Shade Solutions for Outdoor Rooms
Utilize Fabric Options
There are many more outdoor room solutions for nearly everything than there were even just 10 years ago. Luckily for homeowners, that equals more choice and a wider price range. Outdoor fabric, for example, is widely available and offers a great mid-price solution for decks and patios. Here, the darker fabric shields both seating and dining.
Extend the Roof Line
Outdoor rooms that abut a home offer an easy solution when it comes to shade: Simply extend the roof line, if possible, over a deck or patio. Here, white paint counteracts any dark effects from a relatively low-ceilinged space.
Angle Your Roofline
Even if you don’t extend a true roof over your outdoor room, you can use similar lines, angles, and forms to provide shade. Here, wide-space beams, combined with the delicate fringe of a willow tree, create enough dappled shade to protect the restful seating area from direct rays.
Investigate Hardscape Structures
The amount of shade needed may depend on a lot of variables -- where your outdoor room is located, the patterns of sun in your landscape, and the climate extremes where you live. More open pergolas, for example, can work well for those spots that don't get a lot of beating, midday and afternoon sun as well as in climates that don't suffer from very hot temperatures. This pretty version offers separation from house using a trellis.
Plants for Shady Spaces
Think you can't have flowers in the shade? Think again: These pretty blooms add beauty to your shade solutions, too.
Transition Between Covered and Open
Shade solutions for outdoor spaces are great to have, but they may not be necessary at every hour or at every time of the year. To increase the flexibility of use, mix and match shade offerings -- here, a roofline extension over a seating area -- with more open spots. In addition, the narrow extension of the roof helps to provide sun block for interior spaces on very hot days.
Think About Covered Spots, Too
Even if a covered patio or deck receives lots of shade, it may be sited in such a way that angles hit the seating or dining areas at inconvenient times. If that’s the case, go for shade solutions that are quick and efficient -- roll-down shades, operable shutters, or gauzy drapes that easily slide open.
Open Sides, Closed Roof
Although many pergolas and outdoor structures use some sort of an open roof, closing that space off may be your best shade solution. Particularly if the sides of an outdoor room structure are open, you'll gain the benefit of the breeze without the drawback of the sun's rays.
Integrate Indoors with Outdoors
Warm-weather climates in particular work well with rooms that move seamlessly from interior to exterior. But even cold-weather spots can benefit from the principle. Here, wide-open doors take advantage of sun-shielding from a long and wide pergola structure.
Go Old School
A simple umbrella can be a great shade solution for outdoor rooms, particularly if budgets and space are constraints. There is a range of options in both color and style, as well as sizes and arm extensions to fit nearly every landscape. Here, pretty yellows pop against the neutral umbrella and table.
Improve Your Deck
Decorate your shady deck in style with these tips and tricks.
Make Shade Flexible
Sometimes the rays of sun feel warming and welcoming; other times we all seek out shade as an escape. For the latter, flexible fabric or screening solutions such as this can be a good option. Many utilize a simple pull system to extend or recess the shade as needed.
Work with Your Trees
Good siting of your outdoor rooms can take advantage of one of your landscape's best features: its trees. If you have full-grown trees, look at spots close by that you can place outdoor dining or seating areas. If not, consider planting trees that will mature into natural shade solutions for your outdoor rooms.
Work with Temporary Solutions
Shade doesn't have to be permanent to be useful: A simple canopy over this pretty couch helps to maximize use of the outdoor seating area. Another bonus: Ideas such as this can be moved to different locations if needed.
Integrate Shade into Architecture
Shade may be a necessary element in a hardscape structure: It organizes activities and helps to provide a getaway from too-hot days. For new structures, integrate open shade solutions into the creation of outdoor rooms. Here, one corner of an outdoor structure was opened up to the yard.
Offer Dappled Shade
Although pergolas won’t shield all the sun’s rays, they will do a good job of adding at least some shade to seating spots. For those areas located out in the landscape, consider structures such as this, which also provide a focal point.
Add Walls to Your Hardscaping
Mid-height walls call block the sun at various angles, helping increase the amount of shade you get in your outdoor rooms. Color works, too, in tandem with shade solutions: White and light colors won't absorb as much heat and may feel cooler, like the light-color floor in this patio space.