Log In

Reset Password

Health concerns fuel demand for sunshades

First Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next Last
Stay cool: some of the range of patio umbrellas and outdoor parasols at Island Trading (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bright colours and eye-catching designs apart, there is a health and wellbeing side to patio umbrellas and outdoor parasols and sunshades.

And today, more people are factoring in such considerations when they decide whether to purchase an outdoor shade.

Bermuda’s high levels of sunshine, relatively clear skies and high humidity can be a challenge when it comes to avoiding lasting skin damage from the sun’s rays.

“Living in Bermuda is a bit like being on a ship. Most of us wouldn’t dream of going out in a boat without a hat on. Sitting outside on our porch or garden is exactly the same,” said Laura Farge-Lowe, vice-president of Island Trading, on Reid Street East.

The store sells a wide variety of patio umbrellas and shades, and Ms Farge-Lowe has noticed customers taking more interest in the wellbeing benefits that the sun shades can provide.

“Having a patio umbrella is like having a big sun hat,” she said, adding that some customers, particularly those with children, make a point of asking about sun protection qualities of shades.

Another stockist of patio umbrellas is Gorham’s, on St John’s Road, Pembroke. Henry Durham, a director of the company, said: “Umbrellas can block more than three-quarters of UV light on a sunny day and can help with avoiding skin cancer.”

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends Sunbrella fabrics in shading products to help prevent sun-induced damage to skin, in conjunction with regular use of sunscreen.

Ms Farge-Lowe said Sunbrella fabric “is the gold standard and our number one choice of sunshade fabric at Island Trading”.

As the summer heat builds, interest in outdoor sun umbrellas has increased. According to Ms Farge-Lowe, the number one reason why people do not use their outdoor spaces is a lack of shelter from the heat or rain.

The sun umbrella solution is increasing in popularity, partly due to people aspiring to have an outdoor shade similar to the ones they have seen and used while on vacation.

And many are keen to improve the look of their home’s outdoor environment and even make a fashion statement.

Colours, patterns, and fabric choices can be customised, as can the look of the centre pole. And that pole need not be in the centre, options include cantilevered shades, and umbrella poles with a joint to allow them to be angle-adjusted.

Ms Farge-Lowe said that when used in conjunction with an outdoor table, a patio umbrella can create a harmonious, cosier space to enjoy an outdoor lunch, or evening meal. This can be further enhanced with lighting effects.

Customers considering a sun umbrella should ensure they have a solid base stand to keep it stable and hold it in place if the wind picks up, said Ms Farge-Lowe.

She recommends customers opt for a shade made from a durable fabric, and remember that to give ample shade to those sitting beneath it, an umbrella’s spread should ideally be about two feet greater than the garden table or seating area it covers.

Patio umbrellas can last for many years if they are looked after, such as being taken down when not in use, or when high winds threaten. Many have replaceable parts and coverings.

At Island Trading, patio umbrellas range in price from $250 upwards. One of the store’s leading suppliers is the respected brand Tucci.

When asked why interest in patio umbrellas and outdoor parasols is increasing, Ms Farge said it was a way for people to do more with their outdoor areas and expand their living space.

She added: “The days of people going outside and baking in the sun are gone. People want to be protected from the sun when they are outside, and also be able to stay cool.”

To coincide with Bermuda Heroes Weekend, Island Trading will offer a 10 per cent discount on its patio umbrella range on Saturday, June 17

Laura Farge-Lowe, vice-president of Island Trading, has noticed an increasing interest in outdoor umbrellas for creating a shady spaces. Protection from the sun’s rays in summer, and being able to better utilise outdoor space are thought to be two of the reasons (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Sckye Dickinson and Sam Desilva, staff of Island Trading, enjoy a shady break under patio umbrellas at the store (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Some of the range of patio umbrellas and outdoor parasols at Island Trading (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
An outdoor space can be transformed into an extended living space, particularly if a sun umbrella is used to shield the sun’s ray and provide a cool spot, as shown by this display at Island Trading in Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)