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Keep Your Outdoor Experience Cool And Refreshing with these Made-in-the-Shade Options
By Barbara Kuntz

Sooner than we know it, we’ll all be seeking shelter when those summer rays start baking Texas with 100 degree-plus temps. Get ready now with outdoor shade options, from colorful umbrellas; to more extensive pergolas, arbors and gazebos; to entire enclosures. You’ll be “made in the shade” — and most importantly, cool and comfortable.

For starters, consider investing in an umbrella, and not just your average umbrella. Today’s instant shade-makers are super-tech with rust-proof hardware, high-performance fittings and UV sun protection available in all shapes, colors, sizes and price points. You’ll find them at numerous home and garden stores to outdoor furniture specialty shops.

Check out JANUS et Cie's luxury line of umbrellas and romantic, draped day beds for the ultimate in outdoor socializing and snoozing, as well as The California Umbrella Co.'s expansive inventory of fanciful, frilly and fun umbrella-top canopies.

The Shade Shop Inc., a family-run business since 1918 specializing in custom window treatments and outdoor shading solutions, offers shade sail beauties to easily adjust where you don’t want the sun to shine. Featuring sleek, stainless steel poles and an exclusive canvas material, shade sails can retract manually or with a motorized operating system. Price points are $7,500-$10,500.

“These are popular, and when people see them, they fall in love with them,” says Sara Beckmann of The Shade Shop.

There’s more in store for retractable shade products, such as patio screens and awnings. The Shade Shop’s extensive line of handcrafted protection designed to your custom needs and specifications makes it easy to create an outdoor oasis.

“We stand out in that our awnings and patio screens offer more modern selections,” Beckmann says. “They’re stainless steel structures that extend when you need them and are perfect for homes and restaurants, too.”

Motorized retractable solar or insect screens lower to provide shade and natural ventilation, protection from insects and enhanced privacy — all without blocking your view. With the touch of a button, they retract out of sight when no longer needed. Retractable awnings come in a wide selection of fabrics, frame colors and styles and run from $2,500-$12,000.

Rolltex Shutters, too, carries retractable solar screens and awnings, as well as rolling shutters, accordion shutters, armor panels, storm panels, hurricane-protection screens, security protection and energy-savings screens.

Transform your hot tub, swimming pool or entire deck into a mosquito- and bug-free zone with a full screen enclosure. These units, as N and V Patio, Construction & Remodeling LLC carries, also reduce harmful UV rays and the clutter of leaves and other unwanted debris.

“Our pool screen enclosures are made from high-quality structural aluminum, which retains the original color, gloss, texture for years to come and are virtually maintenance free, crafted to never rust, warp, crack, rot or become infested with insects,” Shelley Moore of N and V emails.

She also notes lots of other materials can be integrated or used in combination to deliver a custom-finished product to complement the architectural look of any house — and sure to please each and every homeowner.

Available attached to your house or as standalone structures, screen enclosures can be installed within a week, depending on the level of difficulty and project location. Prices start at about $9,900 for a freestanding unit.

Ready to go for the gusto with an entire deck, arbor or even an open-air, roofed building? Local companies such as Frederick Builders & Remodelers Inc., Home Exterior Systems, Houston Home Improvements Patio Covers and Texas Decks are ready to assist.

Houston Home Improvements specializes in building custom patio covers, outdoor kitchens and carports and guarantees to match your existing home construction. “We give you a brand new house at the same old address” is the motto at Home Exterior Systems. And call on Texas Decks for yes, decks, and much more, such as patio covers, arbors and pergolas complete with ceiling fans for that much-needed breeze on hot, humid days.

Costs for these additions vary, depending on the size and scope of the jobs.


The California Umbrella Co.

Frederick Builders & Remodelers Inc.


Home Exterior Systems

Houston Home Improvements Patio Covers
8019 Shangrila Lane

JANUS et Cie
3934 San Felipe St.

Latham Pool Products Inc.

N and V Patio, Construction & Remodeling LLC
13331 Veterans Memorial Drive
Suite D

Rolltex Shutters
3004 Beverly Road

The Shade Shop Inc.
4122 Richmond Ave.

Texas Decks
405 E. 31st St.

Houston Web Design Company