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Nine shade solutions for summer patios, decks, backyards


If you’re entertaining guests outdoors, the comfort factor is important. - Valentin ManolovGetty Images/iStockphoto
If you’re entertaining guests outdoors, the comfort factor is important. - Valentin ManolovGetty Images/iStockphoto - CTW Features

From trees to tarps, there are plenty of ways to get shelter from the sun for your patios, decks, backyards

Even if you love the sun, sometimes you need a shady spot on your property where you can cool down. If you’re entertaining guests outdoors, the comfort factor is even more important. And you don’t want anyone confusing your hot, sweltering patio for a fire pit. See below for some of the most effective shade options available:

1. Tree

It’s nature’s way of offering shade but it takes years for most trees to grow big enough to be effective. To speed things up, look into fast-growing trees like weeping willow or hybrid poplar. Or if you already have mature trees in your yard, think about installing a patio there.

2. Awning

From wall-mounted to freestanding, an awning is a practical way to cool an area close to your home like a deck. Choose one that’s either permanently extended or retractable; the latter can be retracted or unfurled in less than a minute with a remote, smartphone, or tablet, according to the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association.

3. Pergola

A pergola gives you the best of both worlds: Its wood beams cut down on the sun without completely blocking it. If you want to keep flying bugs away, add a fabric canopy. Pergolas are like another room in your home and are commonly decorated with lights and hanging plants.

4. Canopy tent

The beauty of a pop-up canopy tent is that you can install it wherever you want — they don’t need staking in the ground or a centre pole — then when you’re done, pack it up and store in your garage or shed.

5. Gazebo

This permanent structure most commonly is built with an open-air lattice roof with columns. If you’ve ever seen the classic film The Sound of Music, the young couple sing Sixteen Going on Seventeen while dancing around in a deluxe, windowed gazebo.

6. Patio umbrella

They’re available in many sizes, shapes, and colours that will stretch across your whole deck. Depending on your backyard’s layout, you may prefer to open several umbrellas for better coverage instead of just one. Position away from tree branches and power lines.

7. Shade sail

True to its name, a shade sail looks like it’s ready to head out to sea. These triangular shade-makers anchor easily to trees, posts, or a home’s exterior. You may need to use more than one for best coverage.

8. Curtains

Since the sun comes from all directions, not just from above, hanging weather-proof curtains on all sides will help deter strong rays. They can complement the colours of your outdoor furniture and create an intimate, elegant space right in your backyard.

9. Canvas tarp

If your outdoor structure has arches, consider a DIY treatment: stretching canvas sheets over the top of the arches for an easy, inexpensive option.

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