What Can I Use on My Patio for Shade?

Image of a sofa under shade

Patio Cover Ideas

One of the best ways to reset the mind and refresh the body is to sit outside and take in some fresh air and sunshine. However, it’s hard to enjoy spending time on your deck or in your backyard if there’s harsh sunlight beating down on you, causing you to sweat and making it difficult to see. In some cases, too much exposure to the sun can have harmful side-effects, including sunburn and overheating.

Using protective coverings to keep your patio shady and cool is an excellent way to ensure maximum comfort for your open-air hangout space. It also lets you enhance the chic design of your deck or balcony setup. Need deck shade ideas that suit your layout, style and budget? Check out this post for inspiration.

Overview

In this article, you’ll learn about:

Image of 2 people sitting on a patio in the shade

If your home lacks an enclosed porch, covered terrace or breezeway, use the tips in this guide to provide the necessary shade for your patio.

Common Patio Shade Options

People living in warmer, sunnier regions often require permanent solutions for consistent shade. Building a solid structure that shields your terrace from the sun is an efficient way to ensure maximum protection for your guests while lounging outdoors. If you’re a homeowner with the time and money to invest in a patio add-on, consider the following backyard shade ideas.

Permanent Patio Covers

Depending on the size of your property, you might be able to extend your roof a bit to cover your tiny patio. Installing a retractable cloth or aluminum awning on the side of your home works well for smaller setups too. However, you may need to erect a tall wooden pergola over your deck-top dining or seating arrangement if you need more coverage for a spacious courtyard or terrace.

Blue lantern hanging on a wooden pergola

Use weatherproof materials to help your patio covers stand the test of time.

Sun Shade for Separate Areas

Got an expansive backyard that’s several acres wide? Use a canopy or build a gazebo to provide shade for guests as they stroll through your wooded areas and gardens. Placing pavilions at strategic points is an excellent way to keep visitors comfortable as they explore your property. Include padded benches or soft sofas with plush pillows to ensure these shady spaces are enjoyable spots to stop and lounge.

What is the Cheapest Way to Cover a Patio?

Those who rent their homes or have a limited budget often need affordable, temporary patio shade ideas for protecting their decks and balconies. If you lack the funds, time or space to take on a large-scale renovation project, try incorporating some of these inexpensive patio cover ideas into your outdoor design.

Patio Umbrellas

Available in various shapes and sizes, patio umbrellas are the perfect-low-cost option for outdoor shade. Adding a table umbrella to your bistro set keeps you safe from harsh sunlight during light lunches on your deck. Meanwhile, placing an umbrella with a sturdy base beside your outdoor chaises helps you and your guests stay cool as you lounge by the pool.

White patio umbrella next to a chaise lounge

Cantilever umbrellas have a full range of motion that provides all-day coverage as the sun moves through the sky.

Privacy Screens

Many back patio cover ideas only work when the sun is overhead. Putting up a wind blocker or privacy screen lets you block the intense beams of the sunrise or sunset. For maximum convenience, automate your outdoor setup using a retractable screen that expands and collapses with the push of a button.

DIY Patio Cover Ideas

Crafty individuals looking for a new home improvement project can get creative with their layouts by designing a unique, protective patio cover of their own! Try some of the following budget-friendly projects to keep your deck, balcony, terrace or backyard shady and cool:

  • Shade Sails: Sun shade sails hang above your deck to block intense sunshine. To create one, secure a triangular piece of fabric between the side of your home and a nearby pole or tree. Colorful, patterned sheets make excellent DIY sun sails. However, you can also use a real sail from an old, unused watercraft to complement your beachy or nautical patio theme.
  • Pipe Pavillions: If you have some extra copper or PVC pipes in your shed or workshop, use them to build a canopy around your outdoor seating arrangement. Once they’re in place, hang a set of sheer curtains from the beams to provide privacy and protection from the sun.
  • Fabric Tents: Just like building a blanket fort indoors, you can drape a sheet over an outdoor clothing line and secure the corners to the ground to make a tent over your small backyard sitting area. You could also build a metal or teak wood frame and hang fabric from the rafters to create a DIY canopy or gazebo.
  • Plant Walls: Whether you choose to create a bamboo screen, grow thick vines on your pergola or use planter boxes full of tall grass, adding dense foliage to your patio lets you maximize the shade and natural beauty of your backyard.
Wooden bench in the shade of a tree

If possible, place your patio furniture in the shade of a tall tree or other lush greenery.

Whatever the size of your patio or your budget, there are plenty of ways to shield the space from harsh sunlight. Try some of the suggestions in this guide to cover your deck or patio so your guests can stay cool and comfortable as they relax outside.