How to Cool Off the Backyard
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. Set Up a Shade Sail
A sail shade is among the easiest 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. If you prefer to buy instead of DIY, see our recommendations for the best shade sail, like this triangular option from Shade&Beyond on Amazon.
2. Try a Tiki Roof
3. Screen Your Space
4. Build a 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. (And if you want to hang a projection screen from it, you can! See these top picks for outdoor projection screens.)
5. ...or Put Up a Partial Pergola
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
6. Grow a Canopy of Vines
7. String Up Outdoor Curtains
For more shade than a pergola alone can provide, consider 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! Alternatively, you can string up a weatherproof curtain or two like this NICETOWN panel from Amazon.
8. Construct a Custom Canopy
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.
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9. Craft a Privacy Screen Without Wood
10. Stand an Extra Large Umbrella
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!