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For The Home

Outdoor Fabrics

Author: Shawndrea Corbin
Issue: October, 2012, Page 44
Sunbrella’s St. Tropez line is featured on stools, pictured left to right, in Melon, Dune and Canary. The striped fabric is Boca Linda in the Desert Oasis colorway.

Jazzy and bright, Sunbrella employs a green philosophy from production to its post-use recycling program.

Both the textile company’s Optima and St. Tropez fabric lines meet the Association of Contract Textiles’ (ACT) standards. These include ethical fiber sourcing, material safety, water conservation, air quality in manufacturing and social accountability during the production process.

In addition, the fabrics are labeled contract-grade, a distinction that is made by passing and exceeding durability tests. These tests consider abrasion resistance, colorfastness to wet/dry conditions and colorfastness to light exposure. Sunbrella fabrics are sold by the yard and are available through Inside/Out at the Arizona Design Center, Scottsdale,

For more information, call (480) 994-1060, or visit

Q - Shade trees can help cool one’s home, cut down on air-conditioning use, save on electric bills and cut down the use of fossil fuel-produced energy, say sources. What are the best trees to have in a desert environment?

A - Greg Corman of Gardening Insights Inc., a landscape design business in Tucson, says he considers several things when choosing shade trees for a house. The most important of these are the size and shape of a tree at maturity, water needs and whether or not the plant is deciduous (meaning it loses its leaves seasonally).

“Trees that are tall, relatively slim and thornless are easiest to fit near structures without creating a maintenance headache,” Corman explains. He recommends low-water-use trees because heavy watering creates potential termite issues if a tree is too close to a building. Also, deciduous trees allow warmth from the sun in the winter to enter a home, while creating shade in the summer.

Thomas Park, owner of Xerophytic Design Inc. in Phoenix, considers similar characteristics when picking a tree for shade properties. “I ask if the canopy provides filtered shade for understory plants, which can help reduce summer burn-out and replacement costs,” he notes. Acacia salicina, he says, is a tree that helps reduce heat-related stress on plants growing under its canopy by offering filtered shade in the afternoon.

Following are some recommended trees for shade coverage:
• Blue palo verde
• Kidneywood
• Ironwood (super drought-tolerant)
• Palo blanco
• Eucalyptus cultivars

Greg Corman can be reached at Gardening Insights Inc., (520) 603-2703, or Thomas Park can be contacted at Xerophytic Design Inc., (602) 231-9728, or
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