patio shades

5 Tips for Choosing Exterior Patio Shades in the Charleston Lowcountry

There are many options for exterior patio shades. If you don’t know where to begin, read my 5 tips for choosing exterior patio shades in Charleston, SC.  Charleston residents enjoy their beautiful lowcountry views of the marsh, beaches and golf courses, but the sweltering heat of the deep south can make it challenging to find the motivation to sit outside in the summer months. If you love being outdoors, but need a way to reduce the heat and glare, exterior patio shades can help you enjoy your patio more often this summer. Consider these 5 tips when choosing exterior shades.

Solar Shades for Patios

Heat & Glare

Heat & glare during the Charleston summers is intense! Exterior patio shades offer sun and heat protection for your outdoor living space. Sunlight is blocked before it gets inside, lowering heat gain and cooling bills. In addition to keeping you cool, exterior solar shades can protect your expensive patio furniture from fading, due to harmful UV rays.

Light Control

The amount of light coming into your space will determine the fabric “opacity” or “openness” that you should choose. Fabric opacity is basically determined by the tightness of the fabric weave.  Fabrics with a lower openness percentage block more UV rays. Fabrics with a higher percentage, provide a better view to the outside. If you have a ton of light coming in, choose a 1% fabric.  It will filter the most light, but still allow you to see the view.  10% is at the other end of the spectrum.  It will maximize your view to the outdoors. It will still let in some sunlight, but block the glare.

exterior solar screen shades

Motorized vs. Manual

Motorized is a great option and a safe alternative to cords. Motorized patio shades provide easy operation that can be automated through home automation systems or at the touch of a button, using a switch or a remote control. Manual continuous loop cords are also available and allow for smooth operation, even on heavy shades.




Patio shades give a sleek and modern look to any patio, but will also complement traditional styles. Looking for ideas?  Graber has a great photo gallery that can give you patio shade ideas to inspire you.

Exterior Solar Shades


Quality is important, especially with exterior patio shades.  Check to see if the shades you plan to purchase have a warranty.  You’ll want to buy durable, exterior-rated fabrics and components engineered to withstand weather, humidity, and sun exposure.