Taking advantage of outdoor living space expands the usable area of your home and is a great way to enjoy warm weather and entertain guests. However, this area can be rendered unusable by blazing sun and soaring temperatures. Creating outdoor shade reclaims your outdoor living space, adds beauty and charm to your home and adds value when permanent shade structures and vegetation are added in a tasteful way. A comfortable yard or patio is one that you will get a lot of use out of.
Plant shade trees. Starting new trees won't bring immediate relief, but it may be your best bet in the long run. In addition to providing shade, they beautify and add value to your property. Some varieties of trees will grow to a shade-providing height much more quickly than others, so inquire at a nursery about which varieties would be most suitable for your needs in your area. You may be able to purchase trees that are already quite large to add to your yard. Consider the best location where they won't crowd your house or outdoor living space, and will block sun during the hottest part of the day.
Set up shade umbrellas and canopies. Some large outdoor market umbrellas or freestanding canopies are a good solution for shade when you need immediate results and some flexibility. You can move them to optimize shade at different times of day, or take them down completely when they aren't needed. They will also tend to be more cost-effective and less labor-intensive than planting trees or building a new structure.
Build an arbor or pergola. A structure like this is a very charming addition to outdoor living spaces. You can purchase one or build it yourself. You can also increase the shade offered by planting a fast-growing flowering vine or hops to grow over it.
Cover outdoor areas with shade cloth. For an easier DIY outdoor shade project than building an entire structure, try erecting shade cloth between poles or even between the house and garage or other outbuilding to form a shaded area. Shade cloth is a relatively affordable option and is available in green and black online or in stores.
Close in porches. Use shade cloth, fabric, canvas or bamboo shades to cover porches that get direct sunlight. These shades can be rolled up and down as needed.