Patio Shade Alternatives

Patios provide an ideal location for entertaining or enjoying your own backyard. The blazing sun shining in your eyes is one drawback to unshaded patios. Many options exist to provide some shade to your outdoor living area. The best choice for your patio depends on your budget, layout of your area and your desired look. Also, consider the amount of sun you want to block, as some options offer more shade than others.

Sail Shades

Sail shades are large pieces of fabric, often in a triangle shape. Sometimes called sun sails, they are attached to poles and strategically placed to block the sun. You also have the option of attaching them to the side of your home or to trees or columns in the vicinity of your patio. The material is often treated to increase the UV blockage it offers, which makes this an attractive option for those who are concerned with protecting their skin.


Wooden arbors add both shade and beauty to a patio area and work well with a variety of home styles. When covered in vines, an arbor provides a great deal of shade for your patio area. This option provides a more natural look that integrates into your backyard rather than standing out as a noticeable addition to the area.

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs offer a natural approach to shading a patio. Shrubs do not offer as much overhead sun blockage, but they can provide some cooler shade areas on your patio. Trees provide good shade coverage, but most options take several years to reach a height that would truly shade your patio well. Placement is also an important consideration, as a tree near the foundation of your home or patio can cause damage from the growing roots.


Umbrellas are a relatively inexpensive option. Freestanding patio umbrellas allow you to move them around where you need them. They also fold up and are simple to remove from your patio area for storage purposes. One drawback to the umbrella option is the limited amount of space it shades. If you entertain large groups of people, you will need several patio umbrellas to provide enough shade. Some people also dislike the look of patio umbrellas.

Keywords: shading a patio, sail shades, shade coverage

About this Author

Shelley Frost has been a freelance writer since 2007, specializing in parenting and education. Her work can be found on websites such as and Frost holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a minor in reading from the University of Northern Iowa.