You may have seen our recent back yard transformation with a new deck which gave us a beautiful and practical outdoor entertaining space. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite perfect due to the loss of shade from dismantling the ageing pergola, so we needed a new solution. And it is a Sunway folding arm, retractable awning.
We didn’t think our old timber pergola was in too bad shape, but it seemed shortsighted to build a brand new deck around it so we decided to remove it and, when we did, we found out it was actually pretty badly weathered in places so it was just as well! With it gone, we loved the new open feeling to the space, which seemed much bigger. But we no longer had any kind of roof to protect us from the sun which, in this climate, is obviously a big issue, especially being a very sun safe family with young kids.
After some discussion, we settled on a retractable shade solution so that we could have the area totally open with the nice view to the lawn at the end of the deck when we didn’t need shade, and then we could open the awning when we were out there in the sun, especially entertaining friends or just having dinner as a family.
We knew Sunway by reputation so we were delighted to have the opportunity to work with the brand and choose from their range. We didn’t really know where to start though, having never bought an awning before or had a space for one. It was great to have a Sunway specialist come out from the local store to tell us more about the options, what was possible, and how we could customise it to our space and taste. No question was too stupid (I’m sure some were, but they certainly didn’t make me feel bad for asking!) and I found this a really important and useful part of the process.
Obviously, aesthetics are important to me as well as functionality and quality, and I spent quite a bit of time deciding on the broad charcoal and grey stripe design. Our house is not particularly modern so I felt it would suit the traditional striped look, but black and white felt too harsh against the red brick. I’m really delighted with how it looks. It ties in well with the house trim which we recently had painted charcoal, and the grey of the deck.
All Sunway products are custom made to measure to suit your space, so we were able to consider our very long outdoor dining table and ensure the awning would comfortably cover this at four metres long. Because the only place to fix the awning was quite low, under the eaves, we chose the Sunway Fabric Beam model to give us a bit of extra clearance and head height.
We chose a short straight valance to finish off the look, but it also comes with the option of a scalloped valance or none at all.
It’s fully motorised which means we can easily open it using the remote control, and we can even control it from our phones via WiFi using the Neo Smart Blinds app. There’s also a wireless motion sensor which cleverly ‘knows’ to retract the awning if it gets too windy (especially handy if you accidentally leave it open at the end of a party after a few glasses of bubbles, for example!).
The awning install happened just in time for the super hot Christmas holidays which was certainly a blessing. Electricians came in first to hard wire for the motorisation and then the awning itself went up, It was all done in a morning; just a few hours. I couldn’t believe it! And suddenly, we were set for summer entertaining!
We are actually getting a lot more use out of the awning now, with the weather still sunny but nowhere near as uncomfortably hot as in the middle of the summer. The deck has really come into its own the last few weeks and we are so happy with our awning, which really finished it off for us.
Disclosure: Sunway provided us with an awning in exchange for an honest review of the product and service.