East London Parasols also do really beautiful sun shades in lots of colours – I’m a particular fan of the ones with elaborate patterns underneath that look super simple from a distance. A fun surprise when you come to sit down!
Roof form trees
Many trees can be trained into all sorts of shapes and sizes, creating a natural living pergola. “The perfect blend for shade and privacy are parasol trees” says Georgina. “Available in many different species including hornbeam, mulberry, London plane, and ornamental pear to name but a few.
“Not only are you protected from the midday sun, but also from overlooking buildings, whilst creating a verdant habitat for bees and insects. All these trees are deciduous, so when the leaves fall, there is obviously less canopy, but also less glare from the sun.”
We used roof-form Morus alba in our Chiswick Orchard project, where they create an inviting dining area away from the house. Roof form trees and other living structures like this have a wonderful architectural quality of their own which is an element often missing from smaller gardens. They also add height to the wider planting, which can help create an illusion of more space, and look brilliant lit up at night.