Most home gardeners buy garden canopies to add some shade into their yards. They erect them over the deck, patio or paved area hoping to flee from the boiling sun that threatens to malign their sensitive skin. With shade overhead, the sun no longer has its bite and people can sit all day under these canopies without being seared to death.
Yet the obvious benefit of a garden canopy is also its downfall. Shade = no sunlight. While this may good for the purpose a canopy was intended invariably we forget to pull them down once we no longer need them. A day or two …or three… months passes and before you can blame the kids for leaving it up the lawn has now perished due to lack of sunlight and the plants subjected to its cover appear impoverished and neglected.
You stop and consider your predicament realising that while shade is good for you and your family, your plants and garden aren’t as wildly positive about it. In fact, as you soon realise, they suffer because of it.
Garden canopies are intended to be erected for short periods of time – for example, the weekend at most. But, human nature being what it is we often forget to dismantle them until the next gale force weather warning interrupts our TV viewing.
So how can garden canopies co-exist with the garden?
I’m glad you asked. Understanding our own human laziness when it comes to erecting/dismantling a canopy we have to explore other avenues. Putting it up and pulling it down every time you want to spend some time relaxing in the garden is not a plausible option.
Instead, try achieving one of these options:
- Make a family rule that when the first person sits under the canopy at the start of the day that they move it to another location. Even moving it the same distance as its width will give your sun-loving plants a little relief.
- When the last person leaves the canopy get them to turn it upside down. This won’t be great for your lawn, if that’s where it resides, but it will allow the rest of your garden some breathing space.
- Set yourself a reminder that it always comes down on a [fill in a specific day of the week]. This way you’re guaranteed that the canopy is destined to be packed away at least once per week and will only go up again when needed.
- Dismantle the legs only. Some types of garden canopy will remain intact, yet lowered, if you remove the legs. As in #2 it does have problems for your lawn but can save your plants some grief.
With a few rules in place, summer and garden canopies can co-exist and your garden won’t struggle from the increased shade.