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Pool Shade Ideas

By Hannah Wahlig
Shaded outdoor pool

Pools may be a popular way to combat soaring summer temperatures, but even lounging in the water beneath the baking sun can be uncomfortable. Shaded pools help maintain cool, comfortable water temperatures and offer swimmers a sense of privacy. Whether you incorporate pool shade right into your landscape or opt to purchase a manufactured awning, a shaded pool area creates a sense of cool relaxation for homeowners and guests.

Shade Trees and Landscaping

Pool shade can be built right into the landscaping by placing a selection of shade trees along the edge of the pool. Choose trees that don't lose significant amounts of foliage or large seeds. Poplars, maples and river birch trees are better choices than oak or palm trees, which produce and drop large nuts. Place large trees far apart to avoid root interference. Consult with a professional landscaper to select the best planting location so your pool will be shaded but protected against warping due to underground growth. Due to their height, shade trees are the best option for an aboveground pool. Inground pools can be shaded with tall shrubs. Install a natural fence composed of boxwood or forsythia around an inground pool to provide low shade.

Awnings and Canopies

If your pool is directly beside your home or another structure, consider purchasing a canopy or awning that extends over the pool from the structure's roof line. Simple cloth awnings supported by metal or wooden beams provide permanent shade for a portion of an inground pool. More expensive awnings include retractable versions. Retractable awnings can be rolled in or out to control the amount of sunlight on the pool; they are either wound by hand on cords or controlled by a remote. Such retractable canopies allow for greater control over pool water temperature, however, they require professional installation and are often one of the most expensive options. Awnings are usually not an ideal option for aboveground pools because they are typically situated at the height of the home's roof line.

Portable Shade

Create portable shade for a pool with standard freestanding umbrellas. Place a series of reclining deck chairs or patio tables along the side of an inground pool. Fix large cloth umbrellas near the seating clusters. When they are not being used by sunbathers, move the umbrellas closer to the edge of the pool to shade the water's perimeter. Umbrellas are not a feasible option for aboveground pools because they lack the height necessary to provide adequate shade.

Screen Rooms

For optimum shade, construct a shade room around your pool. Shade rooms are most commonly paired with inground pools, though specialty rooms may be created around small aboveground pools. A shade room is a freestanding structure that includes screen or glass walls and an opaque roof. Some shade rooms offer total shade with a solid roof while others permit some sunlight through the roof via tinted glass or plastic roofing. Shade rooms are usually built as an extension of a home, though they can be constructed to offer shade for a pool away from the home. Because of the extensive building and installation associated with a shade room, they can be an expensive option.


About the Author


Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.