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In the sun—sun sails, awnings and parasols

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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We all need a bit of protection from the sun (at least 3 times a year!) and who says we have to do it without style? If you're going to be in the garden or on the balcony all day, enjoying the weather, then you should take a look  at a few cool ideas from a selection of our professionals. These ideas can be applied throughout your garden in a variety of different ways. Sun sails, awnings and parasols not only give you protection from the sun but can also add a great looking feature to wherever it's placed in your home.

Shade sails

Shade sails, or sun sails, have become more and more popular in our gardens in recent years and ever since the construction of the millennium dome, some years back now, this, more playful, form has been brought into our lives with smooth, graceful peaks and troughs. They do, of course, come in all shapes and sizes and are, to some extent, adjustable to suit the space in your garden.

When buying something like this, think about the following:

1.When setting up the awning should make sure that it has a certain inclination, so that rain water can run off optimally.

2. They get grubby! So make sure you find your way round to cleaning it once in a while.

3. They will discolour over time, so perhaps a white on is a good idea.

4. Investing a little extra into one of these is well worth it; the colour will last longer, it will be more durable and your wont have to clean it so regularly.


A parasol or umbrella/parasol fusion is a good addition to any sun trap on a hot day. Collapsible and easy to clean as well as functional and highly weather resistant, the modern day garden parasol is something that we can admire as well as make use of; practical with the option of beautiful (should you want it!).

When buying a parasol or umbrella for your place, consider the following:

1. You're best off buying a garden parasol in the autumn, when no one is buying them and stores are clearing out stock.

2. Invest in one with certified UV protection, or you might end up burned

3. Find one with descent stability: connection to the ground, pole (that wont snap in medium strength winds) and a robust looking pulley system for when you need to erect it.


Very popular on roof terraces and balconies, due to their retractability, ease of storage and use, and come with a variety of styles and technology behind each model. Whether you want a manual or an automatic, take a look at these tips below for some good pointers:

1. Dry brush the awning once a month or so to make sure all those little bits of dust and flies don't stain it when it gets wet -they are not easy to wash!

2. If you have a non-rainproof awning, get it in as soon as possible when it starts to rain and, when it stops, get it open again to dry it out quickly. Reason being that when its all rolled up you might not use it for a while afterwards and if its damp then it will be mouldy!

3. When installing, make sure your desired area of attachment is robust enough to take the full weight of the awning x2 -to account for winds. Also, getting a professional to install it is a good idea!

Need more garden ideas? Check out other ideabooks—'Summer tips' and 'Garden furniture'

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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