made in the shade

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by Kendra Lee

Today’s top choices for keeping the New Mexico sun at bay

Longing to relax in your backyard but have no place to hide from the blazing sun? Well, toss that flimsy pop-up umbrella and prepare to move up to the big leagues!

“First, decide on its main purpose—keep the sun out, entertain, protect your home,” states Crystal Skiba of Patio Cover Designs by S. “Knowing its purpose will help you determine material, shade level and location.” A plethora of patio cover options will satisfy all aesthetics and shade needs. And you can choose your level of commitment—removable shades or a permanent structure.

Shade Sails
An economical alternative to a permanent structure, shade sails are the latest in backyard shade solutions. These triangular and square shaped tensioned fabrics add a modern twist to any yard. And because they block up to 90 percent of ultraviolet rays, they’re perfect above swimming pools, sandboxes and jungle gyms. They come in a variety of colors to punch-up your outdoor space.

Solar Screens
The popularity of solar screens is rising as fast as the New Mexico heat! “The most effective method of reducing heat is enclosing a space with screening. Heavy mesh screens allow air through, while blocking the sun and the heat it generates,” says Jeffrey Maul, owner of Albuquerque/Santa Fe Awning. Screens are best for backyards with sections of intense or full sun, and they can be easily added to patios, pergolas and ramadas for additional shade.

Outdoor Curtains
Like indoor curtains, outdoor curtains provide sun blockage and privacy. But when installed on a pergola, curtains create a relaxing ambience … like stepping into a cozy resort cabana. This is an easy way to bring in color and texture that you can easily change by the season or your mood!

Solid Structures
Solid patio covers offer complete sun protection and create a convenient year-round outdoor space. When done correctly it looks as if it has always been there. Insulated solid covers keep your patio cool, are great for homes with full sun exposure, and they’re ideal if you’re installing recessed lighting, a ceiling fan or TV.

Pergolas and Ramadas
Pergolas and ramadas remain a highly popular shade solution. Why wouldn’t they? They’re functional, come in varying sizes and designs and add architectural interest. Both are suited for any outdoor gathering space—dining area, lounge area, fire pit or cocktail bar. Unlike pergolas, ramadas have solid roofs and provide complete shade so if you’re installing an outdoor kitchen or entertainment area, a ramada is the right choice.

Vigas and Latillas
If you want to step up, a solid structure topped with latillas might be right for you. An authentic Southwestern design, latillas are peeled branches or wood laid between beams of a ceiling structure. They are commonly paired with vigas or even a pergola to create complete cover. While their purpose is to provide shade, today’s latillas honor the Old West and elevate a home’s current beauty.

resources

Albuquerque/Santa Fe Awning
Patio Cover Designs by S