Natural Shading Over Summer Patio.

These days, the sun is too strong and burning to sit out in it completely for a midday lunch. Most homes these days have at least a small outdoor patio/living area, with a table and chairs, so that the family and friends can dine outdoors. Any area like this needs shading, whether it’s from a large outdoor umbrella, or shade sail. If these two options seem a bit boring or unimaginative, then you could make yourself a naturally living shade-cover, like in the attached photo. This is an example of an ornamental grapevine, growing over a good strong pergola once the growth has covered the frame - which it would within 2 years with a bit of TLC. I like deciduous climbers because they are in leaf exactly at the time the sun gets some heat in it. The leaves drop off in the autumn, and will then let the sunlight into the patio area over the cooler winter months, which is when you do want some extra sunlight and warmth. You could have a fruiting grape variety over your pergola if you wanted, but if you don’t cover the grapes the birds will certainly get into the fruit, and apart from dropping half eaten grapes over the table, they tend to peck and eat the fruit still on the vine. The only way to stop this is to cover the entire vine with bird netting, and this is not that great to look at, especially in your outdoor living/entertaining room. You will need to prune back the vine quite hard each year so that it stays close to the outside edges of the pergola, and apart from some light summer pruning, this is a really low maintenance natural summer umbrella. This pergola has a wrought iron candelabra with candles attached hanging from the pergola over the centre of the table, making it a really inviting outdoor area. If you want to also bring a natural tropical fragrance to the patio area, grow another deciduous climber called mandevilla suaveolens (absolutely stunning white flowers (they do really have that tropical summer fragrance). Because it’s a rather light climber, you can let it grow up the same pole or climbing frame as the ornamental grape, and once at the top of the frame let them grow and intertwine, so that they are basically all mixed up together.

Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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