5 Ways to Add Shade to Your Outdoor Space
The outdoor space that surrounds the perimeter of your home is some of the most valuable real-estate on your property. It is a physical extension of your home’s interior, and should be treated with the same level of care and consideration as your living room, kitchen, and other more public areas of your floor plan.
However, it can be difficult to provide those exterior spaces with the environmental protection necessary to keep them up to a habitable level of comfort, especially in the more extreme weather months of the year. In particular, protecting your outdoor space in the summer from exposure to direct sunlight is vital in cultivating functional areas that people can enjoy without squinting, sweating, and running for the closest and strongest tube of sunscreen.
Shade is the key to a cool, comfortable outdoor space that your family and guests can enjoy a fresh breeze and a cold drink free from the extreme heat of the sun. There are a number of creative ways you can shade your deck, patio, or perfectly manicured patch of grass that go beyond a giant umbrella.
Here are 5 ways to add shade to your outdoor space.
A trellis is an overhang structure, usually supported by 4 to 6 wood or steel posts, featuring a lattice work that allows vines or other plants to attached onto and grow. It’s a great way to provide shade that can also be incorporated as a landscape element. The trellis structure also provides areas to easily hang potted plants, herbs, or flowers that further blend the exterior space with the rest of your landscaped yard.
Trellises work best over wood decks, but can also be designed around entry wood walkways, patios, or if you have an especially large backyard, isolated areas such as gazebos or outdoor kitchens. These wood deck products from Kebony are perfect when being paired with a shade structure such as a vegetated trellis.
Trees, Plants, and Hedges
It might seem obvious to include something like a tree on this list, but natural shade is the best kind of shade, and if you’re in a position to incorporate either an existing tree or plan for future growth, you should be organizing your functional exterior space around it. Hiring a landscape architect or professional goes a long way to integrating species of plant and tree that grow well together, ensuring the areas of shade develop and mature as intended.
However, the best way to make use of natural shade is to use what’s already there. If you can find a few areas of your yard that are already well protected from the sun, consider designing wood decks, patios, and wood walkways around those areas and cut down on the time (and patience) it takes to grow something yourself.
Tensile Shade Canopy
Tensile structures are typically made of canvas, or some other water and weather resistant fabric pulled tight between three to four posts. They are not only great for providing your rear yard with shade, they can be incorporated into the landscape as a unique design element and focal point. They work especially well in arid climates like the desert, where sun protection is most essential to exterior comfort.
Be careful about installing tensile structures in areas that can experience extreme winds, as what you are installing is essentially a giant sail. Combining one or more tensile structures help them cover more deck area, and are capable of producing infinite unique architectural designs.
Since your deck design is likely attached to a commonly used area of your home such as a living room or kitchen, it presents an opportunity to attach a shade structure directly to the side of your house, effectively extending the interior space onto a deck or patio without a dramatic drop-off of weather protection. Roll-up awnings are inexpensive and can be installed by any homeowner and DIYer with a power drill and the will to self-perform the work.
Another advantage is the ability to retract the shade structures when a little bit of sunshine is called for, or in the evening when the full visual splendor of your back yard is begging to be put on display.
I know I threw a bit of shade (pardon the pun) on the idea of using an umbrella earlier, but they actually make the perfect quick-and-easy solution to carving out a few select areas of shade in your yard or on your deck. There are a massive amount of styles, sizes, and color options available for umbrellas, so no matter your personal preference, there will certainly be something out there that tickles your design sense.
They aren’t the most permanent shade solution, but for a quick fix, the price is certainly right.