The most sought after segment of an outside living area in Arizona is shade.
There are a number of solutions available in today's market. You may want protection from the sun and rain on a patio attached to the house or perhaps freestanding near an eating area. Others want protection over their spa for year-round enjoyment. You may even want vertical protection on a carport or side yard to give shade and privacy.
Sailcloth is bright and colorful but not as durable, especially in our monsoon storms. Shade cloth and canvas still have ultraviolet light that penetrates and is affected by UV.
Wood lattice is what I had at my house from many years ago. While it looks rustic the wood is not recommended because of dry rot. Any lattice gives shade lines but not complete shade or protection from rain.
Aluminized shade cloth is a high-tech shade cloth fabric that has changed the greenhouse and horticulture industry because it reflects the ultraviolet heat so it takes out the burning of plants when temperatures soar over 100 degrees. It can be used to shade patio areas or plants in the garden from the hot summer sun. It is available in various widths and on long rolls. The reinforced high-tech poly propane wire gives it support. It can be attached to a structure or draped over plants. This product gives 20 degrees cooler and 50 percent less ultraviolet light than black shade cloth. The aluminized shade cloth has the most ultraviolet but is not waterproof.
Frame and stucco is conventional but more expensive. The solid roof gives full protection from the sun and rain but it doesn't give ventilation or sun in the winter.
Alumawood is a good choice because the aluminum reflects the ultraviolet light and requires no maintenance. It is available as lattice that only gives 50 percent shade.
Solara adjustable "smart patio cover" lets you enjoy the best of all worlds, all seasons. The patio cover is dynamic and can be transformed according to weather conditions and your demands. This means that you are in charge of the amount of light and shade you want, including protection from sun or rain, while not giving up the refreshing breezes we enjoy in Arizona. Solara's patio cover is made entirely of aluminum (including the roof shutters, which open and close as you desire) and, therefore, requires no maintenance at all. Solara's "smart" patio cover enables you to significantly increase your living space and quality of life during our optimum spring and fall as well as hot summer days or during the colder and possibly rainy winter season. Our customers say, "We live on our patio!"
It can be designed with a curve on the roof, fully adjustable for lighting and ventilation and year-round usage. The finish is all powder-coated aluminum so it has no maintenance. It is engineered to withstand 110 mph winds and is environmentally friendly. This unit is economical to build and a breeze to sit under. It ventilates like opening two windows in opposite parts of your home so the breeze blows through. In the winter you can open to let in light to warm the patio or home and plants. It is available with either a manual or low-voltage motor to open and close to control light, ventilation and 98 percent rain. A Solara ramada can be freestanding or attached to the house. For slightly more than many of the lattice systems you will use your patio 12 months of the year.
Gary and Sharon Petterson own Gardener's World and Gardener's Eden Landscaping in Phoenix, 3401 E. Baseline Road. Reach them at (602) 437-0700. For the nursery, call (602) 437-2233 or visit www.gardenpro.net, and for landscaping, visit www.gardenersedenaz.com.