Buyers want outdoor living. Whether it's a $500,000 starter home or a $7 million luxury pad, shaded outdoor living can help sell a property.

Uncovered decks and patios that would have been a drawcard in the 1980s are no longer enough for modern Kiwis. .

In 2016 companies such as Cool Awnings, Arch Gola, Total Cover, Fresco Shades and many others are doing a roaring trade selling retrofit canopies, shade sales, and outdoor blinds made of fire resistant PVC.

That's because 21st century Kiwis value outdoor living, says Ken Davis of Herriot + Melhuish: Architecture.

"Canopies can be very effective devices to provide shelter from Auckland's sun, rain and wind," says Davis. "Verandas and canopies can also enhance the appearance of a building. It is not just functional."

Vendors worried about the lack of shade at their property can throw a few thousand dollars at the problem says Harcourts real estate agent Graham Viall. The investment will pay for itself, says Viall.

Shade solutions vary hugely. If the home has no shade at all then a $30 shade cloth from Bunnings Warehouse creates some, says Davis. Or at the other end of the scale you can spend $30,000 and get a top-of-the range outdoor living area with a Louvretec spiral pivot opening roof system."It's not like negative expenditure on a swimming pool."

It's all a matter of what the home owner can afford. The latest innovation, says John Glenn of Cool Awnings is the Helioscreen fully retractable roof. These cost around $1000 a square metre.

At a cheaper price point, but still a good solution for home shade and outdoor living are retractable awnings, which come in a variety of shapes, materials and colours, says Glenn.

Awnings have moved on and buyers often choose motorised winch systems, which cost around $500. Some of these motorised systems can detect high wind conditions using a 3D motion sensor and automatically retract the awning. Motors can be retrofitted to lateral arm or, shadeline awnings as well as drop curtains, says Glenn.

Fixed shade is also popular, he says. A flat panel or arched fixed awning costs from $450 a square metre including GST installed. It's very common for these to be made from 99 per cent UV resistant translucent architectural PVC.

Beware, says Glenn, of buying cheap imports that may not have adequate UV protection or can't withstand harsh New Zealand conditions.

Owners who plan to flick on the property probably don't worry too much about the finer details of their newly shaded area. If you want to live in the house, however, then it can be a good idea to get architectural input and look at systems for enclosing and heating the space in winter.

Home owners installing large permanent shade solutions do need to check with their local council to see if they need building consent, says Glenn. Few need it, but they should always ask the question.

NZ Herald