Fall is here! Labor Day weekend in the Midwest ushered in perfectly cool air after a week of extremely hot temperatures. Imagine it being over 100 degrees in the shade! Finally Sunday morning it felt refreshing outside. The first time in months! Sitting outside reading Sunday’s paper with a cup of hot coffee, made me realize how much I truly enjoy my Coolaroo shade sails. I have had them for several years. The schedule is to put them up on Mother’s Day weekend and have them down by mid September.
As much as I would enjoy a screen porch for my own 1960’s split level home, the existing layout just doesn’t work well to add one. My combined kitchen family room faces south. A screen porch would block the great winter sunshine that is so cheerful and bright even on the coldest days. When designing new homes and renovations, a screen porch can be is a great idea when there is enough room to have daylight from other windows. If a screen porch blocks all the daylight, I do a sun and shade drawing to show clients what it feels like to make sure they understand how dark it will be. “It feels dark” is a compliant I hear often of why clients would like to change their existing home. Sometimes it is because a house faces north which naturally doesn’t have the light desired or the windows are too small or maybe windows are only on one side of a room. There are many reasons. Adding a screen porch that covers the entire back of a home won’t help.
Shading with trees and removable shade sails are wonderful ways to block the hot summer sun but allow warming winter light. It can be done with a shade structure as the Coolaroo (www.coolaroousa.com) pictured or even with a beautiful tree carefully located. The picture shows a crab apple I planted a few years ago. It was planted so it would shade my deck but when the leaves fall in the late fall it allows light into the family room. This tree has added benefit that isn’t messy as its fruit doesn’t drop but stays on the branches until eaten allowing birds and squirrels (!) to feast throughout the winter.
The Coolaroo shade adds ever changing dappled light throughout the day as the earth moves. The mesh fabric allows filtered light creating amazing patterns. For years I used several large umbrellas but the Midwestern wind and the space the stands used on the decks made them delicate and clunky at the same time! Too many times there were blown over and damaged. The Coolaroo’s securely installed have little maintenance.
The tree and the overhead sails combine to create a fantastic outdoor space that isn’t completely enclosed but feels as an outdoor room should! It is an exciting space to sit, read or eat to enjoy day and celebrate the beautiful weather.