Spending time outside is soothing and therapeutic, but not everyone prefers to subject themselves to the sun’s rays. What if you shade your patio? Considering a source of shade when designing an outdoor living area can allow you to enjoy the fresh air while limiting direct sun exposure.

Don’t let the sun deter you from fully utilizing your porch, patio, or deck. You can reclaim your outside space with one of these creative ideas for adding shade.

Shade Trees

Before removing that old tree on your property, why not consider incorporating it into your plans? A tree, especially a very big one with bending, sculptural limbs, adds to the overall character of a property. A group of trees can act as natural boundaries and can be used to shape an entire outdoor space. Trees are the best providers of natural shade for your patio, and during the summer, a tree can reduce a home’s temperature by up to 20 degrees or more.

Before removing a shade tree or replacing it with a structural element, try to utilize it for its natural and beautiful benefits instead when designing an outdoor living area.

Pergola or Arbor

outdoor kitchen

Although “arbor” and “pergola” are frequently used interchangeably, they have different meanings when designing an outdoor living area. Pergolas have an open roof supported by four or more posts, and oftentimes cover a patio or deck.

Similar to a pergola, an arbor has an open roof structure. However, unlike a pergola, an arbor is usually arch-shaped and has trellis-like supports on either side. This makes it easy for vines to climb up and over the structure to give shade readily. This provides a natural feeling for your patio or walkway entrance, where you can peacefully read a book, drink your morning coffee, or catch up with a friend.  

Permanent Roof

If you already have the structures mentioned above, you can always build a permanent, substantial roof that can provide shade for your patio. This option is more expensive than the others we’ve discussed so far in designing an outdoor living area, but it’s also a long-term fix that offers the chance to improve the appearance and purpose of your patio greatly.

If you have the time and money to dedicate when designing an outdoor living area, this is your most elegant and appealing option for adding shade to your patio. It will take longer to install, typically require hiring a contractor, and almost certainly require building permits.

Wrap-Around Curtains

The same methods used to block the sun indoors can also be effective outside. All-weather curtains can offer shade to your patio and protection from the elements while adding a modern cozy feel to a porch or patio.

Outdoor curtains are easily customizable for your style and space and can be added to a pergola or gazebo. This can be the easiest and most practical option when designing an outdoor living area.

About The NL Group

The NL Group is a premier landscaping and design firm in Barrington, Illinois dedicated to providing excellence in landscape management for homeowners throughout the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Let us turn your outdoor kitchen dream into reality.  Contact us today!