The 6 Best Backyard Shade Structures for Your Outdoor Space

I love spending time outdoors, especially in the spring and summer months – and I bet you do too. There’s just something about being kissed by the sun’s rays. Sometimes, though, those rays can be a little too intense, especially in the thick of summer. If spending more time indoors isn’t an option for you (just as it isn’t for me), there’s a simple way to enjoy your backyard while getting relief from the harmful rays of the sun: shade structures.

Whether you’re looking to create or increase the shade in your backyard, I have a few shade structure suggestions I’m pretty sure you’ll like.

1. Patio Umbrellas: On-the-Go Shade Structures

One of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to create shade in your backyard is to set up a patio umbrella. Simply purchase one and drop it through the hole in the center of your patio table. If you’re hosting a big backyard party, you can set up more than one as needed. These sunshades come in all sorts of different sizes and colors, so you’re bound to find one that suits your style and budget. When you don’t need the umbrella, simply remove it and place it in storage. A great temporary solution, if you ask me.

2. Shade Sail: Super Versatile

Sun sail in a backyard

Another inexpensive and quick-to-set-up option is the shade sail. They can cover small spaces or the entire patio. If you’re not worried about protection from the rain, there’s the added benefit of having filtered sunlight. Shade sails are also available in waterproof materials, just make sure you set it up at the correct angle. This type of shade canopy is easy to install – all you need is strong twine or rope to attach the shade sail to nearby trees, the side of the house, or poles.

3. The Pergola: Keeping it Simple

A wooden pergola in a backyard showcasing shade structures

One of the simpler permanent shade structures is the pergola. It allows some sunshine and warmth to poke through while still providing a bit of relieving shade from the heat. It can be as small or large as you like and the structure is so simple that it’s bound to blend in with your backyard design.

4. The All-Seeing Gazebo

A gazebo shown in the middle of a large backyard

Of all the shade structures, this one screams romance – perhaps because of its oval/octagonal design and ability to provide unobstructed 360-degree views. It’s a great option for homes with amazing views and large backyards. If bugs are a problem in your area, gazebos allow for screens to be installed so you can relax uninterrupted. Those 360-degree views also allow you to keep an eye on the kids without having to move from your seat!

5. The Character-Filled Awning

A large awning extended over a concrete patio

I love these outdoor canopies for their ability to provide character to an outdoor space with their colorful designs. Your choice of awning design shows off some of your personality while providing shade and privacy (depending on the angle) from the outside world – especially if you live in an apartment. They’re also reminiscent of a Parisian café, which makes them even more inviting.

6. Permanent Roof Structure

A covered porch with fireplace and furniture showing indoor-outdoor concept

While permanent structures are a larger investment, they are sturdier and longer-lasting options than the above shade structures. It could be freestanding – similar to a gazebo – or attached as an extension of the main house structure, like a porch. The roof is typically solid, trapping in heat and keeping the area warm in colder months. This also makes it the perfect place to install outdoor kitchens and fireplaces. You can host your summer barbecues and not be bothered by too much sun or rain.

There’s More Reason to Stay Outdoors with Shade Structures

No matter your budget, taste, or size of backyard there’s a shade structure for you. Don’t let the heat stop you from enjoying your outdoor space this summer as sunshade options are endless. If you have the patience, plant a couple of trees too – they provide the best type of natural shade.

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  1. 10.16.20

    I loved how you mentioned that shade sails are inexpensive and easy to set up! My husband and I are wanting to look into having more shade for our backyard so that our kids can be protected from the sun, and we were wondering what we could add to it. I really appreciate you helping me learn more about the benefits of shade sails. We’ll have to look into getting some installed for our backyard!

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