What’s a better way to beat the summer heat than to relax in a tasteful, custom-built shaded structure outside? No doubt you’ve seen or heard about private cabanas you can rent for the day near Vegas pools or Florida beaches. Imagine the splendor of having one right in your very own yard this summer — whether or not you actually have a pool!

If you’ve been thinking about an affordable addition to your home that enhances your ability to enjoy the summer months, here are five reasons to consider a brand-new, custom-built cabana.

1. Cabanas are private

One major distinction separates gazebos and cabanas—walls. Unlike gazebos, which are open on all four sides, cabanas feature some kind of walls. Curtains made of outdoor fabric can be drawn shut whenever needed. Cabanas are a great place to let people change in and out of swimsuits, or simply relax in a private setting with a good book. The shade they provide lets you cool off after working in the garden, and as the curtains move in the breeze, you’ll almost feel as though you’re by the ocean!

3. They’re great for dining

If you like having summer meals outside, a cabana could give you a world-class setting for a special meal. Many cabanas are big enough to fit a large table inside, and the curtains protect from flies and other nuisances. Sharing meals with family and friends is one of the highlights of summer, and a cabana can make it even better.

4. They’re peaceful and quiet

Spending an afternoon by your pool with the kids can be tiring for both you and them. If naps for the children become necessary, a cabana is a great retreat where they can rest in the quiet away from the noise. But it’s not just for kids. People of all ages can enjoy the restful seclusion of a private outdoor cabana.

5. Outdoor parties

Just like dining, hosting outdoor parties can be a lot of fun when you add a cabana in to the mix. Not only does it give your yard a luxurious aura, it allows groups of people to interact naturally by offering different places to meet and converse. You can string lights, serve drinks, or simply have inviting outdoor furniture in the cabana — great fun all summer long!

Your new cabana

Adults and children alike will love your new cabana, whether or not you have a pool outside. Since cabanas are such a versatile structure, having one in your own yard can be a worthwhile investment, in addition to the lifestyle benefits they afford.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking “just anybody” can build your cabana to the highest professional standard. If these structures are going to last, and look truly beautiful, you’re going to need a skilled and experienced builder who has already completed a large number of cabanas. Also look for past clients have written positive things on popular review sites, such as Yelp and Google. The right contractor will be able to deliver a high quality cabana that fits your taste and preference — and for many homeowners, the affordable price is one of the best parts.

We could all do with more ways to save time these days. Options are plentiful almost everywhere we look. Even choosing a specialist for your patio canopy can be a chore, if you don’t really know where to look. How is it that something so simple could actually turn into a long, drawn-out, frustrating process?

Basically, it’s because you want the best value for your money — even with something as seemingly ‘minor’ as a patio canopy. If you’re going make an investment in this home amenity, you want the best materials and craftsmanship available. And you certainly want the best installation and maintenance to keep your patio canopy in tip-top condition.

The question is, how do you find a company who’s going to deliver all of this? You want to get right down to the business of using and enjoying your canopy-style patio awning — not spend your time dealing with manufacturing and installation problems that continue to get worse over time. This is a relatively small investment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect it to be worry free.

Here are some things to look for when choosing a specialist for this type of awning:

1. Years of experience

You may get a lower bid from a company that hasn’t been around very long, but it’s good to proceed with caution. Are there other, more experienced specialists in your area? If the price is that much lower, can you expect the same level of quality materials, professional installation, and impeccable attention to detail? Often time the answer is ‘no’. This is why experience awning specialists tend to win more business and collect more customer reviews — the results they produce really are better.

2. Range of services

Look for companies who customize and install a whole range of awnings. This ensures you’re working with a true awning expert who has experience installing many different types of awnings in different situations.

3. Good reviews online

This is a hugely underutilized resource for people looking at awnings and canopies. Reading what past clients have written about a particular company many not be 100% indicative of the experience you’ll have, but if you notice patterns of happy or unhappy customers, you’ll certainly have a better idea what to expect.

4. Expertise

Look for a specialist that goes above and beyond the norm, and can explain to you why their expertise is different. Look for a range of options, services and materials — and expect them to be clearly explained! Here are some examples:

  • Computerized design for the perfect fit
  • Flexible custom design options
  • Roll drops, pole dressings, weather-resistant fabric
  • Other useful options to create your perfect awning

Research pays off

You may be tempted to call the first awning specialist you find, and get this project underway as soon as possible. This is understandable, especially when warm weather is coming. But if you take some extra time to find a really reputable and qualified specialist, your awning will look great, fit perfectly, function optimally, and last every bit as long as it should.