Established over 15 years

Shaded Nation

Shaded Nation – Shade Sails

Category Archives: Recreation

Why your koi pond needs a shade sail

There are few garden features as spectacular as a koi pond.

When done well they can bring a touch of oriental style to your home and are outdoor features that can be enjoyed by all of the family as well as friends and relatives.

However, it’s important a koi pond is properly maintained and there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, they represent an expensive investment and poor maintenance can lead to costly repairs.

Why your koi pond needs a shade sail

Secondly, and most importantly, koi ponds are a passion for many homeowners and can bring real pleasure to people’ lives, which means it’s important to ensure they are looked after.

An excellent way to protect your koi pond is to install a shade sail above it, as this provides a number of benefits.

Algae is the scourge of pond keepers across the world and can ruin the appearance of your pond if allowed to grow unchecked. A shade sail is an excellent way to halt the progress of this pesky pest.

Shade is proven to restrict the spread of algae and prevent your clear blue waters from being turned to a murky shade of green. Our shade sails are designed with style in mind and you can be sure the structure will complement the appearance of your pond nicely.

Other methods you can employ to hold back algae include adding more plants and keeping a low fish ratio and not overfeeding.

Tackling algae isn’t the only possible advantage of covering your pond with a sun shade. These structures may also help to protect your fish from predators like herons.

While there is no guarantee a shade structure will stop a heron visiting your pond, it may prevent them from seeing it while flying overhead.

A hungry heron can decimate a pond’s fish population and this can be distressing for pond owners from both a personal and financial point of view.

Other ways to deter these predators including netting, building a pond with steep vertical sides and using plants to provide fish with cover.

Gift ideas for gardeners

Most of us know at least one garden fanatic. Whether it’s a friend, relative or even a next-door neighbour, the chances are there’s someone in your life with green fingers.

What better way to show this person you care than buying them a gift that’s linked to their passion. Be it a birthday or Christmas, there’s plenty of garden-based products that would make fantastic presents.

Here’s a rundown of some of the items that would be a fitting gift for any gardener.

Gift ideas for gardeners

Gift ideas for gardeners

Tools and accessories
Every gardener needs a good selection of tools, so why not buy them one of the latest innovations? Heated gardening gloves can help to ensure gardeners warm during the cold winter months, while a weed puller takes the hard work out of keeping a garden free of unwanted inhabitants.

Is the gardener you’re buying for already well stocked up on tools? Why not make them laugh by giving a novelty item as a gift. Everyone loves the charm of a garden gnome and they make a nice light-hearted present.

One of the most rewarding things about having a garden is it allows you to connect with nature even if you live in the heart of a big city. Bird feeders, tables and baths are a great way to attract a variety of different species and can really bring some life to a garden.

Sail shade 
It’s no surprise that here at Shaded Nation we think a shade sail is a perfect gift for any gardener. These structures can really add something to the appearance of any outdoor space and provide a sheltered, shaded spot from which the beauty of the garden can be fully enjoyed.

Our shades can be installed in pretty much any type or garden – big or small – and are definitely a gift you should consider if there’s a gardener in your life.

Take a look at our online store to see the full range we have to offer.

Five benefits of outdoor learning

Here at Shaded Nation some of our most common clients are schools who want to use a shade structure to create an outdoor learning environment.

But why are so many schools taking this approach and what are its benefits? We take a look below.

What to consider when designing a children's playground - part two

Five benefits of outdoor learning

A varied education
While classrooms and textbooks will always be an important part of the education system, there’s more to learning than this. Taking classes outdoors allows children to experience learning in a different way and it’s surprising how many pupils that struggle in the traditional school setting improve when outside.

Health benefits
It’s widely recognised that being outside is good for people’s health both mentally and physically. Spending time outdoors can encourage children to be more active and being in a relaxed and open environment could help to combat stress.

Bringing subjects to life
Certain subjects are much more suited to outdoor teaching and can be brought to life more effectively than when they are taught in the classroom alone. Take the weather for example – it’s much easier to get pupils to understand and engage with this topic when they are outside and exposed to the elements.

A further advantage of outdoor learning is that it can simply be more than fun than being in the classroom. Having the occasional fun experience can go a long way to making children happier at school and this can lead to improved performance in traditional classes.

It’s a lot easier to create a fun environment outdoors. The sheer novelty factor of being outside contributes to this, while there are far more potential activities that can be carried out in the open air.

Environmental understanding
Spending time outdoors at a young age will help children to grow up appreciating the environment and being outside. This will increase the chances of them enjoying the benefits of the outdoors when older.

How to turn your garden Al Fresco

There’s something oh so continental about eating outdoors.

Enjoying some excellent food and drink in the open air with the sun shining down is one of life’s simple pleasures and it’s no surprise many people are desperate to recreate the Al Fresco dining experience in their own garden.

But how can you create the perfect outdoor eating environment in your own home? Read on for some of our top tips.

If you want to take your garden Al Fresco, it just won’t do to use the same old table and chairs you’ve had in the garden for years. Investing in a new stylish set will enhance the dining environment no end and make the whole experience more enjoyable.

Tables and chairs are the essentials, but there are other ways you can improve the setting of your outdoor dining area. Take lighting for example – effective use of light is one of the best ways to create an ambience and setting up an attractive light display in the garden can make you feel as if you’re spending the evening in a classy French or Italian restaurant rather than your own home.

Stay sheltered 
Of course, the one thing that holds Al Fresco dining back in the UK is the weather. Our climate is famously unpredictable and you’ll want to make sure your Al Fresco space is sheltered from the elements.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through a shade sail. When installed over your dining area, this structure will provide an attractive and practical means of shelter.

You’ll do most of your outdoor dining in the summer months when the sun is shining. A shade sail will keep you cool and you won’t need to worry about getting burnt. It will also provide protection against any wind and ensure you stay dry in the event of a brief shower.

Order your shade sail today and get ready to take your garden Al Fresco!

How to improve your garden this year

So, 2018 is underway and this is the time of year when many of us make new year’s resolutions that we hope will improve our lives over the next 12 months.

These can be anything from losing weight to giving up smoking. However, it’s likely there are a fair few people across the UK, and indeed the world, whose resolution will be to improve their garden.

So many gardens are left neglected and underused and a great way to make the most of 2018 is to turn your personal outdoor space into a pleasant environment in which you’ll be able to spend some quality time all year round.

How to improve your garden this year

How to improve your garden this year

But what can you do to improve your garden? Read on for a few of our top tips.

We’ve got green fingers here at Shaded Nation and love to see gardens with a wide range of plants. Whether it’s flowers, trees or planting your own vegetables, there’s plenty of things you can grow to bring a bit of greenery to your home.

Planting can be surprisingly fun and may even help you fulfil some other new year’s resolutions like losing weight!

Sitting and shelter
To make the most of your garden, you’ll need a place to sit and enjoy being outdoors. Investing in some garden furniture will allow you to do this and you’ll be able to have meals outside and invite friends and family over for Al Fresco dinner parties in the summer months.

Installing a shade sail structure will ensure your seating area remains protected from the sun and other elements.

Keep it wild
One of the best things about having a garden is that it can bring a little bit of the natural world into your own home. Whether it’s birds and butterflies or hedgehogs and foxes, you’d be surprised how much wildlife can be attracted to your outdoor space.

Keeping just one small corner of your garden ‘wild’ will help to boost your chances of seeing animals. All that’s required to do this is to allow natural plants to grow and leave the area as undisturbed as possible.

What to consider when designing a children’s playground – part one

A common use for our shade sail structures is to provide cover for children’s playgrounds at schools, nurseries and other locations.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to put together some blogs looking at the top things you should consider when designing a new play area for kids.


What to consider when designing a children's playground - part two

What to consider when designing a children’s playground – part one

When creating a children’s playground the primary concern must always be the health and wellbeing of the youngsters and there are a few things to consider if you are going to provide a safe environment.

Take flooring for example – this needs to be soft and smooth to reduce the chances of children getting hurt should they fall. Specific playground surfaces made of either rubber or tiles can be purchased, while artificial grass is also a good, low-maintenance option.

Other things to think about safety wise include ensuring none of the playground equipment has sharp edges and that anything that requires climbing – such as slides – have the necessary rails in place to minimise the risk of children falling.

Another way to secure the safety of a playground is by ensuring it is sheltered. On a summers day this will prevent kids from being at risk of sunburn and sunstroke, while it will also ensure metal playground equipment stays cool, as these items can become surprisingly hot when exposed to direct sunlight.

Shelter will keep the rain of the playground and this reduces the chances of the environment becoming slippery, which can easily lead to accidents. Furthermore, protection from the elements will mean playground equipment lasts longer and requires less maintenance.

Many schools opt for our shade structures as a means of providing this shelter due to their combination of high-level protection, durability and affordability. We supply post protectors, which can be used to ensure there is no risk of children hurting themselves by colliding with the steel posts used to support the shade.

You can see an example of how a shade sail structure can be used for a playground here.

What to consider when designing a children’s playground – part two

If you read part one of our blog about designing a children’s playground, you’ll know that safety and shelter should be your top concerns.

However, once these boxes have been ticked, you can turn your attention to the next most important part of a playground – fun.

What to consider when designing a children's playground - part two

What to consider when designing a children’s playground – part two

After all, the purpose of a playground is to allow children to enjoy themselves in the open air and you want to give them as much opportunity to do so as possible. Exactly how you do this is largely dependent on space and budget, but here’s a few tips you might find useful.

The first thing you need to consider is just who exactly will be using the playground. If it will be limited to a particular age range that makes things a lot easier as the area can be tailored towards the group’s specific needs.

A mixed age range is trickier as you need to cater for all children, but don’t want kids to come into contact with equipment that isn’t suitable for their age. In this case, it may be advisable to construct some sort of fence or barrier that will be used to keep children in the right area for their age.

When it comes to equipment, the classics are always a good place to start. Swings, slides, roundabouts and climbing frames come in a variety of sizes that are suitable for a wide range of ages and kids just can’t get enough of them.

If you don’t have the space for large playground equipment or can’t stretch your budget that far, there’s plenty of more affordable options you can go for.

Sand pits are great for younger children and are reasonably inexpensive to install. What’s more we can even provide a custom-made sand pit cover.

Another cheap way to make a playground fun is drawing a hopscotch design on the ground, or you could go one step further and draw an entire board game like snakes and ladders. This will take a little bit of effort, but it won’t cost much and kids will love it.

How to enjoy the outdoors this winter

It’s easy to see winter as a miserable time of year. It’s dark when you wake up in the morning and already dark when you leave work in the evening. What’s more, the weather is cold wet and windy and it’s much easier to pick up colds and coughs.

When you look at winter this way, it’s tempting to stay indoors 24/7 and not venture outside until the first signs of spring appear. However, this would be a mistake, as for every negative feature of winter there’s a positive to match and there’s still plenty of fun things you can do outside.

How to enjoy the outdoors this winter

How to enjoy the outdoors this winter

Here are a few ideas for how you can make the most of the outdoors over the next few months.

Sample nature’s beauty 
You’ll need to wrap up warm, but going for a walk in the countryside during winter can be a really rewarding experience. There’s a bleak beauty about the rural landscape at this time of year, with the trees striped of their leaves and frost glistening on the ground.

What’s more the cold weather will keep a lot of people away, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy the environment in the peace and quiet nature intended.

Let it snow
After Christmas, the best thing about winter is snow. Yes it can cause havoc with the roads and transport for a day or two, but there’s something magical about the white stuff, especially if you’ve got young children.

Whether it’s snowball fights, sledding or snowmen, there’s no shortage of fun things to do outdoors when it snows.

Keep gardening
Many people say goodbye to their garden in the winter months, but this needn’t be the case. Winter is an ideal way to prepare your outdoor space for the year ahead by planting new greenery, digging new flower beds and adding new elements to the garden such as a water feature or shade sail.