Those of us living in the continental United States will experience at least a few days of hot, uncomfortable and humid summers. Only those lucky enough to live in Alaska, or in the sunny, mild state of Hawaii, are able to avoid the extreme swing in temperature.

For the duration of the most sweltering days, many will find it impossible to spend time on the patio or in the backyard for any appreciable time. Children may be in danger of heatstroke. Those seeking to exercise in the open air may find it hard to stay out for long. And people who have energetic and active pets can\’t take the pets for much time.

Horticultural hobbyists may find that the intense rays of the sun kills off their beautiful flowers and plants. Although plants require light to grow, they will wilt when exposed to temperatures that are too high. Sometimes the wilting is just a short-term phenomenon as the plant bounces back during the evening when it gets cooler. Other times the wilting and damage is irreversible.

To avoid the damaging effects of these intense summer days, home owners should consider outdoor shade solutions for their home. There are roughly three kinds of possibilities to help shade the home. One, a fixed structure that is part of the house. Two, a portable shade that can be moved to desired locations. Three, an air-temperature regulating system such as an outdoor fan or an outdoor misting system. These three may be combined also to synergize their cooling effects.

Fixed outdoor shades include gazebos, pergolas, and awnings. The awning is perhaps the simplest yet most versatile of the three. When placed over an entrance or a window, a retractable awning can cover a large area, perhaps even extending partly over the yard or garden area. The advantage of fixed structures is that they are always ready-to-use. Electronic and mechanical add-ons mean that awnings can be opened at a push of a button. The disadvantage is that the costs of such fixed outdoor shades are very high.

The products from the portable shade category is both cheaper to buy and easier to install. The best example of a portable outdoor shade is the pool umbrella. This pool accessory is so ubiquitous because every home owner immediately sees the need for a simple way to protect people enjoying the pool from harmful UV rays. The pool umbrella can be easily stored away or taken out depending on the situation. There are two other kinds of useful portable shades. The portable awning is a much lighter version of its fixed cousin, the traditional awning. It can be easily moved from place to place. Also, a canopy structure serves much of the same function except it can have fabric walls to block wind also.

Protection against the sunlight is but one part of the solution to maintaining safe temperatures in your home exterior and garden. A thermal regulation system, combined with outdoor shades, can really lower the temperature. The most effective product is the outdoor misting system. The installation is complicated, involving the snaking and attachment of thin, specialized hoses around the home exterior. The action of the misting system sends very fine droplets of water into the air. When they evaporate, it leads to removal of heat. Adding an outdoor fan accelerates evaporation and cooling.