Shade Uses

Using Shade to Increase Plant Growth and Variety for Gardens

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No matter the plant, they will always use photosynthesis as one of their main forms of nutrition. Plants however do not all have the same needs for sunlight. If they did, they would only grow in wide open plains. But as we know, many plants grow great in low-sunlight conditions. And especially in areas like Texas where the climate tends to lean more towards high heat and heavy sunlight, more sun isn’t always more success for your garden. Think of how many plants grow fine beneath the canopy of forests.

The effects and benefits of shade on plant growth is numerous.

One, in some climates water is not the limiting factor, in others it is. Either way, it can play out well to have low sunlight. If the growth does not depend upon water, it is likely less energy will be needed from sun. If there is limited water, for some plants it is best to have shade to conserve water. But this all depends on the type of plant. If the plant you want to grow is not perfect for your climate because of an inability from the plant to tolerate heat, shade is an important part of keeping the plant cool. In fact, many vines will actually tend to grow away from the sun, and some plants have leaves that actively avoid the light. Something to keep in mind is that regardless of the shade-tolerant plant, if they grow beneath canopies they likely need to have access to nutrient rich soil. This is because the trees above will drop leaves, leaving behind rich soil that is essentially compost from the leaves decay. One of the benefits that help humans is that many plants actually cool down the air. They do this through transpiring to help growth, but this effect is a great multiplier when doubled with shade to cool down an area.

What types of plants are shade tolerant?

There are many vegetables that should be grown in shade to protect them from 95F+ temperatures. Young peach and apple trees, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers will all benefit from shade. Anything over 110F will start to cause the very quick death of these plants. To protect these plants, you may plant sunflowers or sunchokes on the west side of the garden to protect them from above and from the side. Among herbs and flowers, if you would like to protect the environment, bees would thank you for planting dead nettles. With the impending bee crisis, dead nettles remain the one plant that bees love to pollinate and having this means they also will pollinate your other flowers! Help the environment, the bees and yourself by planting dead nettles. Parsley, lemon balm and wild ginger can be used to cook with. Impatiens are a beautiful dark purple color on their leaves, and have beautiful bright white and pink flowers that grow off of them.

A partly cloudy sky

The sun’s damaging effect on your skin

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You may feel that with fall right around the corner, the dangers of sunburn have passed. However, sun damage has nothing to do with the temperature; people tend to cover up more when the weather cools, reducing their exposure. But your risks of skin damage from the sun’s UV rays are still there. 

Sun damage

That reddening of the skin from sunburn is cells and blood capillaries that have been damaged. Repeated sunburns can cause your skin to become dry, discolored, and wrinkled. The skin may appear to be thicker, but is actually more prone to bruising or further damage.

The greatest risk is skin cancer. This is the most common form of cancer, but you can minimize the chances of contracting it by staying in the shade.

Vitamin D

You’ve probably heard that you need sunlight for your body to create vitamin D. While this is true, your body only needs about 15 minutes of sunlight per week to process enough of this important nutrient. Even that isn’t necessary since milk, cereals, and other foods are fortified with vitamin D. You can always buy it in capsule form. It feels great to be out in the sun and fresh air, but you don’t need it to stay healthy.

Avoiding damage from the sun

Simply staying in the shade is the best way to avoid the sun’s harmful effects. Like most people you probably love sunshine, but if you spend much time outdoors you should take precautions:

  • Apply sunscreen before going outside. You can buy various levels of protection and it only takes a few moments to rub it over exposed areas. Those who may be especially sensitive should use a sunscreen with SPF (skin protection factor) 30 or higher.
  • Stay covered up. You should wear a broad-brimmed hat and long sleeves and pants of a loose, light material that will block the UV rays.
  • Stay in the shade in the middle of the day when the sun’s UV rays are strongest, from around 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes.

How to recover from sun damage:

  • Once your skin is damaged, always use sunscreen when leaving the house. Use SPF 15 or better. If skin irritation develops there may be ingredients you’re sensitive to. Consult a dermatologist or experiment with different brands.
  • Gently exfoliating your skin, which is the process of removing dead cells from the outer layer, can help it look better and heal faster.
  • Moisturize! There are a wide variety of good hydrating products available, many with ingredients like aloe or vitamin E that help promote healing.
  • There are some new LED lighting products which are designed to promote collagen production in the cells, and can help to heal and reduce damage to your skin.
  • When you’ve developed brown spots or other discolorations, use an over-the-counter lotion made for the problem.

When damage is more severe, always consult a dermatologist. Repeated sunburn can do lasting damage to your skin. If you spend time outdoors take some precautions and stick to the shade whenever possible.

Preventing Burns from Playgrounds

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Children love to play at playgrounds that offer activities that keep their bodies and minds active and healthy. It is a great way for kids to socialize and exercise. Parents need to be aware of burns associated with playgrounds and need to consider shade structures when choosing a playground. Shade structures are a great way to keep children cool and prevent burns.


Sunburns are a common problem in children. The younger the child, the more likely a sunburn is to occur. Most parents remember to apply sunscreen to their children on the beach or while swimming, but it is much easier to forget to apply sunscreen regularly during normal daily activities such as going to a playground or park. Choosing a playground with shade shelters will help parents and children to be able to prevent burns from the sun and will reduce the risk of sunburns. 

It is now widely understood that adults who developed sunburns as children are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer. Multiple sunburns and severe sunburns increase the risk for a child developing skin cancer as an adult. Some skin cancers, such as melanoma, can require surgery, cancer treatments, and are potentially deadly. Parents should closely follow sunscreen instructions for application and reapplication, and select playgrounds with shade shelters that cover playground equipment to prevent sunburns.

Equipment Burns

Children can develop another lesser known form of burns while playing on a playground. Second and third-degree burns commonly occur on playground equipment that is not in the shade. A child can slide down a hot slide or come into contact with the nuts and bolts that secure the playground equipment together and easily develop moderate to severe burns. When metal or other materials such as plastic are exposed to direct sunlight for extensive periods of time, they can heat up well over 120-degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over 120 degrees can burn a child’s skin. Children are not aware of the dangers of hot objects, so we must prevent those objects from becoming hot in the first place. That is why it is so important to choose a playground with shaded equipment. 

Choosing playgrounds with a structure built to shade play equipment is the best way to prevent burns from playground equipment. Equipment and toys that aren’t protected by shade are likely to become hot. A child should always have emergency care for third degree burns. Second or third degree burns can also lead to additional illness if the child develops an infection from the burn. Contact your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s burns.


Prevention of burns is easiest way to keep your child healthy. When you take your child to a playground, always seek one that has a structure that shades the equipment from the hot sun. Children are very active and constantly touch equipment that can reach very high temperatures. Many larger parks and playgrounds offer shelter structures and shade in order to protect children from equipment burns and heat. If your local park doesn’t offer shaded play areas, speak to the park manager about getting shade structures built.

Keeping the car cool during those hot summer months

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People aren’t the only ones who need the shade. Cars need shade too. This is most important during those peak hot summer months. There are some times when you can’t put the car in a garage. The space just doesn’t allow for it. There are lots of cases when a car is kept outside for long periods of time. How about when you go to work, and your car sits in the parking lot? How about when you come home and your car does the same thing? How about when you visit someone at the hospital? You might only be in there for a few hours. During the hot summer months one hour is enough to really do some damage to the car. 

It sounds like a really cool idea to put a cover over your car and leave it sit there? Sounds really cool, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, these types of covers do not exist, or do they?


Good question. It’s not that the steel roofing is bad, it’s just damaging to the car. Let’s take a look at a for instance. Say there’s a really bad rain storm, one that brings lots of hail stones. It might not be likely in your areas, but just pretend for now. Those hail stones have a way of bouncing off the steel roof and create even more damage. They can damage the roof and the cars underneath. 

The sun also has a damaging effect on the roof. In theory it seems like a good idea, but it’s not. An indoor parking lot is not likely to face as much damage as an outdoor parking lot is. 


Let’s get the insurance thing out of the way first. Using one of these will greatly reduce your chances of getting stabbed in the back by the insurance companies. Using one of these things will also help to make you happier too. On hot days it’s very hard to feel happy about coming back to a hot car. It takes forever for the air conditioner to truly air everything out. This is what makes the car cover so cool. You can get into your nice, cool car after being out in the heat for several hours. 

Have you heard of fabric shades? You’ve probably seen them at pools or over playgrounds, but have you seen them over parking lots? Think about car dealerships. Many of these have them over their high-end cars.

Parking under shade drastically reduces the heat inside your car, making it more bearable to sit inside of immediately, rather than waiting for it to cool down. This is a rather new concept for most companies and their parking lots. If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about shaded parking, contact Modern Shade to discuss your options.

Fabric Shade Structure Over Park

Benefits Of Fabric Shade Structures

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Fabric shade structures have become a popular option for providing shade while working or playing in place of more “conventional” options, such as canvas, wood, or steel structures. Fabric shades are eye catching, unique and dramatic, which partly adds to the allure of these structures. They are a sustainable, durable solution that requires less material than alternative options. We’ve put together a quick look at just a few of the benefits of custom fabric shade structures:

Reduces Risk of Skin Cancer: The major benefit that a fabric shade structure provides is that it protects people from the harmful ultra violet rays that cases skin cancer. Exposure to prolonged ultra violet rays and sunburns, especially during childhood, increases the risk of melanoma and skin cancer. If left untreated this can lead to serious health problems. Prolonged exposure to sun rays also makes the skin become thick, leathery and wrinkled. Researchers also found out that cataracts are related to exposure of sun rays, so staying under some shade has quite a few health benefits.

Safe Shade: Fabric shade structures are a better option than wood or metal shades, as they are porous. They allow air to escape, which keeps the area underneath cooler and more comfortable. High density polythene fabrics blocks out over 95% of harmful ultra violet rays. It allows cool air to circulate unlike other materials that trap heat.

Durable: When a fabric shade structure is well designed, the life span can range from 10 to 25 years or more. They are highly weather resistant and can be used in extreme weather conditions. They can be designed to weather rain, wind, or snow as required by the climate of the region.

Environmentally Friendly: Fabric shade structures require less raw materials to construct, which results in lower production footprint. They also require less energy to transport due to their lighter weight.

Increase Revenue: Areas covered by permanent fabric shade structures can also be rented out in areas such as parks for office events, birthday parties, anniversaries and more, which can generate additional revenue.

Increases Community Value: An ordinary space can be transformed into a trendy or classy outdoor area with the right use of shading. The aesthetic appeal increases the value of the community, and can be an attraction for commercial investment and tourists. They’re a great way to add comfort to a park or outdoor exhibit, while also serving as an aesthetically pleasing addition.

The above are just a few examples of benefits of fabric shade structures. They are great for regulating temperatures when outside, no matter what activities are going on–from working on a construction project, to playing in a park, to keeping parked cars cool, or even keeping livestock healthy & happy (see our blog post about custom shade structures for cattle). If you’re looking at shade structure options, be sure to contact us to discuss your needs–we’d love to help!

Shade Structures for Cattle

Keeping Cattle Cool With Shade Structures

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When it comes to raising cattle, it can be tough to find the perfect blend of grass and shade… Where there’s lots of grass, there may not be much shade to keep cool. Heat stress is a significant threat to cattle and can reduce their health and productivity. It can also lead to the birth of ill-formed calves which would result in many health problems further down the road. Cows are unable to regulate their body temperatures as well as humans do. Setting up shade structures for zero grazing or placing them strategically around fields can do wonders to help with your cows’ health and productivity. Shade structures are a smart alternative to air conditioning–which is only feasible for zero grazing cows, and can be quite costly.

Shade structures for cattle can either be permanent or portable. Regardless of their use, they should be at least 10 feet tall to allow for adequate air flow. Permanent shade structures will need more labor since it will require manure removal from time to time. Good shade cloth should block as much as 80 percent of the sun’s rays. However, at Modern Shade LLC, we’re proud to offer structures that provide an open feel, cool the air by as much as 25 degrees, and block up to 97% of harmful UV rays.

No matter if you choose to install portable or permanent shade, the location you place it is crucial. Some areas are optimal for cooling purposes, while others are less than ideal. A shade structure should be placed in a location where wind passes through, as moving air will cool off the cattle better than stagnant air. A hillside may be good for the wind but may lead to premature damage to the shade structure due to erosion. A delicate balance must be struck in order to maximize comfort, while also preserving your shade structures to ensure they last as long as possible.

We specialize in crafting the perfect custom shade structure for any need, and would love to get you set up with exactly what you need to keep your cattle cool, healthy & happy. Happy cattle are more productive & live longer, so keeping them protected and healthy is a wise choice. Contact us today to receive a quote for custom shade structures, we’d love to hear from you!

Shaded Parking

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If you are running any type of business, it would be important to ensure that you provide your customers with the services they expect in order to keep them coming back. If the customers have to come to your business premises, ensure that you provide for them ample parking spaces to enable them reach your place comfortably. This will help you attract more customers as parking offers you an edge over the other businesses. However, the quality of the parking you provide for them also matters a lot. When the sun is out shining throughout the day, your customers will have an uncomfortable time given that their vehicles will be left out in the sun and this could raise the heat inside the car. You could solve this issue by ensuring that you provide them with shaded parking slots due to some reasons discussed below.

Shaded Parking

It is every business owner’s desire to bring as many potential customers as possible to their storefront, you should make sure that you are always ahead of your competition. Providing your customers with a shaded parking will definitely attract more potential customers to your business on hot sunny days. The shaded parking could be the reason customers choose to come to your place instead of your competitors. They are more likely to spend extra time in your business premises as they are sure their vehicles are adequately protected from the harmful rays of the sun.

Reduction of the Damage done to Cars

Shaded parking is important so your customers don’t have to suffer from a hot car when they leave your place of business. This will consequently reduce the damage that would have been caused to their cars by the hot sun. Heat from the sun causes a lot of expansion in a car and this could lead to the dashboards and other parts that are exposed to the sun cracking under the influence of the heat. When you have the right shade, your customer’s vehicles will be protected from all these issues and they will appreciate greatly.

In addition, when vehicles are left out in the hot sun for long periods of time they are susceptible to losing their gloss or brilliance. This is as a result of the car paint getting faded from the effects of being exposed to the sun for long. It is also possible that the paint will flake or chip much faster when it is exposed to sun. This will force you to repaint your car, which is not cheap. Excessive exposure to sunlight will also reduce the value of your car greatly as some parts may stop functioning completely due to the excess heat damaging them.

Reduction of the Urban Heat Island Effect

Human activity mainly in urban areas that are crowded results in the urban heat island effect. Concrete and asphalt help in heating up an area due to the heat from the sun. The shaded parking helps reduce this urban heat island effect by reflecting away the rays of the sun back hence keeping the area cooler.

The Benefits Of Shade Structures

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What Is A Shade Structure?

A shade structure refers to any number of structures that provide shade from the sun. Shade structures come in a large variety of shapes, sizes and can be constructed from many different materials. For example, shade structures can be hexagonal shaped, octagonal shaped, square, rectangular and dome shaped.

The shape of the shade structure often depends on the space they will be covering in. Many picnic table pavilions often have rectangular, square or hexagonal shapes to provide full blockage of the sun from all angles. The cantilever shaped shade structure is often a popular alternative to a garage.

The colors of a shade structure can be mixed and matched to suit the environment they are located in. For example theme parks can use colorful shade structures. A restaurant or pool can use more neutral colors. Blending the color of the shade structure, especially the roof can create a more appealing playground, dining setting, pavilion or poolside area.

Materials that shade structure roofs or canopies are made out of include a lightweight breathable fabric, metal and plastic. The lightweight breathable fabric type roof allows air to circulate. A plastic roof or canopy is often an inexpensive solution for pavilions and pool side areas. Metal can be the most costly but is often the strongest material, must durable and aesthetically pleasing.

What Benefits Do Shade Structures Offer?

Shade structures provide protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays by providing shade year round in places like parks, pools, amusement parks and even your backyard. Prolonged exposure to the sun increases the risk of developing skin cancer. It can also cause sunburn. Sitting underneath a shade structure allows you to enjoy the outdoors even when the sun is strongest without having to worry about the harmful effects of UV rays coming from the sun.

Another benefit of shade structures is that they cool the area underneath them. The area underneath the canopy or roof of a shade structure can be up to twenty degrees cooler than an area that is exposed to the sun. A shade structure allows you to enjoy a picnic, read a book or just relax even when it is hot outside and the sun is shining brightly.

Shade structures are an excellent addition to playgrounds. Playground equipment can overheat in the sun. It can become too hot to touch. Kids playing in the open sun for too long can overheat and develop sunburn. A shade structure will help keep playground equipment cool, prevent kids from overheating and protect them against sunburn. Research has also shown that a shade structure increases the amount of time that kids play. This is important because kids need exercise and play to maintain a healthy weight and to develop social skills.

What Are The Things You Should Consider When Looking For A Shade Structure?

If you are looking for a shade structure for a public park or community pool you should consider the layout of the park. You will want to consider the size of the area that needs to be shaded, as well as your budget. Aesthetics and color scheme should also be taken into account. For private use in a home, cost and size should be the main factors taken into consideration.