During the warmer Summer months, our gîte guests like to have a barbeque, usually on Sundays, for lunch. They can sit out on the terrace, enjoy the garden and sunshine, and tuck into steaks, chops and sausages, with a glass or two if they're not driving home that afternoon.
The terrace is fully open to the afternoon sun, and sometimes this can become oppressive, so we have been keeping an eye open for a means of shading it. You can mount awnings on the wall, but the terrace extends beyond the end of the building, so either the awning would be too short, or some elaborate frame would be needed so support the protruding end.
As an alternative, you can get nice free-standing metal frames with cotton coverings but they're hard to fit precisely around the tables, and would be awkward to get into and out from.
The solution? Four expanding umbrella-like parasols, placed along the length of the tables, that can be opened or closed to the suit the number of people at table, and tilted to compensate for the sun's changing position in the sky. Less that 50 euros each, so 200 euros for four; much cheaper than the other options. They're mounted on stands held down with paving slabs to match the terrace finish (52 euros for the 32 slabs required)
The paving slabs are, incidentally, much cheaper than the option proposed by the shop: special weights designed for the purpose, 4 required per parasol at 25 euros each. i.e. twice as much in total than the parasols themselves.
And it's an excuse for a photograph of my Sage plants: herbs for the kitchen, and decoration for free as a bonus!