Established over 15 years

Shaded Nation

Shaded Nation – Shade Sails

Is it time for children to reconnect with the outdoors?

There can be no denying that children spend less time outside than they used to.

When the draws of television and computers are combined with parental concerns about safety, it can be easy for youngsters to spend more or less all of their time indoors.

This is a shame, as there are so many benefits that can kids can get from being outside and we run the risk of these being lost if action isn’t taken to encourage parents and children to go outdoors more often.

Indeed, these concerns have been expressed by the Wild Network – an organisation that has recently been established to try and tackle this issue.

At the end of October, it launched a new campaign called Project Wild Thing, which aims to help people “re-wild” their children by swapping 30 minutes of screen time for half an hour of “wild time” every day.

Speaking at the scheme’s launch, chair of the Wild Network Andy Simpson said: “The tragic truth is that kids have lost touch with nature and the outdoors in just one generation.”

This is an issue that has caught our attention here at Shaded Nation and we’re pleased to see action being taken to try and help kids spend more time outside. One of the best ways we think this can be done in is by encouraging outdoor learning either at home or school.

Whether it’s in the garden, playground or school field, this helps kids to experience the outdoors and ensures they are being educated at the same time.

Outdoor learning can take many forms, be it getting the kids to complete a nature trail or simply taking a class in the open air. This can help children to appreciate the outdoors and is proven to have a positive impact on their health and education.

The benefits of this approach were well summarised by filmmaker David Bond, who is involved with Project Wild Thing. He stated: “Spending time outdoors is hugely beneficial to children and young people. Research clearly shows that it improves their health, reduces stress and boosts wellbeing.”

Take a look at our shade structure accessories

Here at Shaded Nation we pride ourselves on being the UK’s leading provider of shade sail structures.

Our expertise doesn’t stop there however, as we also offer a range of excellent accessories that can really help you make the most of your shade. Read on for a quick preview of some of the best items we currently have in stock.

LawnsRus artificial grass
What better thing to accompany your shade than an artificial lawn. This provides the appearance and comfort of natural grass, but removes the need for time consuming and expensive maintenance like watering and mowing.

We stock a number of options for you to choose from depending on your budget and requirements. LawnRus is the next generation of artificial grass technology and is designed with bounceability in mind, meaning it won’t easily become flattened like other similar products.

LawnsRus putting
This is the perfect accessory for any golfing enthusiast. When combined with a shade sail, this artificial turf is ideal for creating a practice green that is sheltered from the sun and rain.

The grass contains the maximum tufting density possible and has a stimp of 9.1.  A high number of fibre tips means resistance is decreased and the softness of the turf will prevent the ball from rolling too fast for long periods.

If you’re keen to hone your golfing skills, this really is the product for you.

Installing artificial turf takes a little bit of work and we stock all of the tools you’ll need to get things just right. We have affordable glue, joining tape and weed membrane as well as kiln-dried sand.

One of the toughest things about artificial grass is getting the edging right. For that reason, we sell EverEdge, which is a weather resistant and maintenance-free solution to this problem.

Want to take a look at our full range of accessories? Click here and browse to your heart’s content.

How can schools make the most of a shade structure in winter?

A growing number of schools are installing shade sail structures as this provides an inexpensive and secure area in which outdoor lessons can take place safe from the sun and other elements.

Naturally, the benefits of this are most obvious in the summer months when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. However, shades don’t automatically become redundant when winter comes around there’s still plenty of uses for the structures.

Outdoor learning is always going to be more common in the summer due to the temperature, but it doesn’t have to stop entirely just because the weather has become a little bit colder. Taking a class under the shade can be great way to teach kids about the importance of wrapping up warm and staying protected against colds and flu.

Furthermore, holding an outdoor class can be a good approach for getting kids to learn about the different seasons and the weather.

Many schools hold a variety of events during winter time, such as bonfire night celebrations, firework displays and Christmas festivities. Shade structures can offer a useful means of shelter for people on these occasions and are a handy base for collecting money or serving drinks and food.

Shade structures may be put to more practical use in the winter months as well. They can provide a place to store outdoor furniture and play equipment that needs to be kept safe from the elements during the winter months.

These are just a few of the potential winter uses for a school shade sail structure and prove these products are an investment that can provide benefits all year round rather than just in the summer.

Here at Shaded Nation we regularly install shades for schools and are experienced at producing bespoke designs to suit each school’s individual needs. Have a browse of our website or get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Keeping pets sun safe

Here at Shaded Nation we know that pets are a genuine part of the family. You only have to take a look at our much-loved office hound Gus for proof of that.

As people love their pets so much, they will do whatever it takes to keep them fit, healthy and out of trouble. However, there is one problem that even well-meaning owners can overlook and that is sunburn.

It may surprise you to learn that dogs, cats and other animals can all get burnt in the sun and this can lead to serious health issues in much the same way it does for humans.

Keeping pets sun safe

Keeping pets sun safe

But what can be done to ensure your four-legged friend avoids the dangers of the sun? Firstly, the most important thing is to control the amount of time they spend exposed to direct sunlight.

One option is to simply keep your dog or cat inside. However, being cooped up for long periods is not good for an animal’s wellbeing and can lead to health and mental problems of its own.

The ideal solution is to allow your pet to spend time outside, but to have access to shade should they need it. A sail shade structure is the perfect way to provide this.

Manufactured to block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays, our shades can create a cool spot in which your pooch or moggy can relax while the sun is beating down. They also provide shelter from wind and rain and can, of course, be used by the human members of the family as well.

If you want to make sure you pet stays protected during sunny weather, specialised sun lotion for cats and dogs can be purchased and applied to areas most at risk of burn such as the ears and nose.

Providing your four-legged friend with access to shade is an ideal way to keep them happy and healthy just like Gus!

How to use a garden sun shade in winter

One of the main reservations people have about installing a shade structure in their garden is what they will do with it in the winter months.

This is understandable, particularly in countries like the UK where sunshine can be restricted to just a few months of the year.

However, such fears are unfounded. If you buy the right shade – like the ones we provide at Shaded Nation – you’ll be investing in a quality product that can be used all year round.

To prove this point, we’ve listed just a few of the possible winter uses for one of our products below.

The obvious use for a shade sail in the winter is as a means of shelter from the elements. Whether it’s wind, rain or snow, these structures can provide a protected spot that allows you to continue enjoying being out in the garden.

Smoking area
If your family contains a smoker, a shade structure can provide a handy spot under which they can smoke. It’s advisable for smoking to be carried out in the open air as it’s proven that inhaling second-hand smoke can lead to serious health problems. Smoking under a shade structure will help to protect the health of the entire family.

Special occasions
Whether it’s Bonfire Night or new year’s eve, there are a number of special occasions that occur in the winter months that call for people to spend time outside in the garden. A shade structure provides a sheltered spot in which friends and family can watch the bonfire or a fireworks display from a safe distance.

Sun safety
The main feature of our sun shades is that they provide up to 98.8 per cent protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Obviously, avoiding sunburn is much less of a concern in the winter, but it is still possible to get burnt at this time of year, especially if you have pale skin that is particularly vulnerable.

Installing a shade structure allows you to err on the side of caution and enjoy being outside regardless of what the sun is doing.

Pre-made or bespoke – which shade is right for you?

So, you’ve made up your mind and are ready to purchase a shade sail. But what option should you go for? Would a pre-made structure be best? Or perhaps a bespoke shade would better suit your needs?

To help you answer these questions, we’ve provided a brief overview of the features of both products below.

A look at the various ways shade sail structures can be used.

Pre-made or bespoke – which shade is right for you?

As the name suggests, a pre-made shade is ready to go as soon as it’s ordered and some of our structures can be up and running within just a few days of you getting in touch. Pre-made shades are ideal for small areas such as gardens and are an extremely affordable way to enhance the appearance and value of your home.

Some of the main benefits of this product type include fast delivery – next day in some cases – low cost and ease of installation. Indeed, you can construct a pre-made shade yourself relatively easily and we’ll provide full instructions on how to do this. However, if you’d rather have an expert touch, we’re happy to install it for you.

If you want a shade structure that’s perfectly tailored to suit your specific needs, the bespoke option is the best choice. We can provide a complete project management service that will see you all the way through from the design and analysis stage to installation and maintenance.

Bespoke shades tend to be produced for commercial clients such as schools, but we have provided them for homeowners in the past as well. The major benefits of this option are that you receive a unique shade that is manufactured with your particular needs in mind. Shape, size and colour, it’s all up to you!

If you still can’t decide what type of shade to go for, why not get in touch with us? We’ve been working in the business for years and are confident we’ll be able to answer any questions you might have, so send us an email or give us a call.

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.

New skin cancer detection app developed

The whole team at Shaded Nation are committed to trying to raise awareness about skin cancer.

This disease is becoming worryingly common here in the UK and many people are being affected even though the chances of contracting the condition can be drastically reduced by just taking a few simple precautions to stay safe in the sun.

With this in mind, we were interested to hear that a team of students in India have developed a new mobile phone application that can detect skin cancer and other diseases.

New skin cancer detection app developed

New skin cancer detection app developed

Created at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, the app works on any smartphone and takes pictures of the skin before uploading them to a server where they can be assessed by health professionals, the Press Trust of India reports.

It is hoped this will make it easier to diagnose skin cancer, ulcers and other medical conditions, particularly in areas where it may be difficult for people to see a doctor in person.

Debdoot Sheet, who led the project, commented: “Being a portable and affordable solution, it can be used by trained healthcare workers to reach out to elderly and patients in mobility-restricted areas for healthcare delivery.”

The researchers said the app is 99 per cent accurate and they hope it will be used in hospitals and parts of the world where the level of health infrastructure is poor.

This is certainly an interesting development and if it helps to diagnose more cases of skin cancer that can only be good news, as catching the disease early is the best way to avoid it becoming fatal.

In an ideal world, this would be less of an issue as people would reduce their chances of contracting the condition if they took more precautions when out in the sun. Our shade sail structures, which are manufactured to block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays, are one way to do this.

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.