5 top tips for choosing outdoor shade to withstand the NZ summer
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5 top tips for choosing outdoor shade to withstand the NZ summer

  • Advice
- November 22, 2021

Thanks to the New Zealand sun, wind, and environment, making sure our outdoor shade can hold its own is incredibly important.

A shady outdoor area can become a wonderful haven if planned and executed correctly. In this blog we’ve put together some top tips from our years of installing and maintaining outdoor shade + screen products, to help you choose a solution that will withstand the NZ summer (and the other seasons too).

1. Choose a shade fabric with a high UVR block

Shade sail provides privacy from a neighbouring 2-storey home

Whether you’re going for an outdoor umbrella, shade sail or patio screen, the UV resistance of a textile should be one of your most important considerations. Even for the sun umbrellas you buy for the beach, it’s something we should all be thinking about. 

UVR block & shade protection ratings are determined by the AS/NZ standards (AS 4174-1994 and AS/NZ 4299-1996). If a textile hasn’t been independently tested to meet the standard, we say don’t buy it. This is important from a safety perspective – protecting the health of your family and those in your care. It’s also important for the longevity of your outdoor shade product, as its durability means it will last longer, and protect your other outdoor items from degradation. 

Make sure you cast a critical eye over the textile’s safety specs – not all shade cloth is created equal. At Sunshade all our shade fabrics are high performance textiles that offer ultimate protection from the NZ sun. UVR protection and aesthetics differ slightly depending on colour choice, so we’re happy to have that conversation and help you select well.

2. Don’t buy another two-season outdoor umbrella or shade sail

Shade 7 Outdoor Umbrellas for poolside shade

We’ve all done it – buy that outdoor umbrella or shade sail with high hopes and good intentions, but it only lasts us a couple of seasons. Whether it’s the strength of the arms and frame, the structure of the base, fabric degradation or the ability to withstand sea salt and repel rust, investing in quality makes for a lasting choice.

The initial cost may be higher than the throw-away varieties but having long-term fabric and frame warranties to back up your purchase gives you the peace of mind that the investment will pay off for years to come. 

At Sunshade we have worked with the Shade7 range of outdoor umbrellas for over 10 years, they’re a kiwi success story (designed here) and have found them to be unrivalled in performance. From centre pole umbrellas to cantilever umbrellas there is a size, shape, and fabric design choice in the Shade7 range to suit spaces large and small. 

Likewise our NZ custom-made shade sails offer incredible protection and durability to last the distance too, available in a wide range of modern fabric colours to suit your decor.

3. Plant a shade tree – but choose wisely

Plant a NZ native tree to provide outdoor shade

Even though we are outdoor shade and screen people, that doesn’t mean we don’t love the shade of a good tree! When selecting a tree for your outdoor space, consider how it will grow, how you will shape it, and what position it will be in for catching the sun once it reaches full height. Also think about what seeds or leaves it will drop, and whether this might add to your yard or shade sail maintenance

Deciduous trees can be a solid choice for letting in the sunlight and warmth during winter when the tree is bare, but you want to be sure you’re up for the task of maintenance too. They do have the added bonus of a beautiful spring blossom display as well. You’ll probably want to choose something that is fast-growing so you can enjoy it sooner but do plan for the long term.

At Sunshade, we prefer native trees to support our New Zealand flora and fauna but planting fruits and nuts can be a win/win idea too. Depending on your priorities, check out these additional ideas for planting for birds in your garden, and the urban fruit forest guide for inspiration. Trees and other man-made shade products can complement each other beautifully, and we’ll be happy to help plan for your space to make the most of both.

4. Think about the wind in your outdoor space

Shade7 Outdoor Umbrella in residential garden patio NZ

The prevailing wind in your yard space is another important consideration for outdoor shade. The wind can largely determine the type of shade you need to look at, and how it should be positioned and fixed. 

In our years as shade + screen specialists we have been called to homes where the side of the house has been ripped off in extreme weather due to incorrect fixing of shade sails. We have learned a lot over the years and explain to people that a shade sail is like putting a yacht sail on your house – it has the power to catch the wind and run with it!

This is where having an expert install does come in handy. As experts in installing outdoor umbrellas, especially Shade7’s cantilever umbrella range – we know umbrellas are a product that simply must be durable if it is to withstand the NZ summer. The wind tests on the Shade7 range are impressive – check out the Shade7 Riviera getting whipped through a 40kph wind tunnel on YouTube here to get an idea for yourself.

Correct installation of outdoor screens is also important in windy environments, as is learning how to operate them. Knowing when to have the screens up, locked in half-way position or down will make the difference to ensure your screen is protected during windy weather. This is all covered in our Ziptrak® guide, and we are happy to be contacted directly for advice too.

5. Put the shade in the right spot

Position shade in the right place to suit your outdoor space and how you use it

Planning for the trajectory of the sun is key to any outdoor shade installation. Placement, height, and angles of the shade must be considered carefully to ensure the shade is right where you need it, at the right times of day. 

When planning an outdoor shade area we use CAD technology to draw up the space and project the sun’s trajectory, planning for how it moves from summer to winter. 

If you feel that your project could benefit from this type of expertise, then we would love to have a conversation about your needs for outdoor shade and plans for your space. 

Learn more about our end-to-end process here.

Interested in lasting outdoor shade for your space? 

Whichever of our products has caught your eye, send us your questions or an enquiry for a quote. We’ve been installing shades and screens since the ‘90s and have a wealth of ideas on how to create a shady, modern and inviting space that can be enjoyed for years to come. 

We’d love to hear from you – get in touch today.

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