We independently select these products — if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

25 Patio Shade Ideas for Your Home

By: Caroline Warnock |

We all love to spend time outdoors when the weather’s nice—it’s relaxing and even therapeutic. Sometimes, though, it’s just too hot, or you’re worried you’ll get a sunburn. When you’re designing your patio and other outdoor spaces, you need to think about shade options.

Luckily, adding shade can be simple and low-budget. The key is being able to enjoy the fresh air and the outdoors as long as you want without spending all day under the direct sun.

Install a Retractable Canopy for Sun or Shade

Install a Retractable Canopy for Sun or Shade
Source

A retractable canopy gives you the best of both worlds. If you want to get a bit of sun, you can, or you can set up the canopy to extend and shade you from hot summer days. 

It’s quite a simple mechanism; as you can see, it blends in well with the pergola and the light-colored canopy looks airy and delicate. 

Look for Bamboo Coverings

Look for Bamboo Coverings
Source

These thin bamboo mats make for great shade cover because they’re each quite thin and narrow. That allows some sun rays and light to filter through so it isn’t too dark, while protecting you from the worst of the heat and direct sun.

They’re quite light and easy to install, so you can take them off in winter if required in your climate. 

Get a Geometric Patterned Awning for Lovely Shade

Get a Geometric Patterned Awning for Lovely Shade
Source

This covering involves a very delicate, complex geometric pattern that creates a pretty sun-dappled space to relax or dine in. In contrast, the frame is quite sturdy so it can serve as a permanent shade structure that you don’t need to install and take down each summer.

I also love all the plant life on the patio, which creates a very natural and relaxed dining area for this homeowner. 

Add a Splash of Color with a Yellow Awning

Add a Splash of Color with a Yellow Awning
Source

If you’re leaning towards a fabric-based awning, you can spice it up by getting a bright colored material. This yellow is bright and cheerful, and looks wonderful with the sun shining down on it. 

The thin awning strips here give you a lot of customization and flexibility in deciding how much of your patio you want covered at any given time. It’s also a great option for privacy for a patio that’s dominated by taller buildings.

Buy a Huge Offset Umbrella

Buy a Huge Offset Umbrella
Source

An offset umbrella is a great choice if you’re looking to create shade over only your dining table. Look for one like this, with a lot of flexibility for angles and height. It even has some LED lights attached to the inside of the umbrella, perfect for late night dinners. 

In this backyard, you can see the couch swing has its own awning covering it, so all the key parts of your patio are shaded individually.

Build a Pergola with a Slanted Roof

Build a Pergola with a Slanted Roof
Source

A pergola is a garden feature that’s made from columns or posts supporting beams and an open latticed roof that can provide shade for a patio or walkway. You can train vines to climb up the vertical posts or keep it bare like the more modern pergola featured here. 

Unlike a pagoda, which has a dedicated roof, the pergola is more customizable to work with your style. This one has a slanted covering for partial shade.

Get Shade and Privacy with a Slatted Curved Wall

Get Shade and Privacy with a Slatted Curved Wall
Source

This wall is made from slats curving up and over the patio area. It gives this patio space not only shade but privacy from the neighboring building. These slats are great for growing vines that can fill in the gaps and result in a little grotto a few years down the road.

For just one curved slatted wall, think about which angle of the sun you want it to protect your patio from.

Hang a Shade Sail to Cover Your Deck

Hang a Shade Sail to Cover Your Deck
Source

Shade sails are excellent for adding a bit of shade to your patio, and you can easily hang them up or take them down according to the seasons. The one pictured here is hanging from a dedicated structure, but you can also have part of it attached to your home.

If this is the look for you, you can follow this guide to install your own shade sail at home in the style you want.

Grow Arbor or Trellis Vines for Dappled Shade

Grow Arbor or Trellis Vines for Dappled Shade
Source

Creating a natural shade area with arbor or trellis vines takes a long time, but the result is amazing. Here, we see a great example of a shaded walkway but you can also use this method for your patio. 

The leaves are light and small enough that some sun can still come through, but most of the space is fully shaded. As you can see, the structure itself is natural, built from tree branches tied together.

Add Extra Shade with Hanging Plants

Add Extra Shade with Hanging Plants
Source

So, you have a roof over your patio to give you shade. But what about when the sun isn’t directly overhead? You can solve the problem of your sun shining in your eyes in the morning or afternoon by hanging plants in carefully selected locations. 

Look for plants like the ones in this example, with large draped fern leaves creating a big shady space on the deck.

Buy Curtains for Additional Protection

Buy Curtains for Additional Protection
Source

Another way to block the rays coming in to your patio at an angle is to install curtains around all the open sides of your patio. This patio structure is built for this express purpose, as you can see the curtains have a dedicated track to easily draw them. 

The curtains are made from watertight fabric that are designed to be mold or mildew-resistant, and can block the majority of UV rays from the sun.

Go Back to Basics with Old-Fashioned Umbrellas

Go Back to Basics with Old-Fashioned Umbrellas
Source

This backyard pool looks like it’s straight out of a vintage image of a resort, with yellow and white striped towels and white loungers. The bold umbrellas have a white fringe and match really well with the tiled design of the pool and the patterns of the pillows. 

If you want just a bit of shade by a lounger, you don’t need anything complex. Go back to the basics with a simple umbrella that makes a statement.

Build a Permanent Roofed Patio

Build a Permanent Roofed Patio
Source

You can build an extension on your home to get a permanent roof for your patio. This is a stately patio roof supported by some lovely white Roman columns. It’s perfect for full shade year-round, and once it’s completed you don’t really need to maintain it at all. 

As a bonus, it’s also completely rain-proof so you can even sit out on your patio during a rainstorm if you like.

Get Partial Shade and Versatility with a Pergola

Get Partial Shade and Versatility with a Pergola
Source

This is another example of a pergola, this one extending over the full patio. As I mentioned, the roof is created with rafters and beams, so it only offers partial shade. You can add some awnings later if you wish, or leave it open to allow some rays to come through. 

Pergolas are very versatile and come in all sizes and styles, which is why I wanted to showcase another great example.

Work Your Patio Around an Existing Tree

Work Your Patio Around an Existing Tree
Source

If you’ve got a big old tree in your yard, it would be a real shame if you cut it down to build a shaded patio. Instead, build your patio around the tree, and use its large limbs and leaves for the most natural shade there is. 

You can see in this example that the result is very majestic. Before you build your patio, find out if the type of tree you have will grow any larger.

Install Roll-Up Shades to Cover Every Angle

Install Roll-Up Shades to Cover Every Angle
Source

There are a few different options to create patio shade on the sides of your patio. We’ve seen plants used creatively for that reason and curtains. This is yet another clever option. They’re roll-up shades that you can install on all sides. 

Like shades inside your home, you can simply pull them up or down to the level you want based on the height of the sun in the sky.

Use a Second Floor Balcony as Your Patio Cover

Use a Second Floor Balcony as Your Patio Cover
Source

If you haven’t built your patio yet, consider using the space under a second floor balcony as your ground-floor patio. That will provide you an easy solution for shade without having to purchase any shade structure. 

The homeowners in this example have done exactly that, simply adding some curtains to the outside of the patio to complete the look.

Look for Flat, Metal Awnings for a Modern Appearance

Look for Flat, Metal Awnings for a Modern Appearance
Source

This modern home has chosen a sleek metal shade structure that’s flat on top. It’s incredibly simple and functional, perfect for the rest of the home’s modern aesthetic. Some ivy along the supporting poles add some warmth and life to this serious look.

Build an Elaborate Japanese-Inspired Teahouse

Build an Elaborate Japanese-Inspired Teahouse
Source

This shade structure is designed and built by Rooftopia and provides a fully shaded structure on a rooftop patio. It’s a teahouse that’s inspired and built in the Japanese style, built from Tigerwood, Ipe, bamboo, cedar, and steel. The screen doors are mesh and retractable. 

The result is a cozy, shaded oasis that you can shelter in on a particularly hot and sunny day, completely removed from the outside world.

Get a 1970s Vibe with a Colorful and Striped Awning

Get a 1970s Vibe with a Colorful and Striped Awning
Source

An awning doesn’t have to blend in to the surroundings. You can make a statement with your awning by going for an older, ’70s vibe like the one pictured here. 

The structure itself is white and very simple, great for any budget. The awning looks like it should be outside a diner, and matches the seating pillows and cushions perfectly. 

A Curved Awning Creates Modern Appeal

A Curved Awning Creates Modern Appeal
Source

A curved patio covering is a great way to break up the straight lines of a home and patio. It also helps you to be a bit more protected when the sun is going down due to its slant over the patio. 

The whole thing is easy to install and simply affixes to the side of your home. As you can see in this photo, it blends in quite well to the home’s exterior.

Build Your Own Backyard Gazebo

Build Your Own Backyard Gazebo
Source

A gazebo is a type of shade structure that looks a bit like a small pavilion, often with a turret roof or in an octagon shape. You’ll often see them in parks, but you can also build or buy a small one for your backyard garden. 

You can find the instructions for building this particular gazebo, and a number of other lovely design options, at this helpful site.

Buy a Modern, Free Standing Canopy

Buy a Modern, Free Standing Canopy
Source

This canopy is very modern and much less elaborate than some other options on this list. Supported on only two sides, the canopy covers the sun loungers perfectly, and can be tilted on a greater angle if needed. 

The black covering is great for blocking out the sun and matches well with the loungers by the pool and the fencing around. The result is sleek, timeless, and modern.

Install an Adjustable Fabric Awning with Pulley System

Install an Adjustable Fabric Awning with Pulley System
Source

This awning set-up is very easy to create yourself, and allows you to expand or retract the awning thanks to a clever pulley system. 

You can use simple white fabric for your awnings, like the one in the photo, go for a splash of color, or choose any shade that’s complementary to your home. 

Get a Bamboo Palapa-Style Umbrella

Get a Bamboo Palapa-Style Umbrella
Source

Go for the tropical vibe by getting a palapa, which is a type of umbrella made from bamboo. It doesn’t create much shade, but it’s just enough to cover a lounge chair or a dining table on your patio. 

With this lovely palapa, all that’s missing is a nice, cold drink and the sound of waves crashing on a nearby beach!

In Summary

If you want some shade for your porch or patio, it’s quite easy to accomplish regardless of your budget. Think about the climate you experience and what’s most important to you. 

Do you need something that’s rain or snow resistant? Is blocking powerful UV rays the most important aspect of your patio shade structure? Or is it not about the shade at all, but rather a desire for privacy from your neighbors?  

There’s an option out there for everyone, from a temporary, seasonal shade structure, to something permanent that will last through every season for years to come.