Outdoor blinds and shades are a good choice for creating shade around virtually any structure of your property. They can be installed on a gazebo or carport, or on the frame of a patio or porch awning, for blocking the sun and offering privacy and sound insulation from nearby neighbours. When you're ready to select outdoor shades or blinds for your exterior space, note a few important questions to ask, so you know you get the right variety and are happy with your new blinds, and your outdoor area, for years to come.
Ask about privacy
Not all blinds will offer the same amount of privacy when you're outside, and especially at night when you turn on an exterior light. Blinds with a very loose, open weave will block off the direct view of your neighbours, but using a light source on your side of the shades could easily illuminate the area and allow shadows, shapes, and other features to show through. Darker shades may actually make the problem worse, as they offer contrast to the light. If you want full privacy from your neighbours, ensure you ask about this and get a fabric with a dense weave that reflects light rather than lets it pass through.
Ask about how they lock in place
You don't want your exterior blinds to flap around in the wind, as this can damage the blinds and be bothersome when you're outside. Some blinds will have a lock at the bottom to keep them in place when closed, but note how secure they would be if you had them partially opened. Blinds that tie as they roll open may not stay in place against high winds, so blinds that run along a track on either side can be the better option in windy areas.
Ask about the climate
Exterior blinds are all made with different fabric, and some will be heavier than others, so they withstand various climates; for example, if your blinds will be in direct, hot sunlight, you may want a vinyl or PVC material rather than actual fabric so that the blinds don't fade and discolour over time. Vinyl may also be better in an area with frequent storms, as the water will easily wash over its surface rather than get absorbed. On the other hand, if you live in a colder climate, fabric may help to insulate your outdoor space. A loose weave of fabric can also allow for more air circulation, making the space comfortable during hot summer days.