Escaping from the Sun: Shading Your Backyard Pool

Backyard pools are a fabulous place to entertain guests or keep teenagers occupied. No matter how you use your pool, finding a way to grab a bit of shade during the heat of the day is something to consider. Generally speaking, large trees are not a good option because of the amount of work involved in keeping the pool clean from leaves, twigs, and other tree debris. A better option may be to install an appropriate sun shade. The proper shade will protect from UV rays and may also be a great aesthetic addition and increase the value of your home. Here are some of the more popular types of sun shades.

Shade Sails are basically a thick canvas coverings that are stretched tight and each corner is attached with a cable to wood or metal posts that are cemented into the ground. Shade sails come in almost any color and many shapes and sizes. The flexibility in colors and shapes can add an interesting and unique flair to the pool. These sails need to be weather resistant for water and wind, in order to last the test of time.

Pergolas are generally 4-post structures that support and open-beamed or lattice roof. A small pergola built over one end of the pool can provide shade and visual appeal. Using high-quality materials in the pergola construction will reduce the amount of annual maintenance needed to keep it looking great.

Retractable shade canopies are perhaps the most protective and versatile sun shades. These canopies can run the entire length of the pool. Beams are installed at the appropriate height and hold the cables and pulleys to pull the shade back and forth. Typically, large canopies are retracted with a motor and are very easy to operate with just the flip of a switch.

Cantilevered awnings are large canopies that are supported by a pole or structure on at least one side of the pool. They come in many styles from retractable canvas, to more permanent wood or metal. Typically, these awnings are limited in the width of the overhang, but they can run the length of the pool.

Freestanding large umbrellas have been used for decades around pools. Generally, umbrellas cast shade around a table or chair for poolside relaxation, but they can also be placed right at the pools edge. Several umbrellas in a row may add significant shade and are quite versatile.

Adjacent structures provide cover for those swimmers that do not want the shade while in the pool, but still want a place to escape the sun’s rays. A structure built next to the pool may be a good option for shade and relaxation. This could include a small gazebo or pergola, or even a three-sided structure. Placing lounge chairs or tables and other furniture will create a relaxing environment. People can use the pool and enjoy the sun as much as they like, then retreat to the shade for a relaxing iced tea or lemonade. These structures are great spots for people to hang out when want to socialize, but not necessarily be in the water.

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