Skip to Content

Patio Shade Ideas | 30 Unique Sun Protection Examples

Patio Shade Ideas | 30 Unique Sun Protection Examples

Are you struggling to find exciting patio shade ideas? Worry not — you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up 30 unique examples of cool sun protection, ranging from very affordable to permanent and expensive.


Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.


30 Stunning Patio Shade Ideas

Let’s face it — patio shade ideas are few and far between. It’s hard to deviate from the standard umbrella or pergola. But sun protection is extremely important, so we’ve rounded up 30 cool ideas to help get your family out of the sun and into the shade.

1. Big Old Trees

Best patio shade idea with two red wooden chairs under a big tree

Tony Quinn/Shutterstock

Whether newly planted or grown over many years on the property from a sapling, old trees can provide natural shade and boost curb appeal. Simple wood seating pairs well with the trees.

2. Sun Shades

Sun shades above a big Spanish beach for a piece on patio shade ideas

Hbpictures/Shutterstock

Group light-colored sun shades together, giving the illusion of flags against the blue sky. Pick them either all one color or different colors to provide patches of shade to sit in. 

3. Oversized Patio Umbrellas

Enormous patio shade umbrella held down by multiple cinderblocks above a hotel patio

Edvard Nalbantjan/Shutterstock

Oversized patio umbrellas shade the whole patio all at once, cutting out the problem of the sun moving across the sky during the day. Neutral tones match well with a hardwood patio.

4. Striped Awnings

Image of a striped awning extended manually against blue sky

Evannovostro/Shutterstock

This bold orange, white, and black folding balcony awning can compliment darker patio furniture or become a statement piece when unfolded.

5. Tropical Awnings

Example of a patio shade idea with a thatch canopy above a resort patio

Paul Vinten/Shutterstock

This rattan and wood awning from a tropical resort brings comfort from the sun and a feeling of the beach sand and surf back to the resort. 

6. Sun Sails in a Rainbow of Colors 

Various sun sails in multiple colors extended between buildings above a street as a patio shade idea

Blue Corner Studio/Shutterstock

Sun sails in bright colors like the alternating red and orange here, give shade, and cast interesting shapes on the ground. 

7. Galvanized Metal and Painted Wood

Patio shade idea of galvanized metal and painted wood

Beekeepx/Shutterstock

Notice the use of galvanized metal with blue wood? It brings a modern look and feel to this pergola. 

8. Wooden Pergolas

Big wooden pergola as a patio shade idea in a "come to life" sketch

Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock

A beautiful wooden pergola with a carved roof. Set near the end of the patio or as a makeshift patio for small backyards.

9. Cantilever Umbrellas

Red cantilever umbrella over a brick paver patio as a patio shade idea

Chiyacat/Shutterstock

You can move to a brightly colored cantilever umbrella where it’s needed and re-positioned as the sun moves across the sky during the day.

10. Multiple Awnings in Bright Colors

Few different sun shades stacked on one another (a great patio shade idea)

Rafael Santos Rodriguez/Shutterstock

Crossed awnings of different shades of one color make up a patchwork sky. It also allows an oddly sized area to be covered if one canopy is too small.

11. Basic Tarpaulin

Simple patio shade tarp attached to two wooden poles with wire

Beekeepx/Shutterstock

A patio shade doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. A tarp with metal wire and cords can provide shade from the sun quickly and inexpensively while still looking rustic.

12. Modern Retractable Awning

Retractable awning patio shade idea with rollers and clips on a metal track

Bulltus_casso/Shutterstock

A blue and white striped retractable awning is modern and practical. You can close it up on cloudy days and easily deploy if needed on sunny ones.

13. Natural Canvas Shade

Big linen or burlap canvas shade for a patio stretched above a paver patio above a wooden table

Julua700702/Shutterstock

Natural fibers like this enormous piece of canvas add shade without darkening the area too much.

14. Metal and Rattan Awning

Metal and rattan patio shade idea above an elevated concrete patio with metal and wicker furniture

Beerchatdanai/Shutterstock

This awning on a patio terrace uses natural wood or rattan for a simple shade hung quickly from a metal rail. 

15. Picnic Umbrellas That Pop

Blue swing hammock in a crazy blue color with a tilted umbrella next to a lattice railing

Patrick Hatt/Shutterstock

Wide picnic umbrellas in jewel tones will add a pop of color to the patio. You can even get ones attached to hammocks for the ultimate patio shade experience. 

16. Tents on the Patio

A less traditional patio shade idea of setting up a tent on the patio or lawn

Prapat Aowsakorn/Shutterstock

Why not set up a tent as a place to relax in the cool shade, either on the patio if it won’t be in the way or on the lawn nearby. 

17. Wooden Slats and Steel

Patio shade example built out of a square metal structure with wooden slats in the middle

Ratchat/Shutterstock

Wooden slats set into a steel frame give an unusual pattern to your patio roofing. It does the job while adding some personality. 

18. Fabric Awnings

Unique patio shade inspiration of a simple metal sun protecting awning

Tunatura/Shutterstock

A neutral gray and brown fabric material awning that manually extends out to protect against the sun and light rain. The light color and fabric material won’t heat up on summer days and redirect the heat. 

19. Light and Dark Contrast

Patio umbrella to provide shade from the sun for its wooden and metal table below the grey umbrella

Mar1Art1/Shutterstock

Clean lines can benefit from a light palette and sharp contrast. The light and dark juxtaposition comes in the form of a dark wood umbrella and patio set with soft gray fabric to keep a modern and clean palette.

20. Daybeds

Brown wood and white fabric daybed with a canopy above a grey cushioned and pillowed bed

Chettarin/Shutterstock

A covered patio daybed can give seating and shade without sacrificing a lot of real estate on the patio. It also provides a seating opportunity for late-night drinks under the stars.

21. Canvas Suspended

Rendering of a loosely suspended canvas patio shade above a pool and pool deck

ThreeDiCube/Shutterstock

A thin, lightly colored tarp or sheet of canvas suspended between a pole and corners of the house will cover a patio or pool quickly and cheaply. 

22. Yellow and White

Yellow and white patio shade umbrellas above a grey background

Zonda/Shutterstock

Bright yellow and white patterned patio umbrellas can brighten a deck and absorb less heat than a darker umbrella. If you’re artistic, buy a white umbrella and waterproof paint and design your own.

23. Add a Roof! 

Lean-to roof slats above a floating patio deck and koi pond

Antonina Potapenko/Shutterstock

Build up a short wall on the opposite side and construct an A-frame style roof to give shade while allowing cross-breeze drafts. 

24. Lightweight Cotton and Darker Rattan

Lightweight Cotton and Darker Rattan patio shade idea

BonNontawat/Shutterstock

Use white cotton fabric and darker rattan for your umbrella to bring a clean island vibe to your patio. You can then add the cotton to other parts of the patio to extend the palette.

25. Fire Colors

Orange patio shade umbrella lit up against a dark night sky

BossNid/Shutterstock

If you prefer a more industrial palette, take inspiration from what is happening on the patio. Orange and red umbrellas placed near lighting sources can give a fiery feel to the property at night and lighten everything during the day.

26. Matching Umbrellas

Matching side-by-side red and black patio shade umbrellas over padded chairs

Klem Mitch/Shutterstock

A garden oasis with flower beds and a patio needs two oversized matching umbrellas and cushioned seats to become a retreat. 

27. Bamboo Slats

Bamboo slats sit on a wooden frame as a unique patio shade idea

Jean Isard/Shutterstock

Try interesting patterns. This bamboo terrace will give you a different look depending on the time of day, thanks to all the little slats capturing the light and providing light shade.

28. Four-Poster Patio

Patio shade idea of bamboo frame holding thin white cloth to shade the sun

Richokphoto/Shutterstock

Add thin white cotton material to a gazebo to add a bit of shade while still making the area look light and summery.

29. Bamboo Gazebo Roof

Bamboo gazebo above a simple bamboo table and booth outside a commercial buildling

Mrizag/Shutterstock

This environmentally-friendly option is more than just another bamboo structure; it repurposes used bamboo into a rough roof for a gazebo. 

30. More Than One

Multiple brightly colored Chinese-style umbrellas providing shade to the patio below

Room98/Shutterstock

Multiple umbrellas in bold jewel tones give a playful feel to a patio. The size means they overlap, so there’s even more shade to share.

Things to Consider

Patio shade ideas don’t have to be complicated; you can draw inspiration from beaches and restaurants, and follow these tips for the best results: 

  • Basic patio sets are often available in dark colors and white
  • Not all umbrellas are water-resistant; ensure the ones you choose are if you need to protect furniture
  • Try to provide at least one large umbrella for every four people
  • Offer low to the ground options if you or your guests will keep dogs on the patio
  • Light-colored umbrellas reflect heat, and dark umbrellas absorb heat
  • Awnings work best over BBQ areas since they keep the rain off as well
  • Choose low-hanging umbrellas if you want to add mosquito-proofing

Did Our Patio Shade Ideas Inspire You?

From natural fiber umbrellas to trees and metal awnings, the only limitation on your patio style is your imagination. Find inspiration with these patio shade ideas and then go out and see what items speak to you. Make that umbrella your patio centerpiece and get back to what you really love — enjoying the shade!

You Might Also Like: