In order to get the most out of your deck, patio, porch, cabana, gazebo—any custom outdoor structure
—during the hottest months, you’ve got to make sure you’ve built enough shade into the space. Luckily there are plenty of ways to add shady spots throughout your outdoor landscape. Consider these options when you’re sharing your vision for outdoor living with your landscape designer
Built-in Outdoor Shade
Build comfort into your outdoor structures with these time-tested shade makers.
- Awnings – Awnings are typically installed above windows. Longer awnings create ideal spots for shaded seating. They can be beautifully rendered in a number of materials, including copper, wood, weatherproof fabric (in solids or prints!), and even frosted glass and metal.
- Canopies – Canopies can be hung nearly anywhere and made from canvas or any type of water-resistant or weatherproof fabric. Shade sails, made of stretched canvas that is often triangular-shaped, are becoming more popular in outdoor spaces.
- Green roofs – Trellises with vines can support a trellised roof or pergola covered in plants like wisteria to create a lush, verdant shade that’s beautiful to behold.
- Pergolas – Pergolas with wide open spaces between planks can add just a bit of shade, or they can be filled in with fabric, metal, or other materials to provide more coverage.
- Porch skylights – Porches are shaded by design, but you can add skylights—yes, skylights!—to mix things up and bring in just enough light.
- Trees – Strategically planted shade trees in your outdoor space can eliminate the need for additional structures. Citrus trees, Japanese maple, crabapple, and crape myrtle are all lovely shade makers.
Movable Outdoor Shade
To add more sun protection to an outdoor structure, consider curtains, shades, or sliding panels.
- Drapes – Hanging large curtains around a cabana or pergola adds shade and a bit of romance to the scene.
- Shades – Roman shades, rollup shades, and other hanging shade varieties can typically be easily installed on a patio or deck, giving you the option to let in as much light as you wish.
- Sliding panels – Sliding panels can be placed above a seating area or around it to give light and shade options.
How Much Shade Do You Need?
A good landscape designer can show you exactly where you’ll need shade in your outdoor space, and give you a number of options. It’s important to plan ahead and determine how you want to use your outdoor space so that you won’t find yourself wishing for more shade or light after the project is complete.