As the summer sun beats down, there's nothing better than finding a little refreshing shade. Creating areas of shade around your home pays big benefits in lots of ways. Shade keeps the inside of your house cooler, which makes you more comfortable and also keeps your energy bills lower. It keeps landscaping cooler, which helps reduce water usage. It makes outdoor areas more comfortable and enjoyable for you, your family and even your pets. And shade can enhance curb appeal, which makes your home more valuable. If you're seeking some ways to block those hot rays this year, you've got lots of options. Here are a few of them, along with some of their advantages and disadvantages. Patio covers For most yards, a patio cover is simply a shed roof with a moderate slope that extends off the rear or side of the house. The traditional design was to attach one side to the house and rest the other side on a beam supported by posts, but today most codes require that the structure be self...
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