outdoor shade ideas

Best outdoor shade ideas that will make your backyard more stylish and functional

Make your backyard more usable and stylish with these clever outdoor shade ideas.

Backyards are excellent outdoor recreation areas where you can spend quality time with your family or entertain friends—making it crucial to make your backyard as inviting or functional as possible. However, some backyards can be too sunny that they’re not usable anymore. You can maximise the use of your backyard by using some clever outdoor shade ideas. 

Here are some creative outdoor shade ideas you can explore so you can transform your backyard into an outdoor space that your family can enjoy any time of the year.

Creative outdoor shade ideas

Sail shade gazebo

Sail shades are affordable, easy to install, and protects from the sun’s UV rays. Sail shades provide some protection against rain, but they are not waterproof. They also look a bit hippie, making any outdoor space look stylish.

said outdoor shade ideas
image: © Rustic White Photography, LLC
outdoor sail shade idea
image: Dobbies

Canopy of plants

A canopy of plants is one of the most environment-friendly outdoor shade ideas in this list. If you have a pergola, a trellis, or an arbour, you can plant climbing plants like roses, wisterias, or passion flowers so you can have a natural way of warding off sunlight.

plant canopy outdoor shade ideas
image: DianesPhotographicDesigns
real plant outdoor shade ideas
image: Simon Scarboro

Freestanding lightweight parasol

Freestanding lightweight parasols are affordable shade-providing solutions if you don’t have trees in your backyard. They are sturdy and can withstand strong winds. They are also easy to move, so you can use them in any spot in your backyard.

lightweight free-standing parasol outdoor shade
image: poggesi.co.uk

Natural cover wooden lengths

A makeshift pergola using natural wood is a great way to have some shade without shelling out a lot of money. You can use bamboo, willow, or even discarded branches from your backyard to create a unique and lightweight covering for your family.

Here are some natural wood outdoor shade ideas:

natural wood covering
image: Simon Scarboro
makeshift pergola made of natural wood
image: Time Beddow / architecturaldigest.com

Garden room

If you want something more ambitious, a garden room might be right up your alley. A garden room is a freestanding room in your backyard where you can relax while getting protected from the sun. You can also turn your garden room into a makeshift study room or home office to make it more functional.

green room outdoor shade ideas
image: thegardenroomatlanta.com
green room outdoor shade ideas
image: Agnese Sanvito

Tree shade

Nothing beats nature, and trees are excellent when it comes to providing shade in your backyard. Aside from providing shade, trees can help make the air cleaner and add colour to your backyard. Evergreens like Griffith pink, blueberry ash, and little gem are excellent options because they retain their leaves all year round. You can install a deck, a patio, or a simple sitting area around the tree to maximise this natural “feature.”

tree shade with deck
image: J. Michael Tucker/Okashi Design

Outdoor fabric canopy

If you want a DIY canopy you can move around, an outdoor fabric canopy is an excellent option. Outdoor fabric is cheap and can provide excellent protection against the sun. There is also a wide variety of colour options to choose from, so you can buy one that will look great with your backyard theme.

fabric shade
image: Ace Awnings

Fabric awning

Extending your awning using outdoor fabric is another cost-effective way of providing shade to your family, especially if you want to expand your outdoor dining area. Another advantage of this option is you can easily roll it down if you don’t need to use it or in the event of storms or snow.

fabric awning in country-style home
image: sunsetcanvasawning.com
farmhouse with fabric awning outdoor shade
image: nhawning.com

Tips when adding outdoor shades

Plan where to place the structure

Carefully choose where you want to install your backyard shade cover so you can maximise its use. Install it in an area where you love spending time with your family. It would help if you also took note of the angle of sunlight to get maximum protection from the sun.

natural wood shade
image: Björn Wallander/architecturaldigest.com

Prioritise function

Think about what you love doing in your backyard so you can choose the right shade cover for your family. If you love holding barbeque parties, a fireproof shade covering is better than a fabric shade covering. If you want protection against rains, you might want to stay away from a canopy of plants and opt for a waterproof option like a patio with a plastic roof.

Here are some stylish yet completely functional outdoor shade ideas from Louvretec:

modern pergola outdoor shade ideas
image: Louvretec
modern lanai with white pergola
image: Louvretec

Make a budget

How much you want to spend on your shade covering will significantly affect your choices because some options might be too expensive. Make a budget and try to stick to it to avoid unnecessarily dipping into funds allotted for other needs or home improvement projects.

Plan design preferences

Seeking the assistance of professionals can help you develop a sturdy and functional design. They can guide you on which designs can provide you with maximum sunlight protection while staying within your budget. You can also ensure that you build a structure that can withstand the elements and last a long time.

simple outdoor shade ideas
image: Robert Mabic/GAP Photos

Discuss material preferences

Choosing the suitable materials for your shade covering is crucial in building your structure because it affects your budget. Metal and fabric are cheap options depending on the type of structure you want to build. If you want a pergola with a plant canopy, wooden materials are your best option because a metal pergola attracts rust. Light materials are excellent options if you want a moveable or semi-permanent structure because you can easily disassemble them to move to a new location.

gazebo outdoor shade ideas
image: installitdirect.com

Consider environmental factors

Environmental factors in your area also play a significant role in choosing your shade covering and materials. Timber and wood materials are not ideal if you live in an area prone to fires. If you live near the sea, stainless steel is a perfect material because it is more resistant to corrosion compared to iron.

octagonal gazebo outdoor shade ideas
image: biglots.com

Take advantage of a free-to-use platform as Dreamspace 

Considering an outdoor space renovation? If you have a big project in mind, take advantage of using Dreamspace

Dreamspace is a project coordination platform that you can use from designing to building your ideal space. Once you have an account, the website allows you to save inspiration images from our Inspiration Gallery to your Dreamboard. It also allows you to connect with design and build professionals and get free quotes for your renovation projects. Sign up for free today and start your project in no time!

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