Shade Solutions for Outdoor Rooms

Get ideas for keeping your outdoor spaces comfy and cool with these shade solutions.


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umbrella over eating area
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Shady Spot for Entertaining

    Keep the sun off a deck with an oversize patio umbrella attached to the deck supports. Decorate with hanging plants and copper accessories.

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Painted Pergola

    Painted pergola beams and matching supports contrast the ruddy tone of a cedar wood deck.

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Glass-Block Trellis

    Add privacy to a patio with a trellis punctuated by glass blocks. The light pattern that shines through the glass blocks, which came from an old dairy, changes with the movement of the sun. The homeowners chose heavy wood posts for the pergola to complement a large house and yard.

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Screened Gazebo

    Enhance your yard with a gazebo of dark, rich Brazilian ipe wood; use planks of a lighter wood for flooring. The screened room provides a convenient location for bug-free outdoor dining.

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Pergola with Foliage

    Create shade with nature's help. After building a sturdy pergola (seen here in a warm honey stain), add a curtain of natural foliage to lessen the light. To increase the outdoor room's private feel, wrap the bottom portion of the railing in lattice.

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Outdoor Umbrella

    Shade the dining table on your patio with a simple outdoor umbrella. Try a model that can be tipped and turned to block the sun. This shady outdoor space features deck floors made of a durable Brazilian hardwood called pau laupe and a sunken patio off the deck. Thin rows of bricks lie between slabs of bluestone and wrap around to the side yard.

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Grand Gazebo

    Construct a gazebo on a portion of your deck to alleviate the inconvenience of unwanted sun during an outdoor lunch. This cedar deck is supported by 10 wooden posts and is surrounded by vertical plank cedar railing.

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Decorative Lattice

    Lessen the power of the sun with ornamental fretwork made of lattice and a Chippendale-style railing system. These simple, elegant touches welcome in just enough sunlight.

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Utilize Structural Shade

    Work with what already exists when looking for shade. These homeowners set up their outdoor dining area under an existing structure. They used a table and chairs that match the house in color and design. Painted wrought-iron railings and a cut-stone walkway enhance the setting

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Section Your Shade

    Build an inexpensive, rustic pergola that can support climbing vines. It will provide shade and a feeling of privacy.

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Pergolas Provide Shade

    Cast shade on a patio with a basic pergola made of 2x8 rafters topped with flat 2x4s. Pergolas are generally made from cedar wood.

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Open Grid Overhead

    Provide shade to a deck while still allowing light to filter into the interior of the home with a pergola that has an open grid design.

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Classic Trellis

    Top a classically designed shade structure with a low-maintenance redwood trellis that will temper the sun, creating just the right amount of shade.

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Greek-Inspired Pergola

    Grow Japanese wisteria on a pergola to provide a shady afternoon retreat. The lattice topping this pergola is a good choice because it allows vines and other large foliage to spread out. The deep green color of this Greek Revival pergola matches the home's shutters.

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Rafter with Foliage Canopy

    Use greenery and potted plants in addition to building material to provide shade and offer a natural feel to your outdoor room. This two-tier overhead rafter supports a canopy of wisteria and trumpet vines.

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Outdoor Canopy

    Top a deck with a canvas canopy for a serenely shaded scene. The canopy offers relief from extreme sun or a light drizzle, and can easily be removed if necessary.

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Private Pergola

    Add a railing of lattice and vertical spindles to increase the privacy offered by a pergola. To produce a substantial structure, wrap the support posts and railing in 1-inch pine. Decorative arches and plinth blocks are located at the column bases.

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Retractable Awning

    Install an electric, retractable awning that lets you decide when to shield the sun or welcome the rays. Awnings are available at most home stores and home improvement Web sites. The awning material can match your outdoor style, whether you choose a complementary acrylic fabric or a sturdier material, such as canvas.

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Perfect Pergola

    Create a shaded area and maintain your backyard budget with a pergola. Rather than four walls and a solid ceiling, a pergola is open on two sides and is topped by girders and cross beams that create an open lattice, saving material costs when compared with a room. Create even more shade by growing vines up and over the structure.

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