Stylish Shade Ideas for Your Patio

What’s more fun than an afternoon backyard barbeque, cocktails al fresco or a fancy garden party? Unless you’re fortunate enough to pick cloudy days for all your outdoor gatherings, you’ll need to find a source of shade to protect your guests from the effects of the scorching summer sun. 

Not to worry, there are plenty of stylish solutions for creating ample shade for your patio, backyard or pool deck. Keep your friends and family cool and out of the sun’s harmful rays with these super shady ideas!

Umbrella
This is probably the cheapest sun blocker around. Patio umbrellas range in size from 5 feet up to 12 feet in diameter. Umbrellas are perfect to protect small seating or dining areas and can be set up anywhere and on any surface.

Many models can be had for $100 or less. They’re highly portable so they can follow the party anywhere. Umbrellas come in a wide variety of colors and patterns to coordinate with your outdoor decor. You can also choose from different styles and like cantilever, market and parasol.

Pergola
A pergola is typically made from wood and attaches to the house like a patio cover or can be freestanding like a gazebo. This traditional Italian design consists of four structural columns and a roof system of beams and cross rafters that help block the sun while keeping the roof open.

Pergolas create architectural interest unlike other common patio structures. For a classic look, plant trailing vines at the base of the columns. The greenery will create additional shade and a garden-like environment.

Gazebo
Gazebos date back to ancient Egypt and are round or octagonal in shape. They feature a conical roof, floorboards and side railing. Traditional gazebos are permanent structures made from wood or metal, however portable versions are now available that consist of a fabric canopy over a metal armature.

Like a freestanding pergola, a gazebo is the ideal addition to your landscapes. In a garden, gazebos make a lovely focal point and are perfect for taking in the surrounding views while offering shade from the sun. 

Retractable Awning
Retractable awnings are weather proof fabric shades attached to the side of a house. They can either be opened via a manual crank or motorized system. They are designed to cover a large area to keep the entire patio shaded.

The lateral arm design creates a flat or slightly angled fabric “roof” that can be outfitted with a drop valance to shield guests from intense late afternoon sun. These awnings not only protect your outdoor furniture from the effects of the sun, they can also protect your indoor upholstery and flooring. Like umbrella fabric, you can choose from many different colors and designs.

Sail Shade

This type of outdoor shade is based on the design of a ship’s sail. Sail shades are durable high-density mesh fabric shapes stretched between three or four anchor points. They provide a dramatic and sculptural way to shade your outdoor entertaining area.

Choose between triangles or squares in different shapes and colors to create a stylishly modern outdoor space. They can block up to 95 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays and lower the temperature around 15 degrees. Sail shade installation can range from a weekend DIY project to a job best handled by professionals.

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