Our back patio faces west. In other words, we get beamed every afternoon by the very hot sun. Plant some trees and give yourself some shade you say? I wish...
The layout going east to west goes like this:
Sliding glass door, covered patio, open patio, pool, fence. There is no space between the house and the fence to plant a tree without cutting into the concrete. I worry...about roots invading our pool and cracking it. I worry...about dropping leaves that cause havoc on the ph balance of the pool. I hear pine needles are deadly with all their oils. And we're already having ph balance issues after the pool man kindly obliged to my request of lowering the chlorine. I making the pool green!
For almost seven years I've schemed on how to give us shade without having to do a complete overhaul of the back yard. There is no way to shade the house without completely shading the pool. Finding a solution while taking into consideration shaded areas, cost, impact on the pool and style has been daunting.
Meanwhile, inside in our living, dining and kitchen areas we feel the heat through the windows. We sweat and bake, specially in summer, where it honestly feels as if the sun has her face smooched up against our back sliding glass door! Even after adding insulation to the house we continued to feel the heat a great deal. It was miserable....until I had an idea!
A very long time ago I remember being in South Beach for a business meeting. We met at a bar (because that is where business takes place in cities with the word "beach" in their name). We sat in low, white sofa like lounge chairs and the entire outside patio had long, flowing, white curtains. They were useful to block the sun, add privacy and looked romantic yet regal. That was the solution! Long, flowing, white curtains hung on the outside of our covered patio! And to Ikea we ran!
We bought 5 Merete curtain sets. I used 3 panels per patio section. So in between each post I used 3 panels. I wanted a very industrial looking set of hardware to hang the curtains. I was thinking pipe and cool looking yacht hooks. However, the rings on the curtains didn't slide smoothly on the test pipe. The cost was a bit daunting to. Those cool looking yacht hooks can run $20-50 each. I kept it simple and used the Hugad rods, the thicker of their rods, in silver and the Betydlig brackets in silver as well. The rods are $4 a piece and the brackets $1.50. You just can't beat that! We'll see how they hold up to exterior weather conditions but at these prices I don't mind having to replace them every 2-3 years.
The idea has been a success! In the mornings the curtains are pulled apart and we get our view of the pool. As soon as the sun makes it over the house and starts peeking in which happens around 2pm we draw all the curtains. The sun is completely blocked. It's still very bright. The drop in temperature inside the house is amazing! Instead of hiding away from the outdoors in the afternoon we now use the patio. The temperature is tolerable now and we've gained not just our living and dining areas back but our patio as well!
I think the house has a resort feel to it now. I feel like I'm back in South Beach. Dave predicts we'll take the curtains down in the winter but I feel we'll use them during the cold months as well. I think they will make the patio warm enough for us to want to spend more time out there. Rain is the only kicker. They get pretty dirty from the water on the ground. But it's nothing a run through the washing machine won't get rid of.
We've really loved our new curtains outside. They even make a pretty cool back drop for pictures as you can see in the top picture!
Labels: outdoor living, pool, shade