Articles and Ideas for your outdoor space from our outdoor experts

Your Guide to Backyard Summer Safe Shade

Posted by Jonathan Blampied on Feb 13, 2020 12:55:16 PM

Seeking respite from the sun is part of the human condition. Shade is a practical form of sun protection that has helped humans thrive throughout our history and when coupled with SunSmart initiatives, form a strong foundation of outdoor enjoyment. There’s no need to fear the sun, just respect it.

Institutions such as the Cancer Council of Australia actively promote sun safety and being sun smart. The 5 core steps of being SunSmart are well known:


  • Slip-on covering clothing
  • Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on sunglasses


Each of these SunSmart pillars is essential to look after your friends and family. We are in the business of shade and we’re passionate about sun protection.


What is the best shade for my home?

UV Radiation (UVR) exposure is the root cause of harmful effects on humans and is what we’re aiming to prevent. Well-designed and positioned shade can reduce UVR exposure from the sun and is a great preventative measure to help reduce the risk. We suggest installing a shade system over your outdoor area to make sure you can enjoy the great Australian outdoors without undue risk.

You should choose an outdoor shade product with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor above 35. At this level, the product can provide all-day protection from UVR.

Quality outdoor shade products such as our umbrella range feature canvas coverings.


When do we need to seek shade?

Sun protection is advised at all times throughout the year (not just summer) when the UV index sits above 3. In Australia, this can be all year round with only Hobart and Melbourne sitting below 3 in winter.

We’ve known for a while now that you can still get sunburn when it’s cloudy so make sure you’re looking to shade for your family gatherings to ensure everyone is looked after. The best shade provides protection from direct sunlight with excellent coverage from above and the side to account for UVR reflection from surfaces. It’s also important to factor in the suns position throughout the day.

Our Shade Recommendations for Australian Summer

The best thing for outdoor enjoyment is a shade solution that you can be sure will protect your friends and family from damage.

  • High UPF rating on shade fabric or canvas
  • Movable to allow for all-day shade
  • Remember the other 4 pillars, you need them all to stay safe

Most of all, have a great time bringing your friends and family together and enjoy all that the Australian summer has to offer you. Don’t forget to have a quintessential BBQ with your loved ones and relish the company they provide.

For more information on our shade solutions have a look at our product range or get in touch with a shade specialist for expert advice.

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Topics: Sun Protection, Outdoor Shade, outdoor living

The Great Australian Backyard BBQ Guide

Posted by Jonathan Blampied on Feb 4, 2020 2:42:46 PM

Barbecue is the great Australian tradition where food is bestowed upon your guests and enjoyed with friends and family all summer long. Gather your people and put on a sizzling show with summer plates and excellent flipping techniques.

We all know the basics to a good grilling: stereotypical shrimp on the barbie, Veggie Sausages for your mate’s new fling and perfect flame-licked steak, just like you were taught.

Let’s cook up a plan to take your BBQ game to the next level.


How to get the perfect BBQ Steak

Steak is a bbq delicacy, your guests will be thrilled when they see and smell a fresh beef cut on the grill. Make sure you get the right cut of meat and cook it to perfection.

Give your chosen cut a good sprinkling of salt on both sides, set them on a hot grill until they’re nicely seared - check for firmness and then let them rest. This will let the juices and flavour reset throughout the cut.

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Flawless burgers every time

Slapping burgers on the grill is a superb way to feed a larger group. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to: Leave them alone. Only flip them once and let your burger filler cook through. Don’t push down with your spatula, I know it’s a habit but all that happens is the juice (flavour) squeezes out leaving your patties dried up and bland. Also, don’t cook medium rare patties, it’s not a steak! (see above)


How to not poison your entire social group with BBQ Chicken

Chicken is always a contentious issue when you BBQ - you don’t want to undercook a chicken, ever, but, it’s also suboptimal to serve up a dry piece of meat on a bone because that’s gross.

The most reliable way to look after the chicken lovers at your party is to salt the chicken all over, sear the outside and then move the chicken to an unheated part of the BBQ. A rack or empty bit of the grill is best, this way the heat of the grill will continue to cook the inside of the chicken without drying it out or burning the skin. Always check the meat once it firms up to ensure it’s cooked all the way through, it’s not a steak! (see above)

Is it really a BBQ if a snag doesn’t hit the grill?

Sausages on the barbie are quintessential. It’s the 20’s now so it’s time to step up your grill game and introduce a variety of sausages to the palette - other than the classic Aussie banger you could try a German bratwurst or mayhap a Traditional South African boerewors? You can even go with an American styled hotdog on the barbie just to mix up the expectations. As with any meat ensure you know what it’s made of. Some sausages are smoked or pre-cooked and can be quickly heated up on the BBQ whereas a fresh sausage will need to be cooked through.


One of our new favourites for BBQ season is to set up a dedicated condiment station. Give your guests the unbridled power to construct their own hotdog or sausage in bread combination. Get creative with the toppings you supply, don’t stray too far away from onions, tomato sauce and barrel-aged bbq sauce but try offering salsa, hot sauce, barbecued tomato or even a blue cheese sauce. Don’t forget fresh buns or bread to hold it!



Vegetables are for everyone, even kids

Corn is a great bbq food and takes very little effort. You can throw a corn cob on the BBQ pre-husking. This gives the corn itself a little bit of protection whilst serving as natural tinfoil. You’ll get a great smokey flavour and a well-cooked vegetable. Don’t forget to incorporate capsicums and tomatoes in your plan. Whole tomatoes and capsicums are best grilled by slicing in half and placing the open face on your grill. When the veggies are warm and have a bit of colour, flip them over and get a bit of caramelisation on the other side to finish. If you’ve got some smaller tomatoes still on the vine, place the whole bunch on the grill, still attached - they’ll be perfect (note: this doesn’t work as well with grapes).


Fill up the esky, it’s beverage time

Some would say hydration is the most important thing on the menu for your next bbq. Fill up the esky with some beer, have a few bottles, or boxes, of wine and be a good host by offering a variety of delicious non-alcoholic beverages such as iced tea, homemade lemonade and perhaps a nice fruity punch.

Sangria is a great way to get through a hot summer day, it’s easy to make and can quench a large group of people. A bottle of wine (red or white or both) combined with lemon, orange, lime and your choice of berries and mixer (lemonade or ginger ale are best, don’t use cola).

As always, have plenty of ice-cold water to go along with your alcoholic drinks and make sure you look after your guests - all that BBQ food will help.


Do you have room for dessert?

The best advice we can make is suggesting your guests bring a dessert - that way you don’t have to think about it! If they ask you for ideas, however, a homemade apple or berry pie with a dollop of ice cream is a wonderful palette cleanser. Perhaps you could even splash out and grill some fruit such as peaches on the bbq and serve them with ice cream. You can’t go past a good traditional Aussie pavlova if you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser.


Enjoy your summer

As always, look after yourself, your friends and your family - use sunscreen, remember to cover up with shade and stay hydrated (with water as well) and of course have a great time.

Looking for the best outdoor shade solution for summer BBQs? Try the Shadowspec Serenity™

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Topics: Australian Sun, Sun Protection, outdoor living, BBQ

The Summer Sun - Be Sun smart this Summer

Posted by Jonathan Blampied on Mar 24, 2017 11:52:47 AM

Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes during the summer months in Australia & New Zealand. Some of the highest levels of UV radition in the world are experience in the antipodes this results in a dispropotionate amount of skin cancer in the area. approximately, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.

The best way to stop getting a sunburn is to stay out of the sun! But that’s not always practical, and when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest (between 10 am-2 pm) is when we are likely to be out and about with our friends and family, enjoying the summer. Here is a list of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from sunburn.


Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must in the hot Aussie summer! It should be stored below 30°C and be sure not to use sunscreen that is past its expiry date. If you are swimming or near water you might want to consider a waterproof or water resistant sunscreen.

Choose the right SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a relative measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you from Ultraviolet Rays (UV Rays) – or the sun.  For example if it normally takes 30 minutes for your skin to redden, a product with SPF30 will prevent sunburn for 30 times longer.

Sensitive Skin or Allergic to Sunscreen?

If you have sensitive skin or young children it is recommended to use a natural sunscreen with an SPF30 or higher and re-apply every few hours. Additionally it is recommended to wear loose, lightweight, long-sleeved clothing and a wide brimmed hat with sun glasses to provide extra protection.  The more skin that your clothing covers – the better your protection will be!

Stay in the shade

This is one of the most effective forms of sun protection as it blocks most of the harmful UV rays and it’s easy! When you go outdoors find areas the sun doesn’t reach, like under a large mature tree or outdoor gazebo.  If you are in a place that doesn’t have natural shading (for example the beach, a sports field or a pool area), using an outdoor umbrella, a tent or shade canopy to keep you from getting sunburnt. 

Cover up!

Wearing the right clothes and covering as much of your body as possible will help block the sun. The more skin you cover the more protected from sun burn you will be. Some clothing fabric has built in sun protection, the label will indicate the UV protection rating.

Avoid the sun during peak hours

In Australia peak hours for UV radiation are between 10am and 2pm. Approximately 60% of the days total radiation is received during these hours.

If you are looking for high quality shade cover options that suit you, Shadowspec’s unparalleled range of pool umbrellas, pool shade systems, outdoor awnings and wind resistant sun shade options represent the finest in design and construction, and have been developed specifically for the harsh Australian sun.

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Topics: Australian Sun, Sun Protection, Shade systems

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