Stylish Shade Ideas for Your Patio

Updated on October 1, 2019
lindacee profile image

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.


We all love to spend time outside during the summer or parts of the country that have a temperate year-round climate. What’s more fun than an afternoon backyard barbecue, cocktails al fresco or a fancy garden party? Unless you’re fortunate enough to pick cloudy days for all your outdoor gatherings you need to find a source of shade to protect your guests from the effects of the scorching sun.

Not to worry, there are plenty of stylish solutions for providing ample shade for your patio, porch, backyard or pool deck. The variety of shades will make your outdoor space much more versatile and enjoyable. Keep your friends and family cool and out of the sun’s harmful rays with these super shady ideas.


An offset cantilever umbrella base is positioned on the side rather than in the middle of a seating area.
An offset cantilever umbrella base is positioned on the side rather than in the middle of a seating area. | Source

This is probably the cheapest sun blocker around. Patio umbrellas range in size from 5 feet 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 umbrella styles, such as cantilever, tilting, palapa, market or parasol.


Pergolas have open cross beams that blocks the sun from a certain angle.
Pergolas have open cross beams that blocks the sun from a certain angle. | Source

A pergola is typically made from wood and attaches to the house like a patio cover or can be freestanding similar to 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.


The gazebo is a charming patio cover with an architectural history.
The gazebo is a charming patio cover with an architectural history. | Source

Gazebos date back to ancient Egypt and are round or octagonal in shape. They often 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 landscape. 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 | Source

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

These sail shades are perfect for coastal or lake homes.
These sail shades are perfect for coastal or lake homes. | Source

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 configurations 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.

Motorized Patio Shade

Motorized shades can be used on covered patios, gazebos and porches.
Motorized shades can be used on covered patios, gazebos and porches. | Source

Motorized porch and patio shades protect your lounging and entertainment outdoor space. When you want to spend time dining outside these shades will keep the sun, rain, wind and bugs away. Automated shades can be customized for your specific needs.

They include a remote to raise and lower the shades in order to control the sun, heat and privacy so you can savor outdoor living. There are a variety of colors that coordinate or match perfectly with your exterior house color and outdoor furnishings. The shade fabrics are weather-resistant, durable and allow air flow to keep the outdoor area comfortable.

© 2019 Linda Chechar

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      15 months ago from Arizona

      Eman, thank you for the compliment. Glad you liked this article.

    • Emmy ali profile image

      Eman Abdallah Kamel 

      15 months ago from Egypt

      I always love the simplicity of ideas in your articles. I enjoyed this article very much.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      15 months ago from Arizona

      Don Bobbitt-- Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. There are a lot of screened-in porches where I live. They are called "Arizona rooms" to keep the bugs out during the summer. We have lots of nasty gnats, no-see-ums and mosquitoes. They also use solar screening to reduce the heat from the sun. Some of the screens do allow breezes but the cheaper versions block the flow of air.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      15 months ago from Arizona

      Liz, our weather here is very similar to yours. We had a heatwave around Easter and now it's rainy and cool. Spring in Arizona is typically warm and dry. We are planning to put up a solar shade on our porch deck to block the sun and create a sense of privacy.

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 

      15 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      Living in Florida, I have a necessary addition on my house, called a Lanai.

      I am originally from Virginia and up there we would have called it a "Screened Porch", but as they say, when you live in Rome.......).

      Anyway, the need for shade down here is coupled with the need for maximum air movement.

      In fact, I am upgrading our Lanai right now, and I have spent the morning looking at the available varieties of shades I might use.

      Right now, I prefer some kind of bamboo slat design so that I can get more air flow than with actual synthetic screens.

      Anyway, good article and quite timely as we all come out of our winter caves.


    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      15 months ago from UK

      This is a very seasonal-appropriate article. We had a blast of summer around Easter in the UK, but the weather since has been disappointing. Great ideas for patios. The gazebo you picture is nothing like the temporary canvas and pole structure my parents used to proudly erect in their garden each summer. The quality of these products is much better now.


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