Summer Shade

Although this summer has been a bit of a let down there have been days that reached 35 degrees and instead of scurrying off inside to find some summer shade its much nicer to be outside in the dappled shade and enjoying the breeze.

There are as many types of sun shades here in Portugal as there are rainy days in the UK. We have tried just about them all with varying degrees of success. Temporary cloth-covered shades from parasols to garden tents (arbors) are great for the UK where you will use them for a very limited time and the put them away.

Make sure that you do put them away because all of ours have been destroyed by the wind. The problem is that as we have a longer summer here in Portugal we leave our garden shades up longer putting them at risk to high winds.

Then of course there is the sun or more correct the UV light which bleaches and makes brittle any plastic or plastic related products. The best solution for Portugal is a more solid structure that can be left outside all year and for many years to come.

A few that work well are alpendres which are tiled roofs on stone or timber legs
Then there are Pergolas which are usually timber, metal or concrete. Great for growing plants over the top of

A low-cost version can be built utilizing the giant bamboo that grows here, Its strong and cheep but it also splits is subject to wood worm and rots quickly

Suspended sheets of sail material are attractive but you must ensure that they are mounted into a very solid  fixing point if you are mounting them on a Portuguese house you must fix the to the reinforced concrete structure  not the bricks as they are just not strong enough    A small problem with these shades is that birds tend to mess on top of them and it take a while for these marks to washed off which can look a little off-putting.