Steel utilized as the main element in building infrastructure is common and used in most large commercial buildings and homes, but is often hidden in the interiors. Staircases, bridges, outdoor railings and many other uses are also common, but steel is less often used as a true visual, architectural element. Patio covers, tenting and shade sails are typically supported by steel mounts, but when it is incorporated into the design for outdoor shade, steel design framing can create a striking profile to the installation.
We love the rain in the southwest. In fact, we count on it for a good portion of the annual rainfall in the summer months. Winter snows in the mountains and throughout northern New Mexico count for much of the balance each year. But as anyone who has lived here for a year soon discovers, weather can come in with a blast and often does! High winds, dramatic temperature changes, downpours and hail are common, with ensuing floods and sometimes dangerous conditions.
As shade sails can be constructed in virtually any geometric shape and designed to cover nearly any area, you might as well have some fun with it. From a massive cover which will require some center supports to multiple sails to shield a large area, the first consideration is knowing the space below and how the sun moves over it during the day. Begin by defining the hot spots (those areas which receive the greatest sun) and the cooler spots (those which require some shade but not full coverage).
Domed awnings offer the classic dressy or professional profile. We see them on hotel entries, restaurants, galleries and businesses. The arched construction offers shelter from the elements and allows rain to run off the sides. Often finished with a scalloped or decorative valance, they look polished and upscale and are appealing in the curved embrace of their design.
There are a surprising variety of applications for outdoor screening. Constructed of a heavy mesh, outdoor screening shields areas from 90% of UV rays from the sun and protects areas from wind and weather. Screening can be mounted as fixed protection from the elements or mounted on rollers and hung so that it can be rolled up or down as needed.
Have you marked your calendars?! The Annual Home Show is at the Santa Fe Convention Center March 11th and 12th. That’s THIS weekend!
Retractable awnings are in great demand from coast to coast for the simple reason that they offer flexibility. Based on the design of a straight slope covering, the awning protects the width of a doorway or window and extends out to block the area below from the heat of the sun or shield in the rain. Blocking direct sunlight from windows and doors reduces the volume of heat transmitted to the interior and actually reduces energy cooling costs, particularly during the hottest part of the day.
Patio screening offers the best solution to shield outdoor living spaces from wind as well as shielding from heat and damage from the sun’s burning UV rays. Fabricated of a durable vinyl construction, the weave allows for flexibility, some passage of air and a high degree of visibility from the interior.
When summer draws to a close and the scents of fall are in the air we turn our focus to winter planning. Stock up on firewood, check the seals on windows and doors, remove dead plants from the flower pots and have furnaces checked and flues cleaned. Heating bills are added to household and business budgets, and for some business owners there is the potential loss of revenue particularly for the hospitality industry.
There is an art to covering spaces to shield areas from the sun. Awnings frame windows and doorways; patio covers, both fabric and aluminum, extend from the sides of the home over yards; screening pulls down from portals and windows. All of these installations are restricted by the their mounts and the relatively small areas they protect. But shade sails know no bounds and are limited only by the imaginations of those who design them.