Established over 15 years

Shaded Nation

Shaded Nation – Shade Sails

Gardening is elderly Brits favourite pastime

We love spending a bit of time out in the garden here at Shaded Nation and it seems we’re not alone.

Gardening has been voted the favourite pass time of the UK’s elderly residents in a survey by charity organisation Age UK.

To mark the start of its Living Your Way campaign, which aims to help older individuals stay independent for as long as possible, it carried out a poll of people aged 65 and over to find out about the activities that give them the greatest pleasure.

If found over a third of respondents (38 per cent) rate gardening as the thing they like to do most, which is more than any other pastime. Going on walks (28 per cent) was also rated highly as was reading the newspaper (25 per cent).

For those respondents aged 85 or more the results were slightly different, with listening to the radio the number one pleasure for 29 per cent. Gardening was still popular however, with 26 per cent of people saying they still enjoy a good potter.

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK charity director general, commented: “Having a positive attitude and being able to enjoy the little pleasures in life is really important for our well-being.

“Whether it’s enjoying being outdoors in the garden or listening to all that is on offer through the radio, we want to help people to stay independent for as long as possible so they can make the most out of later life.”

It’s clear that the UK’s elderly residents love to spend time in the garden and this experience can be enhanced by installing a shade sail. These canopies provide a nice shaded spot in which to relax and enjoy the beauty of the garden and offer protection from sunburn as well.

They are also an excellent addition to a care home, where having access to outside spaces such as gardens is important for the well-being of residents.

Make sure your barbie is a safe one

There’s nothing quite like having a barbecue on a warm summer’s day.

Indeed, if the sun starts shining it’s only a matter of time before budding chefs dust off their aprons and fire up the coals all across the nation.

However, there are a few safety precautions that should be taken onboard if your BBQ is going to go down smoothly.

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has recently pledged its support to a national campaign that aims to raise awareness about the potentially harmful fumes BBQs can give off.

Last year, seven people died in the UK as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and 17 have been injured. These incidents were all caused by bringing a barbecue inside a tent, caravan or motorhome.

Roy Hocking, station manager at the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, commented: “Barbecues produce carbon monoxide, which is a highly-poisonous substance.

“These tragic deaths and injuries happened after people took barbecues into enclosed spaces after they’d finished cooking on them. They were overcome by carbon monoxide because there was not enough fresh air.”

While this warning is aimed towards holidaymakers, it is important for anyone who is considering having a BBQ to be aware of the potential risks and its advisable not to take a barbeque into the house as well.

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous as it cannot be seen, tasted or smelt, meaning it can kill quickly and without warning.

Mr Hocking said BBQs will continue to give off fumes for a few hours after being used, so they should always be left outside during this period. Furthermore, it should be kept a decent distance away from your tent, caravan or house at all times.

Another threat people should be aware of when enjoying a barbie is sunburn. It’s easy to forget about the effects of the sun while you’re enjoying tasty food and good company in the open air, but if you fail to protect yourself you may discover a painful reminder in the shape of red, burned skin a few hours later.

An easy way to stay safe is by eating your food in the shade provided by a garden shade sail. Take a look at our online store to learn more.

Five things you may not know about shade sails

Have you been considering investing in a shade sail but are a little unsure about the finer details of the product?

If so, here is a rundown of some key facts you might not be aware of.

Easy installation

It’s quite surprising just how easy it is to install one of our shade canopies. In most cases this can be done by just two people over a couple of hours and no specialist skills or knowledge are required.

Full instructions and all of the necessary parts will be provided and our team are happy to provide guidance over the phone or email if you run into trouble. For detailed installation instructions, see our guide.

Low maintenance

Once your sun shade is up, it’s remarkably easy to keep it in good condition. These products are built to last and will maintain their strength and style for a number of years. Keeping them clean is very simple and can be done with just a garden hose and mild detergent. Re-tensioning on a regular basis is recommended to ensure longevity.


All of the shade sails we provide are semi-permanent meaning it is possible to take them down at certain times of the year. This may be necessary if particularly bad weather conditions are forecast or if you simply need an area not to be covered for any particular reason.

Commercial and domestic

The shades we provide are suitable for an extensive range of uses and we supply to all manner of different customers. We regularly provide garden shades to people who are looking to boost the value and appearance of their home and have many commercial clients as well, ranging from schools to restaurants and care homes.

We only offer quality

There are a lot of different shade sails on the market, so it’s important to know you’re buying a quality product. We only sell Sail Shade World sail shades, which are manufactured to the highest standards and are built to withstand the effects of the harsh Australian sun. They are capable of blocking up to 98.8 per cent of UV rays.

Three ways to improve your garden

For those of us who are are lucky enough to have a garden, it’s important to make the most of it.

Having your own outdoor space in which you can relax in private is a luxury that shouldn’t be taken for granted and it’s a shame many people let their garden go to waste.

Perhaps you have a garden, but don’t really think it is nice enough to warrant spending time in. Well, this can easily be remedied, as by making just a few small changes you can transform your outdoor space into an environment where you’ll happily while an afternoon away. Here are three of our top tips on how to do this.

Go wild

If you’re fond of animals and wildlife why not try and make your garden a haven for nature. This is much easier than you might think and even inner-city gardens can attract a whole host of animals ranging from insects and birds to foxes and hedgehogs.

Birds are easy to attract by putting up feeders and nest boxes, while other animals can be attracted by making your garden as natural as possible with plants taking precedent over gravel and concrete.

Be cool in the shade

Having a nice spot in which you can sit and relax is key if you’re going to make the most of your garden and a shade sail can help you do just that. One of our garden canopies is ideal for creating a space where you enjoy being out in the open air, while staying protected from the sun and the elements at all times.

Add water

There’s something a little bit therapeutic about water and it can really enhance your garden. Whether it’s a pond a fountain or some other sort of feature, adding water can turn a nice garden into a great one and you’ll be much more inclined to spend some time outside.

Ponds are particularly useful as they are also good for wildlife such as frogs, newts and much more.

How to keep kids safe in the sun

Sunburn can be a problem for us all, but it’s especially important to prevent children from getting burnt.

Kids’ skin is more tender than adults and this makes it vulnerable to overexposure to the sun. Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven that suffering a bad burn as a child can increase a person’s chances of contracting skin cancer in later life.

Indeed, in July the skin cancer awareness organisation Melanoma Action and Support Scotland even suggested that parents who fail to protect their kids from the sun’s rays are guilty of neglect.

However, here at Shaded Nation we understand that keeping children safe can be easier said than done. With that in mind, here are our top tips on how to ensure your little ones have fun in the sun without getting burned.


It will do no harm to tell your children they should avoid getting sunburn because it is bad for their health. While you obviously don’t want to mention scary things like skin cancer, letting them know that getting burned is bad can only be a good thing.

Perhaps you can even make a game of it and challenge the kids to think of ways they can stay safe in the sun.


It’s reasonably easy to take some basic precautions to protect your kids from sunburn. Ensure they are dressed appropriately with a hat and long sleeved clothes where possible, while any exposed areas of skin should regularly have strong sun lotion applied.

Installing a shade sail is another way to keep them safe. These structures can block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays and are becoming a common feature in family gardens, schools and nurseries.

Setting a good example

If your children don’t see you taking action to protect your skin the chances of them doing the same are much lower. Kids love to emulate mum and dad and you’d be surprised at the impact setting a good example can have.

Five ways to get the kids away from the TV and active outdoors

Dragging the kids away from their television, games console or computer can feel like an uphill struggle.

However, it’s important not to give in, as getting them to be active outdoors is vital for both physical and mental wellbeing. While the kids might be resistant at first, they normally end up having a great time once you’ve managed to get them up and out the door.

Here are five ways you can take your little ones away from the screen and into the open air.

Go for a bike ride 

When it comes to family activities, cycling ticks all the boxes. It’s healthy, good for the environment and everyone can join in. If you’ve got very young children why not start teaching them how to write a bike?

A game of footy

There are football-mad kids all across the country and if your youngsters love the beautiful game, why not take them for a kick around? While children might enjoy playing football-based computer games or watching matches on TV, there’s nothing quite as much fun as playing the game itself.

Go natural

Nature is all around us regardless of where you live and getting kids interested in the environment is crucial if we are to preserve the planet’s natural beauty. Simple things like feeding the ducks at the park or hunting for insects in the garden can be great fun for young children.

Take a dip in the pool

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise and being comfortable in the water is a handy skill for later life. Don’t worry, if you can’t get to a swimming baths, setting up a paddling pool in the garden can still be great fun.

Get out in the garden

If you’ve got a garden you should make the most of it. There are all sorts of activities kids can get up to out there, ranging from building a den to making a daisy chain, and being in the open air will help to keep them happy and healthy.

Whenever you children play outside it’s important to make sure they are safe from the sun, a shade sail is the ideal way to do this.

Five ways to spend a summer bank-holiday weekend

There’s nothing quite like a summer bank holiday weekend. Having three whole days without work is the perfect chance to rest and recharge your batteries – and if the sun is shining it’s all the better.

Here are Shaded Nation’s top five tips for how to spend your time off.

Head to the country 

There a few things better than being in the countryside when the sun is shining. Whether it’s going for a walk, taking a bike ride or enjoying a spot of food and drink in a country pub, leaving the city and experiencing a bit of greenery is always worthwhile.

Hit the beach 

Perhaps the best thing about living on an island is the fact you’re never more than an hour or two’s drive away from the beach. From Blackpool to Brighton, the UK is blessed with a number of excellent seaside spots and these destinations are always popular when it comes to a bank holiday get aways.

Fire up the barbie

If you’d rather stay a little closer to home, why not invite friends and family over for a BBQ. Sharing a spot of home-cooked food with the people closest to you is a great way to spend a day and it can be inexpensive too if everyone chips in to pay for supplies.

Get active 

If you’re a sporty type, a bank holiday weekend is the ideal way to do something active and ensure you stay in good shape. It can be a struggle to find the time and energy to exercise during the working week, but with three days off this is the perfect time to get outside and get moving.

Sit back and relax

Does spending the weekend being active sound far too much like hard work? If so, why not do the exact opposite and make the most of the opportunity to spend some time doing absolutely nothing? We all need a little time to rest and recuperate and a bank holiday is one the best chances you will get.

However you spend your three days off, it’s important to stay safe in the sun. Click here to learn more.

Men are most at risk of skin cancer

New research has revealed men are significantly more likely to die of skin cancer than women.

A study by Cancer Research UK found malignant melanoma – the most severe form of the disease – fatality rates are 70 per cent higher among males, which is a shocking statistic.

According to the organisation, 3.4 of every 100,000 men die as a result of the condition, compared to two women. However, the rate at which men and women contract the disease is much closer, with 17.2 and 17.3 from every 1000,000 diagnosed with it each year respectively.

Cancer Research said it expects this divide between the sexes to increase over the near future, with the fatality rate for males rising but remaining stable in females.

Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research dermatologist based at the University of Leeds, stated: “Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage.”

However, she added there may also be strong biological reasons behind men’s vulnerability to skin cancer and said scientists are currently working to explore this further.

Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, claimed many men may be reluctant to see a doctor even if they notice a problem with their skin and this delay will increase the chances of their condition becoming fatal.

“If something goes wrong with the car then you sort it out straight away. The same should go for you – if you, or your partner, notice any unusual or persistent changes then see your GP,” she stated.

Cancer Research’s study is further evidence of the importance of staying protected in the sun, as malignant melanoma is scientifically proven to be linked to sunburn. Thankfully, keeping yourself safe is easy and can be done by covering up, applying sun lotion and sticking to the shade when the sun is at its strongest.

A shade sail is an ideal way to do this, as it can block 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays and provides a cool and relaxing sheltered spot in which to enjoy the outdoors.

Red heads are ‘100 times more susceptible to skin cancer’

It’s no secret that people with red hair and pale skin are more prone to getting sunburn, and have an increased risk of contracting skin cancer as a result.

However, a study has revealed just how vulnerable ginger-haired people are to the disease and the results are shocking.

According to researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, red heads are up to 100 times more likely to contract the worst form of skin cancer – melanoma.

Leader of the study Dr Wenyi Wei commented: “Together, our findings provide a possible molecular mechanism as to why red-haired individuals harbouring MC1R mutations are much more susceptible to UV-induced skin damage than individuals with darker skin, resulting in a ten to 100-fold higher frequency of melanoma.”

This essentially means people with the red-hair gene have skin that is less protected against the UV light contained in the sun’s rays.

Melanoma accounts for around 75 per cent of all skin cancer deaths in the UK and some 13,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every single year.

One of the major causes of the disease is sunburn, as being over exposed to harmful UV rays is proven to significantly increase a person’s chances of developing the condition. This research demonstrates just how important it is for ginger-haired people to stay safe in the sun.

However, while red heads may be more at risk, it is crucial for people of all colours and skin types to protect themselves from over exposure, as sun burn and skin cancer can affect everyone.

An August survey by Cancer Research UK has revealed men may be particularly vulnerable to the disease. It found that in every 100,000 males, 3.4 will die as a result of melanoma, yet the figure is just two for women.

This means men are 70 per cent more likely to have a fatal case of the condition than women, which once again brings home the importance of avoiding sunburn.

Why schools should use a shade sail

Here at Shaded Nation we regularly provide shade sails for schools and nurseries across the UK and beyond.

These stylish and durable sun canopies have a number of potential functions and can help schools make the most of the resources they have available. How do our clients use our shades? Read on to find out.

Outdoor learning 

More and more schools are waking up to the advantages of outdoor play. Giving kids the chance to learn outdoors is a welcome change from the classroom and is widely recognised as beneficial for their education.

Earlier this year, Sue Waite of the Economic and Social Research Council stated: “Outdoor spaces offer opportunities for children to be more creative, inquiring and socially skilled, as they can pursue their own lines of interest and talk together.”

Classroom expansion 

Need to expand one of your classrooms but lack the necessary funds? A shade sail canopy is an ideal solution. These structures are inexpensive and can easily be installed to the side of a building, thus creating additional space in which teaching can take place.

There are a number of potential uses for outdoor classroom ranging from a traditional environment with tables and chairs to an open area in which subjects like drama and music can be taught.

Outdoor play

Shade sails can provide a perfect place for young children to play in, which is protected from the sun and other elements. Sandpits, paddling pools and other pay areas can easily be set up under a canopy.

Sun protection 

Our shade structures are manufactured to provide the greatest level of sun protection possible and can block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays. This is of key importance, as children’s skin is particularly vulnerable to sunburn and getting burnt as a child is scientifically proven to increase a person’s chances of contracting skin cancer when older.