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
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
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
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
This bold orange, white, and black folding balcony awning can compliment darker patio furniture or become a statement piece when unfolded.
5. Tropical Awnings
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
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
Notice the use of galvanized metal with blue wood? It brings a modern look and feel to this pergola.
8. Wooden Pergolas
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
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
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
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
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
Natural fibers like this enormous piece of canvas add shade without darkening the area too much.
14. Metal and Rattan Awning
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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
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
A garden oasis with flower beds and a patio needs two oversized matching umbrellas and cushioned seats to become a retreat.
27. Bamboo Slats
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
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
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 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!