Hostel life: Shade upgrade for Napier Boy’s Hostel
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Hostel life: Shade upgrade for Napier Boy’s Hostel

  • Education
  • Projects
- May 8, 2023

Recently, we were thrilled to receive an invitation to work on a shade sail project at Napier Boys’ High School in Hawke’s Bay. The school’s hostel courtyard required an upgrade to replace the 12 umbrellas that were previously provided at each table. The 12 octagonal tables accommodate almost 100 students during mealtimes.

Shade sails were chosen to enable a wider coverage for a longer portion of the day, and because of their high wind and weather strength.

Our local expert, Mark Hannan, designed and installed the shades to create a shade path for the outdoor courtyard and lunch area of the school.

Napier Boys' hostel area before shade sails were installed
Shade sail design for Napier Boys' High School
Shade sail design for Napier Boys' High School

We selected Extreme32 as our high strength textile of preference. It is a performance architectural shade cloth that comes with a 15-year UV warranty and an impressive 99% high UVR block. It was an ideal choice to provide remarkable shade for the congregation space.

Our industrial upholstery experts at the Sunshade head office in Hastings set to work on the marking, cutting, and sewing.

Shade sails by Sunshade Hawke's Bay for Napier Boys Hostel with Extreme32 fabric

Mark ordered the manufacture of steel poles that were powder-coated to match the colour palette of the high school building. This helps to provide the integrated look that complements the building and supplies a robust and stylish shade space for students.

With the shade sails measuring a huge 6x7m each, this was a serious amount of shade coverage for the expansive courtyard.

Given how long we know these shade sails last, this is an investment that will continue to protect students at the school for a long time.

Shade sails for Napier Boys High School by Sunshade Hawkes Bay NZ
Shade sails for Napier Boys High School by Sunshade Hawkes Bay

Pro tip: Using shade sails saves a lot of time when compared with putting up umbrellas and taking them in each day. They also tend to be a lot more durable and hold a higher strength. In fact, in choosing our Extreme32 fabric, the shade sails won’t need to be taken down over winter. Cleverly, this school has now saved a lot of time and hassle.

Searching for a high-quality shade sail of your own

To comprehend the substantial distinction that Sunshade shade sails can offer, seek advice from our local expert in your area. We’re here to help.

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Create a Toasty Haven with Patio Blinds for the NZ winter
Back to News

Create a Toasty Haven with Patio Blinds for the NZ winter

  • Advice
- March 20, 2023

Have you been dreaming about creating a warm and inviting space to enjoy during the cold NZ winter months? Great call! We have created hundreds if not thousands of outdoor enclosures with patio blinds over the years. It’s a great way to make your space more usable and enjoyable, and our customers continue to use them for years into the future. 

In this article, we share our experience and advice to get your cosy outdoor space feeling ‘just right’. 

At Sunshade our patio blinds are an easy and stylish way to keep the chill away, while protecting your outdoor area from wind and rain. Read on for tips and information on how outdoor blinds can help create you a year-round sanctuary this winter.  

Why patio blinds in NZ?

Patio blinds provide a great way to protect your outdoor area from the elements, while creating a sheltered and inviting space. They can help keep warmth in and cold air out, making it much easier to enjoy being outdoors during colder months. Outdoor blinds also block wind, so you don’t have to worry about furniture or decorations blowing away on windy days.  

They’re also a great investment – significantly less than the cost of adding another room to your house, but radically enhancing the amount of usable space you have available every day. 

At Sunshade all our patio blinds are designed for New Zealand conditions, with superior protection against rain, wind, and harsh UV rays.  

Considering the options for your blinds

Outdoor Patio Blinds by Sunshade NZ
Gallery image closeup manual clear PVC screens

There are many different types of patio blinds available to suit any outdoor space, from traditional curtains to roller shades and more.  

At Sunshade, we provide two different types of patio blinds – Ziptrak® blinds and manual roll-up blinds 

Ziptrak® outdoor blinds are designed for convenience with a track system that allows the blind to be opened and closed quickly and easily. They also come with lockable arms for extra security against strong winds.  

Manual roll-up patio blinds are perfect for spaces where the budget  might not stretch to a Ziptrak® system but you could still benefit from a custom fit.  

Both options come in a range of stylish mesh colours or clear PVC to suit any outdoor area. 

Don’t forget the essentials

Ziptrak clear PVC screens half down

When looking at blinds, be sure to consider the size and shape of your patio area, as well as how much light you want to let in when choosing which patio blind will work best for your space. Do you desire a custom fit, or are you happy with off-the-shelf? 

Quality, strength, and longevity is another important factor to remember. If you want yours to last, you’re in the right place. 

Our Sunshade crew are well versed in these products, so making a choice can be easy with the right advice. No matter your space, we’d enjoy discussing your needs to find something that works for you.  

What’s going to work best in your environment? 

Ziptrack blinds installation for covered verandah in Auckland showing view from the inside with screens down

As well as the size and shape of your patio area, and how much light or shade you need, it’s helpful to think about what kind of material will work best for you based on the type of climate you live in.  

Different materials can offer different levels of heat insulation and sun protection. At Sunshade our team can help you design an outdoor screen system that includes quality materials as standard to ensure both comfort and style.  

Also keep in mind any existing decor or furniture that could be impacted by new patio blinds. You’ll want something that adds to rather than detracts from your outdoor space and keeps your furniture and home interiors in nice condition. 

How easy are they to operate?

One often overlooked area is to consider the ease of use and safety when selecting patio blinds. Sunshade patio blinds such as Ziptrak® motorised patio screens offer plenty of convenience with their easy-to-use tracks, no cords or pulleys, and secure operation. Many customers are also happy to operate their Ziptrak® screen with a simple pull-down stick that can be included.  

In the case of manual roll-up blinds, these are what they say on the packet, so it’s a bit more of a hands-on process to roll them up and down.  

Motorised options can also be powered by solar energy, such as the SolarSmart unit we can offer with our Ziptrak® systems. 

Clear PVC or mesh?

Sunshade example of clear and dark outdoor blinds for outdoor to protect living area

At Sunshade, we offer patio blinds in both mesh and clear PVC options. Mesh patio blinds are an ideal solution if you’re looking to keep out the wind while still maintaining a view and letting in natural light. The breathable material helps create an environment that is comfortable year-round, without sacrificing your scenic views.  

Clear PVC patio blinds provide superior protection against rain and wind, as well as having great heat insulation properties for added warmth during wintertime.  

For your patio blind enclosure you might like to mix and match between the two (we go further on this in our earlier article here). Many of our customers choose this option to provide shade where the summer sun is prevalent, and let the views and light in where the winter sun can provide warmth.  

Let’s talk about safety

Havelock North Village Kids ECE Ziptrak Outdoor Blinds NZ from inside

From a health & safety perspective, a complete patio blind enclosure needs to be able to be easily opened in the event of an emergency.  Additionally, outdoor blinds act as a physical barrier between you and many of the nasty insects or pests that might be lurking in your outdoor area during winter.  

Consider also any children or animals that may be in your space. If there are pets or small children rocking around, you might prefer to get patio blinds without cords so they don’t get tangled up in them (our Ziptrak® blinds do not have cords).  

Additionally, if you want something that’s easy to use every day, look for patio blinds that operate via remote control – this way you can easily adjust the opening and closing of your patio blind from the comfort of your cushy deck chair. 

To sum it up: decent patio blinds can really bring the cosy factor

Ziptrak outdoor screens by 0800 Sunshade NZ

Quality patio blinds are an ideal way to create a warm and inviting space throughout the colder months. They offer protection against wind, rain and other elements while keeping warmth in and cold air out. Designed and installed well, they’ll also provide invaluable protection come spring and summer. 

Ready to create your own safe harbour from the elements?

At Sunshade our team of local experts can walk you through the options for creating a custom screen solution for your space. Each piece of the puzzle will be customised to fit your needs and your space in the way that will work for you. 

We invite you to learn more about our Ziptrak patio blinds or manual roll-up blinds here, and get in touch if you’re keen for a quote. 

Reach out to our team today! 

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The Shade7 Riviera: Could it be the best Cantilever Umbrella in NZ?
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The Shade7 Riviera: Could it be the best Cantilever Umbrella in NZ?

  • Advice
- February 24, 2023

Is the Shade7 Riviera the best cantilever umbrella in NZ? We sure think so! With its luxurious design and features, it is perfect for any discerning kiwi home. From the shade it provides to the easy-to-use operation, the Riviera is certainly a step up from your average umbrella. Learn here why we think it’s the best of the best.

Introducing: the Shade7 Riviera cantilever umbrella

Yellow Shade7 Riviera Cantilever Umbrella NZ

At Sunshade, we believe the Shade7 Riviera cantilever umbrella offers the perfect addition to any outdoor living space. We should know – we’re installing them all the time!

This stylish and versatile sun umbrella is designed to keep you protected from the harsh New Zealand sun, so you can spend time outside in comfort. The cantilever design offers an elegant look, effortlessly adding a touch of opulence to your garden or deck. No centre poles, just uncluttered open space.

More than just looking good, this strong cantilever umbrella can adjust with you as the day goes on – allowing you to cast shade continuously around your area as the light shifts. Whether it’s a summer evening outdoors or a lazy afternoon in the sun, Shade7’s Riviera cantilever umbrella ticks many boxes.

What can this umbrella do?

Shade7 white Riviera Cantilever Umbrella - Square

For Kiwis in search of premium outdoor umbrellas, Sunshade’s cantilever umbrellas are the perfect balance of strength and durability. The Shade7 Riviera cantilever umbrella provides 360 degree finger-tip rotation operation with a stylish anodised aluminum frame and marine grade fabric.

Built to last, it is certified for use in NZ’s harsh UV conditions and is one of few cantilevers frequently used on high-end resorts and vessels. With the added benefit of blocking up to 98% of UV rays, the Riviera is a strong choice.

Note-worthy features include:

  • Full 360 degree rotation with 16 locking locations – no matter which way the sun is moving throughout the day, you’ll have maximum coverage
  • Infinity tilt system to get the spot just right
  • Built tough for windy locations – you can see it here on YouTube undergoing a consistent 40kph wind test
  • Folds tidily back to the mast when closed
  • Available in octagonal or square (in both 3m and 3.5m options)
  • 20 block colours and 5 striped colour options to choose from – allowing you to make a bright or bold statement to suit your taste
Shade7 Riviera Cantilever Umbrella Features

Boasting a streamlined, elegant aesthetic, the Riviera offers a touch of luxe to any outdoor area, delivering the perfect level of understated opulence. We are regularly installing them at residential poolsides, patios, decks as well as in commercial spaces such as eateries and staff shared spaces.

With the Riviera you can relax, unwind and enjoy life without worrying about whether your umbrella is up to the task.

So, how does it stack up?

Compared to other sun umbrellas available in NZ, the Shade7 Riviera:

  • is very easy to use – the handle is nice to wind up and down and tilting is smooth and easy
  • has a specifically designed canopy that ensures reliability and structural integrity
  • is made from quality fabrics (with a 10 year warranty)
  • is constructed of high performance fibreglass frames
  • has optional clip-on rechargeable LEDs for evening ambience
  • can be installed virtually anywhere – with fixings for wooden decks, concrete patios, in-ground installations, or free-standing with two sturdy base options
Shade7 Riviera Cantilever Umbrella Accessories
Shade7 Yellow Riviera Cantilever Umbrella - 3.5m Octagonal beside pool

Plus, as with any Shade7 umbrella, you won’t have to compromise on looks or functionality.

With the Riviera we believe you will find an unbeatable combination of sturdy construction, fine finishing, and clever sun protection features.

These outdoor umbrellas allow you to adapt to variable weather conditions while enabling a safe sun protection experience.

Could this be the perfect sun umbrella to enjoy your sunny NZ days outdoors?

Cantilever umbrella reviews from people who have one

Here at Sunshade, we regularly have customers from all around New Zealand rave about the Shade7 Riviera cantilever umbrella. Some common remarks include ones like this:

“This umbrella is such good quality – it looks amazing in my outdoor area and offers great protection from the sun!”

“It’s super easy to open and close, and it has been strong enough to withstand long days of high winds.”

Shade7’s own website includes 58 reviews from customers about the Riviera, all giving it a 5-star.

At Sunshade we take pride in offering our customers only the best cantilever umbrellas on the market. Hence why we choose Shade7.

If you would like to experience the quality for yourself, let us know.

Professional installation makes sense

Our professionals from Sunshade can help ensure that your Shade7 umbrella is installed safely and properly so that you won’t have to worry about any surprises down the track. Part of our service is to advise you on the appropriate base, fixings, and positioning for your property, so we get it right first time.

Adapting to the nuances of your property is no problem. We’ll listen to your needs and come up with clever solutions that pay attention to the details of your site.

We encourage you to use our experience in 10+ years installing these umbrellas, and support a local family business at the same time!

Shade7 Outdoor Umbrella in residential garden patio NZ

Are you in the market for a high performing outdoor umbrella?

At Sunshade we can walk you through the range of Shade7 umbrellas, each with special features designed to provide sun protection and outdoor ease.

With impressive designs, you can experience a fancy yet classic kiwi shade-shelter no matter where you are.

To truly get the perfect sun protection for your area, make an enquiry with one of our local expert installers.

Send us an enquiry, you won’t be disappointed!

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Clear PVC or Mesh: Which Outdoor Blind Is Best for Your Home or Business?
Back to News

Clear PVC or Mesh: Which Outdoor Blind Is Best for Your Home or Business?

  • Advice
- January 20, 2023

When it comes to keeping your home or business cool and comfortable, PVC outdoor blinds are an excellent choice. But what type of screen is best for you?  Should you opt for clear PVC screens, or coloured mesh screens? Here at Sunshade, we know a thing or two about outdoor blinds, so let’s dive in and explore the pros and cons of both options.

Clear PVC Screens

Ziptrak Outdoor Screens by Sunshade NZ at Bette Christie Kindergarten

Clear PVC screens are a great option if you want to create a semi-permanent barrier between your home or business and the sun. They’re great at filtering out UV rays while still allowing natural light inside, so they don’t make the interior feel too dark. The material is also durable and easy to clean with a simple cleanser and water.

Clear PVC is a popular choice for sun-trap patio blinds at home. Also at kohangas and kindergartens they are great for keeping the kiddies warm from the wind while still being able to see what is going on outside.

Advantages:

  • Lets in natural light
  • Full view to the garden and outdoor space
  • Traps sunlight and warmth in winter (especially if fully enclosed)
  • Powdercoating on frame to match your joinery with Ziptrak screens
  • Strong UVA/B protection

Disadvantages:

  • Easier to see fingerprints than mesh screens
  • Manual wind-up only – motorisation not available due to the the way PVC expands and contracts in the heat

Coloured Mesh Screens

Ziptrak screens and shade sails provide UV protection for your home outdoor living areas

If you’re looking for a more private or shaded option, coloured mesh screens may be the way to go. They come in a variety of colours, so you can choose one that matches your existing décor scheme. And because they’re made from flexible mesh fabric, they allow plenty of air into the room while still blocking out UV rays. However, they can require more frequent cleaning than clear PVC screens due to their tendency to collect dust and dirt over time.

Coloured mesh screens can be a wonderful option for flexible shade and privacy right when the sun is glaring in, and allow you to open things up fully when you need more indoor/outdoor flow.

Advantages:

  • A range of modern colours to choose from to match your décor
  • Good visibility to the outdoors / garden, especially if a darker shade is chosen
  • Breathable
  • Powdercoating on frame to match your joinery with Ziptrak screens
  • Strong UVA/B protection
  • Versatile shade from the sun
  • Offers privacy from the outside in

Disadvantages:

  • Lets in a bit more dust than solid clear PVC option
  • A small amount of wind and rain can also be expected in due to its porous nature
  • Needs to be cleaned in the cracks (but don’t worry we have easy guides for this)

If you think both clear PVC blinds and mesh blinds could be useful, you can also mix and match!

Options for Installation

At Sunshade we are able to install blinds to your existing pergola frame or roof system, or work in with a new structure that you may be building.

We offer the more basic manual roll-up blinds as well as expert installation of the Ziptrak® track-guided blind system.

Everything is made to order so you know you are getting the best fit and protection for your space.

Having an experienced installer can make a big difference in getting the lasting result you deserve. Our licensees have a minimum 10 years with these products and are based across the country – check out our locations here.

To get started, a custom quote is your first port of call. Give us a call or drop us a message to discuss the best options for your property.

Ziptrak blinds for covered verandah in Auckland showing view from the inside
Outdoor blinds provide protection from wind and sun - closed

When it comes to choosing between clear PVC or coloured mesh screens for your New Zealand home, school or business, there’s no “one size fits all” solution — it really depends on your personal needs and preferences.

For example, if you want something semi-permanent that provides protection from UV rays without making the room feel too dark, then clear PVC could be a good choice for you. On the other hand, if privacy or shade is your top priority then coloured mesh might be the best option for you.

Whichever option you choose, Sunshade has got your back!

Get in touch with us today for all your outdoor screen needs in Aotearoa NZ!

Talk to your local expert, or fire us a quote request today. 

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Some of our favourite shade sail installations
Back to News

Some of our favourite shade sail installations

  • Company
  • Projects
- January 10, 2023

Shade sails have been around since the age of the Ancient Egyptians, and they’ve proven themselves to be one of the most cost-effective ways to protect your outdoor areas from the sun. Over the years we’ve been involved in many awesome shade projects, so we thought we’d share some of our favourites. 

Shade sails for an early childhood centre, schools and other educational institutions.

Bright shade sails protect play area from harsh UV rays

We’ve done a lot of shade sail installations for ECEs, including the one pictured above at Cumberland Kindergarten in Hamilton. This is the ideal location for a shade sail: close to the building, but offering a sun shade spanning over two different popular play areas. In keeping with the centre’s branding, the colours are bright and bold.

Shade sails create a safe and shady space for play, providing extremely high UV protection and shelter from the sun. Shade sails create a functional space that not only looks good but offers protection from the weather.

We also have continued to supply sun shelters to a number of schools to protect students from the sun.

Shade sails providing shade for students at Taradale High School
Sunshade Shade Sails Wellington project for Tui Glen School Stokes Valley

The first above is a large, sheltered outdoor space at Taradale High School in Hawke’s Bay where students can relax while they study or eat lunch.

The second is at Tui Glen School in Stokes Valley in Wellington where the shade sails shelter the junior student’s play equipment, picnic areas, and more!   A vibrant and practical cost-effective solution, both of which have great aesthetic appeal and add a contemporary feel to school buildings.

Shade sails for the community

Shade sails are an ideal solution for many types of businesses and organisations. You can find us working on shade sails for restaurants, and we also install shading systems for parks and recreational facilities such as community swimming pools, parks and playgrounds, marae, churches and picnic areas.

A shade sail is an easy-to-install alternative to a traditional pergola roof or solid structure because it requires no heavy machinery or complicated construction methods. The shades are made from lightweight materials that can be installed onto virtually any surface with little more than straps and ratchets. Some types of shade sails may require some additional support or bracketry, but they save time and come with minimal disruption to erect them.

Shade sail installation by Sunshade in the community - Marine Parade Napier
Shade sail in community pool area
  • The images above illustrate how two large installations create totally different shade solutions and cleverly complement their surroundings.
  • Our structures are PS1 compliant to ensure they can withstand all the elements.

Here are some of our favourite shade sail installations in New Zealand for private residences.

At Sunshade, we understand that your shade sails are more than just a place to chill out and enjoy the sun. They’re an investment in your home and lifestyle, and therefore deserve to be built to last.

Outdoor residential shade sail solution by Sunshade Wellington
Award winning shade sails by Sunshade NZ
Black modern shade sails by Sunshade NZ

Above are some examples of how we’ve installed shade sails for private residential customers in New Zealand, including an award-winning Auckland installation (shown centre).

Because Sunshade Shade Sails are custom-made to fit the specific needs of each customer, they are extremely popular for private residences. No off-the-shelf here!

Shade sails also add a certain architectural design element to the home, and they come in a variety of colours to match your style.

At Sunshade our shade sails are designed using 3D software, ensuring that they meet your precise specifications. In addition, our system allows for a straightforward process as well as access to our local expert installers from the get-go.

Talk to us about your shade sail project

We hope you enjoyed reading about some of the shading projects that we’ve been involved with. If you’re interested in installing shade sails on your property whether it’s for public or private use, please give us a call or message today!

We’d love to work with you.

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5 Things To Consider When Choosing Shade At Home for Your Children
Back to News

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Shade At Home for Your Children

  • Advice
- November 3, 2022

Nothing is worse than having to chase shade for your children in the middle of a long, hot summer day. A decent shade solution for your outdoor area could be one of the best investments you make for your family. Here are five things we believe are important to consider when choosing your shade at home to suit the whole family. 

Sun Shelters: What do your kids need? 

A summer day outdoors is a perfect way to spend time with friends and family. However, for some, the sun isn’t always a pleasant experience. It can cause irreversible damage to our skin if we don’t take care of it properly. Children are particularly susceptible to the sun’s rays. Mainly as we now know, you still need to be careful even on cloudy days. This is because the sun’s UV rays can still penetrate through clouds, inferior quality fabrics, and even the foliage around your property.

Here are the 5 Things To Consider When Choosing Shade At Home for Your Children 

Shade solutions for outdoor play areas
Image credit: Markus Spiske on unsplash.com

1. Determine the Area Which Requires The Most Protection 

It’s essential to consider your children’s needs when buying a sun shade for your home. They may have an area that is the most popular hangout or where they spend the most time playing. It might be where the children easily run in and out to get toys or food.  

It could also be where they play on the swing set or slide. Do you have shade there already? Be aware that those harmful UV rays can penetrate even if trees shade them. 

You might want to consider where and when your child spends time in certain areas of the property/deck/courtyard so that you can observe their choices. This might indicate where they tend to spend most of their time.  

Quality shade sail solutions to protect your family in your outdoor living area

2. Figure Out The Amount of Space You Have For The Furniture And Still Leave Room For The Children to Play

Choosing the right sun shade option for your family and your children depends on how much space you have for furniture, leaving enough room for your children to play on the deck, patio or other designated outdoor area. 

You may wish to consider the area you have and what you plan to do with this. How many children could potentially be playing there? When it comes to your downtime, how can you make it comfortable for them while still allowing yourself to enjoy it?  

Take into account your children’s needs when placing a sun shade in an outdoor area. Do they like the comfort of having walls around them, or are they a little too wild while playing outdoors? 

 If they prefer to play inside, consider getting an outdoor shade solution with sides or screens with enough room to cater for a play table for games. Creating an enclosed space with our Ziptrak® outdoor blinds could be an excellent solution. 

3. Look at when your children will be outside most often. Will they need shade in the morning, afternoon or both?

For a parent, especially with a toddler or younger child, there’s nothing worse than peeling your kid off the ground and taking them inside in the middle of a fun playtime outside when you know the temperature will get dangerously hot.  

Think about where your children will be most often and what time of day that will be, and use this information to help you decide what kind of shade/shelter is best for your situation. For example, do they play outside in the morning or prefer to go out later in the afternoon?

If you manage to create a space that also lets through a nice breeze, you could find yourself saving on the power bills from running an AC all day. Furthermore, if it’s a windy area, what protection have you got in place for them to still continue with their play? 

Does the area include any sources of water which your children might need to access as part of their play? You don’t want them running back and forth from exposed areas, as it kind of defeats the purpose of keeping them sheltered.  

4. Think about the best fabric options for UV protection and water resistance 

Ziptrak screens and shade sails provide UV protection for your home outdoor living areas

Summer heat is no joke, especially for children who aren’t prepared to handle its rays. The right shade could protect them from overheating, sunburn, melanoma, and other skin conditions later in life.  

To make sure you’re getting the best protection for your children, consider the following:  

  • For the best possible protection, you should consider which canvas to choose for a shade sail: whether it should be light or dark, and what UV protection rating it has.
  • As well as determining the appearance of your shade sail, your choices will affect the functionality of the sun shade.
  • Lighter fabrics will absorb more heat, keeping you cooler under them. Shade sails in lighter colours reflect the sun’s rays, making them popular choices. Darker fabrics, however, offer more UV protection. 
  • There are also different degrees of water resistance in coated fabrics, which is why we offer a variety of textile choices. Shade sails can be built from extra-strong fabrics, which can also provide complete rain protection and reduce the need for taking them down in the windy season.

View some of our shade sail projects to see if these could be a good solution for your space.

5. Go for quality over price

Sunshade quality canvas shade sails NZ

When buying a sun shade for your family, it is important to go for quality over price. Purchasing an inexpensive sun shade may seem like your first choice, but your savings will only be temporary. 

It is more likely for a cheap, inferior quality sun shade to rip, tear, or fade than a quality one. You could find yourself replacing the sun shade before the summer is over. For this reason, we engineer, design, and stand by every sun shade weather protection solution we install, and all our textiles are backed by impressive UV warranties. 

Knowing ahead of time what features you want in a sun shade can help you from making impulse purchases that aren’t effective. Take a look at the options, observe your children’s outdoor play habits, and come up with a list based on your observations. This will determine what is best for you and your family. 

We hope these tips have given you insight into what to look for when buying a sun shade. Remember to go with your budget, but don’t be afraid of investing in a quality product that will last. Because nothing is more precious than protecting your family from the harsh elements

Thinking of sorting a shade sail or other custom NZ made sun shade solution?

Our bespoke shade solutions offer far superior results compared to any off-the-shelf alternatives.  

By working with Sunshade NZ, you will benefit from the extra investment in our expertise, quality fabrication, and bespoke design solutions that will provide excellent protection for the whole family and add value to your property. 

If you’re planning to get your outdoor living shade solutions sorted before summer, we hope these tips will be helpful.   

Talk to your local expert, or fire us a quote request today. 

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Everything you need to know about outdoor blinds and screens for NZ homes
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Everything you need to know about outdoor blinds and screens for NZ homes

  • Advice
- August 4, 2022

How do you feel when stepping out onto your patio? Is it tidy, does it feel inviting, warm when it needs to be, shaded when it needs to be, and nice and private?

At Sunshade, we work with many spaces across NZ that are great outdoor areas but could be really taken to the next level of comfort with outdoor blinds.  

If you feel like outdoor blinds or privacy screens could really lift your enjoyment of your outdoor space, this article is here to help you consider the options from all angles.  

Side note: our focus here is on Ziptrak® NZ blinds, which is a core product we offer. However the insights here will apply to most systems. We fully recommend Ziptrak® because our business has a focus on quality, and we know it to be one of the best on the market. 

Outdoor blinds and screens for NZ homes – what do you need to know? 

You’ll need an existing roof structure or pergola to attach to 

It might seem obvious but have a think about your existing outdoor patio structure. Does it have a strong place where screens could be attached to? 

If so, that’s a great start and we can consult with you on exactly what fixing and fitting requirements would work best for your situation.  

If reinforcing or slight alterations are required, we can usually work to that to retrofit your outdoor blinds snugly and tidily within your existing aesthetic. 

The other option is that you may be building or planning to build a new outdoor roof or pergola. If this is the case, we recommend getting an experienced outdoor blind installer like us involved in the process as early on as possible, to avoid delays and get the details correct from the get-go.  

Also realise that in many cases your blinds may need to be ordered after the roof is in place, to ensure final measurements are accurate before fabricating the custom blinds and fitting them onsite. So you might have to wait a few extra weeks before you can enjoy your new blinds under the new roof – but trust us, the wait will be worth it! 

Alitex Aluminium Pergola Canopies oof and Outdoor Privacy Screen Installed by Sunshade NZ Hamilton Waikato
Ziptrak outdoor screens by 0800 Sunshade NZ

Outdoor blinds keep the heat in, but they don’t warm the space necessarily. 

Let’s say you have a patio heater, well with a roof to floor Ziptrak® enclosure (with quality bottom bar fixings to prevent draught), you will find the outdoor blinds will keep the warmth in to a good degree.  

This is true for both mesh and solid clear PVC outdoor blinds – the mesh still offers wind protection up to 95%! 

With the clear PVC outdoor blinds, during the day these can provide a wonderful suntrap in the NZ winter and spring/autumn sun.  During the summer months, these will still offer up to 93% UVR protection also, which comes as a surprise to many. 

Material choice – clear PVC or mesh screens? 

Ziptrak clear PVC screens half down

Diving further into textile choice, it really comes down to preference and your needs for the space. Some customers choose to mix and match, perhaps with a shade and privacy screen on one side, and clear PVC to catch the sun on other sides and have a clear view. 

One of the considerations with clear PVC also is keeping it visually clean. It’s not quite as high maintenance as a glass ranch slider – but you will still catch the fingerprints and doggy nose marks a little bit.  

In terms of trends, we see a movement towards the mesh PVC blinds in probably 60% of the work we do.  

One of the most eye-opening facts about mesh screens is the darker the colour, the more visibility you will have from inside, looking out the screens to your garden. So, light coloured screens offer less visibility than the darker shades. 

Ziptrak® blinds offer high rain protection 

Weather-protected outdoor spaces are just that – an outside space that is insulated from the sun, wind, and rain.  

There is no guarantee that any system will be 100% watertight – they are outside after all and tiny gaps do exist, and most patios are not truly level. But overall a system that allows a snug fit like Ziptrak® does offers incredibly strong weather protection. You might notice a small amount of rain running from underneath in a southerly, for instance, but overall you’ll be able to sit outside and enjoy the space even if it’s raining.  

A note here on mesh – it will be more porous than a solid PVC outdoor blind naturally – but it really depends on the positioning (the southern side, for example), and it’s these times where we can consult with you to consider your best choices for the space. 

Would you like an automated screen at the push of a button? Or are you happy to wind them up and down manually?  

Think about your needs today and into the future. If the ease of having automated outdoor blinds could be helpful in the future, consider adding them in from the outset, when it’s easiest to install. 

Our Ziptrak® outdoor blind systems offer both hard-wired and solar powered automation options, with a simple remote control. 

We can also customise manual roll-up blinds  if that’s more your thing. 

Roll-up PVC Outdoor Screens NZ

Pay attention to your budget, but also how much value you are adding to the home 

Outdoor blinds are a wonderful investment in the liveability of your property. Some people tend to think of the re-sale value first, or perhaps you tend to think more in terms of the value of personal enjoyment and protection.  

Whichever way you look at it, outdoor blinds extend your living area and the ability to use your space in whatever weather. However, patio blinds aren’t all created equal, and investing in a quality system with a quality installer helps to insulate you from issues and rework.  

Check warranties, after-sales support and whether the installation is carried out by an experienced professional.  

At Sunshade, we don’t mind if you ask us how long we’ve been in the trade, and how experienced we are with the product we’re working with. It’s all part of building trust and a transparent relationship with our customers.  

Ziptrak outdoor screens by 0800 Sunshade NZ

How much do outdoor blinds in NZ cost? 

If you’re ready to explore pricing and options, request a quote today 

Our work is 100% custom, so we’ll measure, consult and quote on a bespoke basis to suit your priorities, space, and budget. 

We would love to help you create a space that maximises your enjoyment and helps you feel great about it as soon as you step out onto the patio. 

Contact us

Hopefully we’ve covered all the bases, but if there’s something specific you would like to ask about NZ garden screens or outdoor blinds, we’d be more than happy to chat. 

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Sunshade Wins Two National Shade Sail Awards!
Back to News

Sunshade Wins Two National Shade Sail Awards!

  • Company
  • Projects
- July 20, 2022

Sunshade were stoked to be recognised at this year’s national OFPANZ Awards for Excellence in Nelson, for two separate pieces of work.

Two of our regional licensees were awarded – Mike Atwood in the Waikato took out the top prize in the Residential Shade Sails category, and Mark Hannan in Hawke’s Bay received a Highly Commended in the Commercial Shade Sail section.

The OFPANZ Awards are designed to celebrate design and workmanship, and winners have to show the challenges they had to overcome and that they have created an overall positive and lasting impression.

Accepting the award on the night for Sunshade was Pete Swinburn and Peter OConnel
Pete Swinburn and Peter O'Connell from Sunshade Group were there on awards night

Sunshade’s 2022 award-winning shade sail installations were:

Highbrook – by Mike Atwood, Sunshade Waikato licensee
WINNER: OPFANZ Awards for Excellence 2022, Residential Shade Sails

From the landscaper’s concept to reality this was a true test of our skills. Experienced Waikato installer Mike Atwood was brought in to finesse a cool-looking shade sail concept, and make it work to adhere to the core principles of shade sail design, detail and robustness. 

The installation features 3 triangle and 2 rectangle sails, fabricated in our Hastings workshop using Z16 architectural shade cloth in Charcoal. Set in Hamilton’s Highbrook subdivision, the sails needed to provide shade and shelter for not just the north-facing deck but also the home’s interior, in an extreme high wind zone.

A stuck concrete truck and a digger that couldn’t reach above the retaining wall all added to the challenge! And all through Covid lockdowns which added layers to the communications and our ability to make things happen on site.

But Mike and the customer came through and we now have a landscape client who has asked for more quotes since, so well done Mike and the team on this impressive effort and show of skill.

Get more ideas specific to Residential homes here:   RESIDENTIAL

Wairoa College – by Mark Hannan, Sunshade Hawke’s Bay licensee
WINNER: OPFANZ Awards for Excellence, Commercial Shade Sails

Wairoa College asked our local Hawke’s Bay licensee Mark to create a large range of shaded spaces across the school grounds, to provide much-needed UV protection for rangatahi. The shades needed to tie in with the existing environment and established trees, be resistant to graffiti, meet the budget and stand up to the high wind zone. 

The main complexity of this job was the scale and sheer number of sails and posts involved (10 sails, 29 posts!).

Another challenge was the location, in a small rural town about 120kms from our business. 

You can learn more about the project here

The result is a serious set of shade sails and sun protection for the students, and we’re proud to have created a stylish set of architectural shades that invite rangatahi to hang out in a variety of spaces.

Get more ideas specific to the Education sector here:   EDUCATION

Further kudos

We also wish to acknowledge our Auckland Licensee, Seaton Meredith, who entered the blinds and screens category for this awesome custom PVC screen installation at a rustic rural barn-style property. 

While the project didn’t receive a gong, it is still an impressive piece of work!

Sunshade Group Ltd co-Director Suzanne Hoyt was delighted with the wins.

Ziptrak blinds for covered verandah in semi-rural Auckland NZ

“I feel all of our licencees are very deserving because we know how hard they have been working. Mike is 10 years + experienced in the shade sail world but continues to rise to new challenges and expand his expertise with examples like this award-winning Highbrook job,” says Suzanne.

“Mark on the other hand has a 20 year legacy working with shade sails and screen systems and has kind of become our ‘Yoda’ – his attention to detail and ability to carry out these large scale jobs with precision is a testament to an owner/operator who has really honed his craft.”

Georgie and Alexi, winners at OFPANZ Apprentice of the Year 2022
Georgie and Alexi from our workshop were both recognised at this year's Industrial Textile Apprentice of the Year Awards.

“In addition to our Sunshade licensees taking out two categories this year, we are also delighted to have two of our workshop apprentices receive accolades in the Apprentice of the Year. One team member was named Tier 1 Apprentice of the Year, and the other received the Highly Commended.”

“Overall this year’s awards offered some great recognition of the hard work our teams put in.”

Looking for your own slice of shade sail paradise?

Browse our shade sails here, or check out our solutions with premium high-grade umbrellas and outdoor blinds here, or simply contact us now and we’ll guide you through.

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Why choose NZ Made for your shade sail?
Back to News

Why choose NZ Made for your shade sail?

  • Advice
- July 13, 2022

Shade sails have become increasingly popular over the last several years, and for good reason. They are visually appealing, incredibly efficient, and affordable when creating shade in an outdoor space – large, small, permanently, or temporarily.

With rising global temperatures having the right shade structure in place is becoming increasingly important. The right shade will make your outdoor space more comfortable while protecting you from the damaging effects of excessive UV exposure. A NZ-made shade sail is the best way to ensure a customised solution that fits your needs and our local conditions.

How you can ensure your shade sail is fit for the purpose

Residential shade sail solutions by Sunshade

Understanding your outdoor environment and what sort of shade you are wanting to achieve is crucial to ensuring you get the best outcome.

Some key elements to consider are:  

  • Style – how the sail will look and its visual appeal, including colour and fabric choice.
  • Shape – traditional shapes such as triangles/rectangles or a custom shape based on your outdoor area.
  • Size – what level of coverage you require.
  • Number – will one sail be enough, or should you consider multiple?

The final piece of the puzzle is to be clear on what you are wanting to achieve with your sail. 

You may be looking to create an enticing outdoor space to spend time, extend the lifespan of your outdoor furniture, or provide UV protection to your family, as examples. It is most likely that it will be some combination of these reasons, plus plenty more. 

Ultimately, a custom-made sail based on your unique requirements will ensure you leave your mark on your backyard far better compared to a mass-produced off-the-shelf product.

Why NZ-made is the best option for your shade sail 

Residential deck shade sail solutions by Sunshade

Environment

One of the many benefits of using a NZ-produced shade sail is that NZ manufacturers understand NZ conditions. In comparison, offshore products are often built with offshore conditions in mind.

Why does this matter?

Take the impacts of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light as an example. It is well known that too much exposure to UV light can increase your chances of skin cancer. NZ has been found to have up to 40% higher peak UV levels than levels in similar North American latitudes. 

With an awareness of this, NZ manufacturers actively source products and design solutions with the highest possible UV protection in mind. Factors taken into account will include the use of UV stable fabrics, specifically designed for Australasia and proven in NZ for 20 years. As well as this, ensuring that the material selected will have a warranty well beyond off-the-shelf alternatives (such as Sunshade’s ten-year UV warranty on Z16 and E32 fabrics).

End result

You would be hard-pressed to beat the quality of workmanship from NZ designers and fabricators, especially those based at Sunshade’s central facility in Hawke’s Bay. Local knowledge will ensure:

  • the best positioning of your sail,
  • your sail is designed and installed for NZ conditions and your site,
  • colours used will work best for your location and stay colour-fast for longer in NZ conditions.

After installation support

A local manufacturer will ensure your sail is expertly installed. They will consider everything from using marine grade fixings for locations in seaside areas to avoid rust, to long-term impacts on the rest of your property.

Not only this, but you will always have local back-up for scheduled maintenance and advice should you require it. Long-term support like this will ensure you continue to get the most out of your sail for years to come.

Support Local

It often goes without saying but purchasing NZ-made means you are supporting a local owner operator. Local businesses create jobs in our communities – keeping food on the table and a roof over the heads of people in our community.

Your investment in your shade sail will continue to be reinvested into your local economy. For example, local businesses are generous sponsors of local charities, clubs and events.

The team at Sunshade NZ

It’s time to choose NZ-made for your shade sail

Custom made shade sails by SunshadeNZ

Now that you’re clear on why NZ-made shade sails are the best option, it’s time to call in the experts.

The Sunshade team are here to support and guide you through each step of the process, from planning to fabric selection to installation and everything in between. 

Ready to explore how a NZ-made shade sail can benefit your outdoor space?
Contact us today to get started.

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Innovative play happens underneath sails for shade
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Innovative play happens underneath sails for shade

  • Education
  • Projects
- June 23, 2022

Creating a functional and fun space for your school with smart weather protection

Sunshade has been featured in Term 2’s School News magazine. We were delighted to share our experience and advice for anyone looking to improve the quality of shade cover for tamariki in New Zealand schools. Here’s an excerpt from the article if you missed it:

Outdoor play is the pinnacle of joy for kids at school, however even sunny days can have a dark side!

Looking at a recent JAMA Dermatology Study, Melanoma cases are set to skyrocket, increasing by 50% over the next 18 years. This does not bode well for New Zealand, which already has one of the highest mortality rates for Melanoma in the world.

And it is not just our skin we need to look after from our harsh New Zealand sun, but also sunlight. Did you know strong sunlight can also affect our focus, stamina and our longer-term wellbeing? This becomes very apparent to teachers in schools; students can become fatigued and lethargic in the heat and the glare can impair their vision.

Child hugging shade sail pole pad

This places shade as a critical part of any school’s health and safety mitigation strategy.

Why are shade sails the solution to sun protection in NZ schools?

UV Protection and Safety

Shade sails are a highly effective solution to create a safe and shady space for play, as they provide high UV protection and shelter from the sun and heat. At Sunshade, we use textiles with at least 50 UPF and a UVR block of no less than 90 percent. Our fabrics are also strength-tested, fire-tested and certified by structural engineers.

Sunshade NZ custom shade sails solution for ECE centre play area

Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne Owner/Operator Mark Hannan describes some of the worst shade structures that he has seen in some schools.

“Aside from inadequately durable fabrics, probably the worst thing I see in schools is loose shade sails. These can be an accident waiting to happen or at least degrade shades more quickly; another problem arises where the shade sails have not been fixed correctly and could cause damage to property in an extreme weather event. If it is not attached to something seriously strong or it is sagging or visibly damaged in places, it’s time for a repair or refit.”

What are the latest trends in school shade sails?

Sunshade sails also create a striking effect and come in a wide selection of colours and styles, turning a sunny space into a functional and fun space. It also enables opportunities to escape the classroom and participate in outdoor learning which not only improves the well-being and resilience of students, but also contributes to their mental and physical well-being. Not to mention reducing the spread of viruses within our schools.

Mark has the current trends for Sunshade at schools.

“Awesome shade sail fit-out requests lately have been for playground space designs without centre poles, allowing for uninterrupted play in the space underneath. Others use rectangles to cast strong blocks of shade when the sun is at its highest which also ends up looking cool. It really depends on the space and the needs of the school, so custom designs are a strong trend. Shades can be an opportunity to bring the school colours to life too; Primary schools tend to choose some fun colours. In areas where graffiti or damage might be a concern, some schools are also opting for more forgiving colours like black and charcoal and pole pads continue to be a standard requirement for knock prevention too.”

Needing quality shade + shelter protection at your school or kohanga? 

Talk to your local expert, or fire us a quote request today.

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