When sunny days become too much, adequate shade protection is a must.
A large patio or deck may be one of the features that led you to choose your current home, but without adequate shade, these outdoor living spaces can quickly become uncomfortable. This is especially true if you live in a warm climate where summer sunshine and temperatures can be intense.
Many homes include a deck or patio that lacks an awning or any shade structure. If that describes your dwelling, you will need to research backyard shade ideas and find out which one will work best in your own backyard.
This article is a great place to start, as we have collected an impressive number of patio shade options for your perusal. Click through for inspiration on how to turn your patio into a comfortably well-shaded outdoor area.
One of the more classic deck shade ideas, building a gazebo over your deck, or adjacent to it, is a great way to escape the sun. A gazebo provides shade and a lovely focal point to your outdoor living space.
It’s also a marvelous place to locate an outdoor kitchen. Most gazebos have a solid roof that makes the space beneath feel more like an outdoor room than a shaded structure.
Don’t overlook the power of nature to provide plenty of backyard shade over your outdoor space.
Plant a tall hedge near your deck’s border for privacy as well as shade. A flowering hedge will add a blast of color and fragrance to your garden as well. If you are building a home, try to arrange your house plan so that your backyard patio is well-shaded by mature trees.
A classic canvas awning is an attractive patio shade idea that also serves as a design element. Your awning may attach to your home or be supported by its own shade structure.
If you want your patio or deck open to full sun sometimes, look for a removable or retractable awning. You can find a permanent or retractable canopy in nearly any color or pattern to coordinate with your outdoor furniture and décor.
Less expensive than an awning, a sun shade sail is a great choice for providing backyard shade to one or more areas of your garden. These affordable fabric panels attach easily to your home and other structures to cast shade on specific areas of your backyard.
Place one over your outdoor dining table, and another over a swing or seating area. A sail shade is also a great backyard shade option over a sandbox or dog run.
Perhaps the easiest DIY shade structure to erect is a classic market umbrella. Don’t overlook this basic piece of outdoor furniture, especially if you have a table designed to support one.
If not, freestanding patio umbrellas are also available and can be moved around to shade your seating area as the sun tracks across the sky. Look for a cantilever umbrella supported by an offset pole that allows you to adjust it as needed.
If you live in a tropical area, it may be easy to find a contractor who knows how to build palapas or thatched roof shade canopies. Commonly built over tiki bars, palapas provide a natural-looking source of backyard shade over a patio as well.
Consider a palapa if your outdoor space already carries a tropical, beach, or even desert inspired design scheme. Note that a thatched shade canopy is extremely heat resistant, but it isn’t likely to withstand a heavy winter snow.
A retractable patio shade is one that can be extended or retracted as needed. They are usually installed on the side of the home. Some have to be manually opened or closed, while others are motorized and powered by a remote control. Retractable patio shades come in many colors and types of durable outdoor fabrics.
Various kinds of pergolas and gazebos come with convertible roof options today. Certain styles of louvered pergolas have settings for full opening to allow sunlight in, or full closure when you need the highest level of shade. You can even order pergolas with integrated LED lighting for perfect nighttime ambiance.
While not technically “retractable” a pop-up canopy is a convenient way to obtain temporary or moveable shade for a party or other outdoor event.
Easy to set up in just a few minutes, these structures are useful in your own backyard as well as when camping or attending outdoor events away from home. Pop up canopies are also great for renters who need patio shade but cannot build any type of structure.
If you are fortunate enough to have your own backyard swimming pool, you’ll undoubtedly need shaded areas to relax between swimming sessions. Screened porches are wonderful outdoor rooms that provide shade as well as protection from mosquitos and other biting insects.
In Florida, California, and other warm states, the entire pool deck is often covered in a screened shelter that connects to a covered patio built onto the house itself.
A poolside gazebo is a gorgeous solution to the problem of providing shade near the water, but many other backyard shade ideas also work well around a pool.
If you have a spacious pool deck or concrete patio, look for freestanding umbrellas or sun sails for an affordable way to create smaller islands of shade. A curtained cabana is also a classic poolside shade option, but their heavy curtains can sometimes feel stifling on hot and humid days.
If you already have an open-top wooden pergola structure, it’s fairly easy to DIY a cover to create a shaded outdoor space. Purchase translucent greenhouse panels and attach them to the top of the pergola shade structure. Make sure the panels have adequate support; add wooden braces if the panels seem unstable.
If your wood pergola or gazebo has a lattice-type roof, look for a fabric cover that can be attached to the roof’s frame. Convertible and retractable pergola canopy options abound, and many include side curtains that you can draw closed for privacy or extra shade.
Make sure any gazebo or pergola sun shade is made from outdoor fabric that will endure through several years of sunlight, heat, and rainfall.
A backyard is meant for recreation and relaxation, but if you are baking in the sun, too much heat will ruin your plans. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, adequate sun protection is also necessary to prevent skin damage.
Pets and children will also appreciate a patio shade when they need to cool down from their play. Backyard shade ideas also provide shelter for pets needing protection from the rain.
If you have a covered porch or covered patio, you still may need shade to protect you from sunlight angling in from the side. Like indoor blinds or shades, outdoor shades can be rolled up or down between porch columns to filter or block sunlight.
Most are made of a material that allows air to flow through to keep you cool. Some are even motorized, easily raised or lowered by remote control or a phone app.
While some patio shade ideas are temporary or removable, others are part of a durable, permanent outdoor structure. If your home’s patio didn’t come with a cover, you can hire a builder to create a durable metal framework to hold a covering material.
A framed structure might have corrugated plastic panels overhead—tinted or clear. Corrugated metal is a rustic shade solution on a metal frame.
A canvas or other durable material cover can be rolled out when you want strong sun protection and removed when you want light to flow through unblocked.
A wooden patio or porch cover is another option for outdoor shade ideas. In fact, a builder can extend your home’s existing roof to cover your patio with even, ample shade. If you have a two-story home, the patio’s roof can serve as a second floor balcony overlooking your backyard.