.
The most familiar shade of all may be the humble and simple umbrella. The traditional place to place them is around the home pool area, near tables where people may sit to avoid the sun after getting out of the water. Modern umbrellas come with some fancy accoutrements and configurations. To make the space usable at night, small but bright lights may be installed under the umbrella to illuminate the area. These lights integrate with the rest of the umbrella frame and are usually powered by a cord to the house hold electrical supply.