This is an aside post.

It’s summertime and the living can be easy, but also breezy, windy and hot, making it difficult for entertaining, not to mention the health risks from potentially dangerous doses of the sun.

Protect yourself and guests with some ideas that will still allow everyone to enjoy backyard fun. The relentless heat from the sun’s rays also can pose a threat to pets and plants.

Find some simple ways — awnings, canopies, curtains, umbrellas, sail cloths — to cover outdoor living spaces without spending a lot of money. And for your plants, consider extra mulch, early morning watering and using companion plants that can take the heat to protect those that don’t.

“Whether you’re a homeowner, a guest at a resort or enjoying any kind of outdoor space, sporting event, outdoor dining, whatever, people enjoy being outside,” said Vince Hankins, industrial business manager for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, the makers of the performance fabric Sunbrella. “And while there are so many healthful aspects of being outdoors, people are quite concerned about what can be the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation over a long period of time.”

Some good choices for backyards are shade structures. They provide an opportunity to be outside and with protection.

“There are a myriad of structures available today, shade fabrics and coverings designed today that can help protect you in a beautiful and pleasurable way that still enhances the outdoor living space,” Hankins said.

An increasingly notable option is the shade sail, which can be found at outdoor parking areas, playgrounds, car dealerships and baseball fields. But now they’re finding a way into backyards with more frequency. The Sunbrella contour fabric is specifically for sun sails. It has a mesh design, Hankins said, that breathes, allowing air to flow through while helping to block out the sun.

Today, homeowners can design outdoor spaces with fashion and function in mind. Shade product choices run the gamut from fixed frame awnings, lateral arm retractable awnings to umbrellas. Another consideration can be pergolas or fixed structures, enhanced with a fabric component, that can utilize a wire system or one that can be drawn or deployed much like a window shade. Use portable room dividers or privacy screens. Consider hanging curtains.

The idea is to help take the heat and harmful rays off you.


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