The Essentials of Backyard Sun Protection

Before his 30th birthday, my husband had three skin cancer surgeries. THREE. Now, we’re both pretty fair-skinned and pretty sensitive to the sun, but mercy, that’s a little bit of an overkill eh?

As a result of those skin cancers, he’s awful cautious about anything having to do with the sun. He’s religious about sun protection for himself, and we both have now focused in on making sure the twins are well-protected from the sun, as well. 

But what we’ve run into is: the twins LOVE to be outside! Which is great! But we have NO shade in our yard. Which is not great. So we’ve been looking at ways to change that.

In the midst of our search, Lillian Connors sent me over the PERFECT guest post! She sure did! Essentials of Backyard Sun Protection! It’s a nice follow-up to last week’s “6 Beautiful and Family-Friendly Backyard Ideas”!

Perhaps the greatest perk of owning a house is having a backyard. It makes a perfect chill out zone, especially during the summer. Relaxing after a hard day at work, having a party with your friends, or grilling a Sunday lunch for your family – a backyard has multiple purposes. However, you’ll need something to protect yourself from the sun and the harmful UV rays. Of course, sunscreen is a must, but creating a shade is even better so here are the essentials of protecting your backyard from the sun.

Go creative

If you’re into the interior and exterior design, you’ll probably see your backyard as an extension of your home and you’ll want it to be just as trendy as your living room and kitchen are. Do you practice yoga and meditate? You can make your own meditation pavilion as a getaway from the everyday buzz. All you need is a wood or steel construction and some colourful sheer fabric to provide protection from the sun. Vertical gardening is a major hit lately and flowerpots hanged around your backyard can provide you with some shade, too. The simplest version of this is to purchase a pergola and train vines to grow over it. Decorate with string lights or lanterns and your backyard will look amazing even when the sun goes down.

Play it safe with permanent structures

For a good, old sun protection, purchase a patio umbrella, an awning or any other protective structure. Look for dense materials since they block more UV rays and provide a better protection. Hard materials like metal or timber provide 100 percent protection, but various kinds of textiles will do just fine, too. Permanently installed structures are more durable and can withstand outdoor elements. Besides, if you opt for an awning, it will provide shade not only for your backyard but also for some parts of your house and help control the temperatures in the dog days of summer.

Opt for portable/retractable shade structures

In case you like tanning in your backyard or simply don’t want a permanent shade for any reason, then portable and retractable shade structures are just the thing for you. Go for a handy retractable pergola and you’ll get an instant shade, or you can quickly roll it up when you don’t need one. Another advantage to this is that you don’t have to take them down at the end of the season so there are no storage hassles. An even more affordable version of this is a portable shade canopy which you can move around the backyard. And in case you don’t want to worry about moody, unpredictable weather, on of those quality waterproof shade sails are the thing you are looking for.

Rely on Mother Nature

Creating a shade by smart landscaping is the most natural way to protect your backyard. If there are no trees near your house, you can always plant them yourself. Did you know that shading and evapotranspiration (a process in which plant moves and releases water vapour) can reduce the air temperature surrounding your house by 6 degrees Fahrenheit? Moreover, if you plant a tree native to your region, it’ll be twice as beneficial – both for you and for the environment. If you’re a bit impatient and want more immediate results, you can always opt for fast growing varieties – think hybrid poplar, red maple, weeping willow, American sycamore, to name just a few.

Now get your thoughts back to your yard and see what option will work best for you. Regardless of what you choose, two things are certain: you’ll be protected from the UV rays and save up a lot of money on air-conditioning bills. Pretty, affordable, and environmentally-friendly – what more can you wish for?

5a88a049c88a1e75bf5e86eaaff69a62Author Bio: 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.

Thanks for all these fantastic ideas, Lillian! I’ve been on the lookout for some of those shade sails, myself. Anyone else use them? 

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

11 thoughts on “The Essentials of Backyard Sun Protection

  1. Permanent structures are a great idea period. They do add value to the home and make for a great entertainment spot for family. My sister-in-law is looking to make a permanent structure for her family together outside but not in the Sun.

  2. We live in a condo so our only option are portables (which we need to store in the wintertime). Still works! 🙂 I remember my grandparent’s backyard though…full of trees it was wonderful.

  3. With super pale skin, I am all about sun protection. We wear sunscreen when we go outside during the sunniest parts of the day. We also seek shade whenever possible or stay inside during the hottest and sunniest parts of the day.

  4. I love the idea of retractable structures! Putting something in permanently makes me feel nervous because I never know how I’m going to feel about it!

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