Seven Creative Patio Shade Ideas for Your Backyard or Patio This Summer

By Darooj Fatima | July 18, 2019

Even though it might feel like the summer of 2019 is gearing up to feel cooler than normal in Canada, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to worry about the effects of harmful UV rays. In fact, it’s a common misconception that it’s safe to leave skin exposed on days with little to no direct sunlight. If you were thinking about putting off until a warmer year the installation of something to boost the shade in your yard, remember this: clouds don’t hinder UV rays and sunburns can occur on cloudy days.

With that sobering thought in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best ways for you to keep your family comfortable and safe in your backyard.

A Classic Pergola Provides Relief from Direct Sunlight

The interesting thing about pergolas is that they provide shade without completely obstructing one’s view of the sky. Though pergolas can compromise of many different designs, the one that comes to most people’s mind is one that features wooden slats spaced at regular intervals. Pergolas are sturdy, represent a low risk of blowing away in inclement weather, and provide maximum airflow, creating a completely comfortable area for entertaining. For those who like to bridge construction with nature, climbing plants can be added to pergolas to further increase the amount of shade and floral fragrance for you to enjoy. 

Choose the Right Awning for Your Patio

Awnings are a great way to add versatility when it comes to boosting shade in your outdoor space, but there are a number of different options to choose from. For example, if you’re looking to cover a large space like a patio or deck, a retractable awning is likely the best way to go. These can be used when the sun is at its most intense and put away (retracted) when not needed. Stationary awnings, on the other hand, are best served in smaller spaces like those above windows. Stationary awnings are much less likely to be damaged by high winds when compared to its retractable alternative.

Awnings also come in a variety of fabrics, ranging from less expensive materials like polyester or cotton. Though durable in their own right, homeowners living in harsher climes tend to opt for a material that is more robust, like acrylic. If protection from the sun’s rays is at the top of the list, acrylic is definitely the way to go, as this material blocks 90% of the sun’s UV rays and will not fade.

Classic Umbrellas

Umbrellas have come a long way from the slanted, unimpressive patio sets of years past. Sadly, many people don’t give modern umbrellas their due. For those looking for an economical, less permanent solution to their lack of shade problem, a patio umbrella could be just the thing they need.

In just a few minutes searching for a patio umbrella online, you’ll be amazed at the size, coverage, and quality that many of today’s umbrellas have to offer. To ensure harmful UV rays are blocked, look for ones made from a robust, UV-resistant material. Additionally, side-mounted umbrellas won’t obstruct your view of friends, family, or the scenery, which makes it an excellent choice for spaces that require a solution with a less prominent profile. Unlike other shade options, umbrellas lend themselves particularly well to off-season storage, provided you have the room, meaning that their usefulness can be prolonged indefinitely. 

Outdoor Smart Blinds Offer Privacy, Security, and are Child Safe

If you’ve got a favorite outdoor space but you’re concerned about privacy, outdoor smart blinds are a great way to check that box. Though traditionally used as an indoor window treatment, outdoor smart blinds come in many of the chic designs that have made their interior counterpart in many modern homes, while promoting many of the UV preventative qualities as some of the other solutions on this list. Automated exterior solar shades allow you to adjust the height of the shades as necessary to maintain your desired level of privacy and comfort from your seat, making it a truly unique option in a field of great offerings. If you’re worried about the danger posed by harmful pull cords around your children, or you simply don’t find the aesthetic of numerous pull cords appealing, automated shades are, of course, cordless, which makes them completely safe around pets and children and won’t pose a trip hazard to your guests.

Outdoor Shade Covers/Curtains

Looking to recapture a sunny getaway? Take a page out of many Carribean resort’s playbooks and attach simple, light, and flowy curtains to your existing pergola. Not only will you boost your shade content, but you’ll also create the illusion of a peaceful oasis in your very own backyard.

Fabric Canopies

Fabric canopies are another great semi-permanent option to increase shade over a well-used deck or patio. Canopies can be anchored to existing deck railings, keeping you cool in even the most unforgiving sun. For something even less permanent, considering transforming a slatted pergola with a UV resistant cotton canvas elegantly draped through the slats. 


Trees will always give you the most bang for your buck; they last forever, they smell nice, they bring wildlife to your backyard, they can help keep your space private — trees really do bring it all to the table. Even if you do decide to use one of the alternatives described above, be sure to create an additional space on your property where trees can provide an alternate shaded area so that you can feel inclined to use your entire property, and not just your deck or seating area throughout the summer months.  

Any of the items discussed above would make an excellent addition to your outdoor space; the right one, however, may be difficult to determine on your own. While you can certainly enlist the aid of a design professional, you need to take into consideration all of the advantages of each and make your selection based on which option most readily satisfies your needs.

The above article was sponsored by Elite Window Fashion. The information contained in this article may contain ads or advertorial opinions.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Garden Trends
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

Browse Dozens of Our FREE Gardening Guides Today

Whether your dream garden is a houseplant sanctuary, a bountiful vegetable garden, a pollinator paradise, a bright and bold flower bed, or a backyard oasis – Gardening Know How has the perfect gardening guide just for you.

Click the button below to access more than 3 dozen of our completely free and completely comprehensive guides to growing your dream garden.

Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!