10 Smart Ways to Bring Shade to Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor areas don't have to be all about soaking in the sun. Sometimes it's nice to relax in a shady spot, shielded from the harsh rays. There are many ways to bring shade to an outdoor space. You can build a new freestanding structure or enhance an existing patio or pergola through the addition of a shade screen. Many such screens are made from fabric or canvas, but even materials like lattice and bamboo are popular options that cast delicately dappled light onto the outdoor living space beneath or behind. Best of all, there's no need to call in a contractor; most of these projects are simple enough for the average homeowner to complete easily and quickly, often within the space of a single weekend. So check out our gallery to see a selection of yard improvements that will have you made in the shade.

  1. Sail Away

    Sail Shade Canopy

    A sail shade is among the easiest DIY sun-blockers you can make. All it takes is a triangular-cut piece of fabric with eyelets punched in the corners. Use strong twine or rope to attach the shade to poles, the side of the house, or nearby trees. 

    Related: 8 DIY Pick-Me-Ups for a Plain Patio


  2. Piece of Paradise

    Tiki Hut Backyard

    Add a little island flair to your backyard with a tiki thatched roof. The tropical awning creates vacation vibes right out your back door. 

    Related: 10 Cheap Ways to Bring the Beach to the Backyard

    Zillow Digs home in Bonsall, CA

  3. Screened In

    Outdoor Screen Shades

    Motorized retractable awnings are pricey. Rather than splurging on this amenity, opt for a screen that you can easily adjust yourself. 

    Related: The Best Things to Get for Your Backyard from Sam’s Club

    Zillow Digs home in Palm Springs, CA

  4. Perfect Pergola

    Backyard Pergola

    A classic pergola keeps things shady without completely blocking the sun. The thin wood slates let the rays poke through so you feel the warmth of the sun without it beating down on you.

    Related: 15 Doable Designs for DIY Outdoor Furniture


  5. Lovely Lattice Light

    Lattice Ideas For The Garden

    A lattice canopy with verdant vines makes a beautiful addition to any yard. You get the shade you're looking for with the added bonus of vibrant greenery all around. 

    Related: Flowering Climbers: 8 Cures for the Common Garden

    Zillow Digs home in Del Mar, CA

  6. Partial Pergola

    Pergola DIY

    Just because you're seeking some shade in your backyard, doesn't mean you want your entire patio covered. This DIY from The Created Home shades just a corner of the yard or patio and creates a romantic setting for some mood lighting—and it's budget friendly.

    Related: 12 Big Ideas for Small Backyards


  7. Curtain Call

    DIY Drop Cloth Curtains Outdoor

    You don’t need to invest in expensive outdoor curtains to add a little shade to your pergola. Kate, from Centsational Style, shares an easy DIY using canvas tarps for sturdy shades. Simple, affordable, and still attractive—just what everyone wants.

    Related: 14 Cheap DIYs for a Better Backyard


  8. Stand-alone Stunner

    How To Build A Canopy Frame

    Build a private oasis in your backyard. This DIY canopy awning offers protection from the sun, and privacy from the neighbors. You don’t even need a whole weekend to build this outdoor escape.

    Related: 14 Ways to Make Your Small Yard Seem Big

    Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

  9. Simple DIY Shade

    DIY Shade

    Homemade By Carmona made this privacy shade using little more than copper pipes and fittings. The space-friendly canopy is great for anyone with a smaller yard or deck, and is a good project for DIY newbie.

    Related: 12 Backyard Updates You Can Do in a Day


  10. Extra Cover

    Large Patio Umbrella

    Seek out an extra large patio umbrella. A normal size umbrella is fine, but a bigger one will keep you covered no matter what direction the sun is facing. 

    Related: Top 10 Classic DIY Projects for the Outdoors


  11. Don't Miss!


    Want to step inside old, new, bold, beautiful, weird and wonderful homes around the world? Subscribe to the House Lovers newsletter today!