For many people, summertime is their favorite season. In this vibrant time of the year, nature shrouds itself in the most vivacious colors while the sun’s eye gazes down with invigorating warmth. Since kids have fewer obligations at school, this is also the favorite time for a holiday.
Whether you are vacationing on the seaside or in your backyard, one thing is certain – your kids will be exposed to the sun a lot. While sunscreens and hats can do their part, they aren’t always enough to protect you from the strong sun. You need to resort to landscaping and home improvement for additional layers of protection.
If your family likes to spend a lot of time in the backyard, natural shade is the most reliable way of protection. Since ancient times, people have used trees as the most common protection from the sun. Tree canopies and other greenery won’t only provide a thick shade and reduce the UV exposure in your backyard, but also make evenings more pleasant.
Plan early, grow fast
If you buy a new house, don’t wait for long – plant a shade tree that is native to your region and more importantly, is known for developing a rich canopy. Still, it will take several years to grow, so perhaps you’d like to buy a sapling that grows quickly. To this end, you should look into fast growing species and find those that are adequate for your backyard.
In case you cannot wait for the shade trees to grow, or your landlord doesn’t approve of planting them, the next best solution is to raise a shade structure. UV rays can pass through most solid shade surfaces. It is known that brick, tile, wood and metal can block up to 100% of UV rays. That makes patio roofs the most effective man-made solutions. For those with bigger backyards, a nice gazebo can provide a pleasing focal point.
Covering a big backyard is rarely a solutions This is why many homeowners come up with creative solutions, for example raising backyards tepees for their children to play in, or installing makeshift awnings or sheets of linen to create ‘cool zones’. Still, cloth materials are porous and much less effective in stopping UV rays than ‘hard’ structures.
Learn from the pros
People in the hospitality industry recognize the benefits of outdoor umbrellas and marquees on hot summer days and use them extensively in their outdoor dining areas. These mobile structures come in an impressive variety of styles and colours, and can fit almost anywhere.
For most backyards, a cantilever umbrella is an elegant and practical solution, designed for durability in outdoor conditions, with a UPF 50+ polyester canopy. Perhaps the most interesting feature is that the actual stalk is outside the shaded area, so the space can be used more efficiently than with traditional umbrella designs.
The numbers don’t add up
When it comes to sun protection lotions, sometimes the numbers on the box don’t make much of a difference. A UPF 30 provides a 97% protection from UV rays, and a UPF 100 blocks about 99%. The difference most certainly doesn’t justify the price range, and between 10 AM and 5 PM there is no foolproof way to tan. While spending some time exposed to the sun is beneficial for your vitamin D levels, after as little as ten minutes, you’ll need additional protection. This is especially true for children. If there is simply no way they’ll sit in the shade during the middle of the day, a white linen long-sleeve shirt and a brightly coloured sunhat will keep them protected.
With plenty of greenery and shade in the backyard, you can give your kids a play zone without worrying about sunburns and sunstroke. By combining at least two of these solutions, you’ll be able to put one worry behind and enjoy fun activities with your family.
If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of green living/home improvement projects and spread the word about them. She cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.