Shade with Outdoor Canopies
Outdoor canopies are usually the most dramatic element that you can bring into your yard. You need to make sure that you keep them in great shape just because they are always going to be the focal point. First, you’re going to need to choose fabric that’s very durable. Not only does it need to be able to withstand all of the wind and rain that is outdoors you also need to consider the sun. This is especially vital if you are using this for shade because UV protection is something that you really need to take into account. It also determines how well the fabric is going to hold it’s pattern and color because the sun can really fade these items especially if they’re in bolder shades.
If you’re using this for an event then you might want to consider draping a pergola. Usually pergolas seem quite modern. This adds more of a romantic aspect. This isn’t a permanent solution and it doesn’t provide any kind of shade but it does give you a lot of atmosphere. For this purpose pick a sheer white fabric. You can cover all of the posts, and even the tops of the pergolas.
The other way to create an outdoor canopy is weaving the fabric through the slats of your pergola. You need to be careful not to tear or snag the fabric through this process. This creates Caribbean looks or an opulent Tuscan area depending on the type of fabric that you go with. It might be able to be a permanent solution especially if you get a heavier weight fabric.
If you like the draping idea but you want more permanent solutions then consider retractable canopies. This concept isn’t just for awnings. The pergola will need to be designed around this. Oftentimes it doesn’t even have a lot of cross beams that you would typically find. Instead it uses a pleated or folded fabric that you can pull back and forth depending on how much shade or sun you want. This gives you the most options for your patio shade. Usually these tend to be quite architectural. Instead, patio canopies allow you to change this depending on the time of year or just the time of day. Since the canopy is so expensive in this instance, I would go with a neutral color and also the most durable fabric that you can find. It’s one of the few outdoor canopy projects that isn’t a DIY project. This fabric itself needs a lot of structure and grommets on it so it’s not something a beginner seamstress can tackle.
There are even some natural canopies that you can create through the use of plants. This could be over an arbor or an entire pergola. You might have some rotting and insect damage to be aware of when you choose to use these climbing plants over the structure. Wisteria seems to be a favorite with its pale gray and lavender color palette. It will provide you with a little bit of shade.
Canopy Swing Tips
The most traditional type of canopy is actually a swing but you can definitely make it more chic than the traditional metal and outdoor fabric look. Instead, find more of a wood pergola swing, although you may have to use some wood working plans and build this piece yourself. You may need to use fabric on top of this depending on how much shade you want. This also eliminates cheaper outdoor fabric if you live in rougher or colder climates where this won’t hold up that well. It also helps you to stick within a pretty classic color scheme too. You will probably have to stain or paint this frequently to keep it looking great, but it still does give you a swing that’s more elegant than what most other people have in their yards.
There are many different types of canopies for swings. If you really want a dramatic look then find a canopy that also encompasses the sides instead of just being a typical awning on the top of the swing. This can provide you with privacy from your neighbors. Whenever fabric drapes down it tends to add more of a tropical look. Awnings themselves tend to be slightly more formal and French in style.
The other way to use a canopy swing that’s innovative but also classic looking at the same time is just in the placement. Try hanging these from one side of your pergola so you still get shade. I like to see the same silhouette and color on both the pergola and the swing. This means matching natural wood tones or going with painted white pieces for more of a cottage like effect. Again, you won’t get as much shade this way as using an actual canopy, but it does help you to streamline your yard and get one more use out of your patio.