Shady Characteristics

If you read about how hot my barbecue is, then you’ve seen the difference that a little shade made.

Here are a few ideas for shade:

1. Trees. Plant a deciduous tree that can provide shade in the summer and loses its leaves in the winter to allow the sunlight through. Considerations: low water use, allow room for mature canopy, select trees with non-invasive roots, maintenance, consult with your local nursery for the proper tree for the application.

2. Solar panels. Not only do they provide renewable alternative energy, if located on a roof or near a wall they can also provide shade. If on the roof, most solar panel installations provide an air gap between the panels and the roofing material. The panels themselves are a dense and dark material and they get hot. The air gap prevents the heat from radiating to the roofing and the shade lowers the temperature of the roofing and attic.

3. Stand-off panels or Wall Trellis. Homeowners Associations might not allow something attached to the walls. However, in Arizona, there is a law that allows you to install solar panels and there isn’t much the Homeowners Associations can restrict. Arizona Senate Bill 1254 Realizing that solar panels function best on the roof tilted toward the south, wall shade probably isn’t the best application. However, I’ve seen some very aesthetically pleasing solar wall panels for commercial buildings. Other than solar panels being attached to east or west walls, other materials might be trellis work. You could plant a vine to climb the trellis to give more shade and color/flowers. Considerations: Structural capacity of the wall, weight of wall shade panels, wall warranty, proper installation & sealants, color (lighter colors = less heat), maintenance. Here are some examples:

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4. Shade structures. A trellis or patio cover on the east or west exposures. Considerations: Material, color (lighter colors = less heat), HOA restrictions, It’s possible a permit would be required, canvas awning, vines.

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