Create a Shady Retreat

Beat the heat this summer with a shady retreat. We'll show you a variety of ideas so you can plan your own personal getaway.

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Make it Easy


Enjoy a shady retreat in any corner of your yard (at any time) with a simple patio umbrella. An umbrella, table, and chairs combine to create a miniature outdoor room that you can enjoy anywhere.

  • Click here for easy patio-furniture decorating projects.
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Add Vines


Vines such as wisteria, trumpet vine, and grapes, are perfect for creating shade, even in the sunniest spot. Let them ramble over a pergola to create a soft, filtered shade -- and beautifully elegant garden room.

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Use Structures

'Annabelle' hydrangea

If a house, garage, or other structure casts too much shade in your yard for you to grow grass, create a shady haven instead. Instead of a scraggly side yard, these homeowners created a charming little patio flanked with Annabelle hydrangeas.

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Keep it Simple

Garden Path

Although a pergola or patio makes a stunning presentation, you can create a spot that's just as personal, without spending a ton of cash. Here, a comfy chair tucked among trees and flowering shrubs, offers a perfect place to escape the heat with a good book or glass of lemonade.

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Add Water


Any spot will instantly become more relaxing with the sound of water. Whether you have a big water feature or a simple fountain like this, water is the perfect way to enhance any outdoor space.

  • Click here for a collection of easy fountain projects.
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Make a Secret Getaway


Setting a bench among the trees is a great way to cool off. Make your space even more intimate and private by tucking the bench underneath a rustic pergola, such as the one here. Add another layer of privacy by covering your pergola with shade-tolerant vines such as Virginia creeper, climbing hydrangea, or sweet autumn clematis.

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Play with Color


We usually think of shady retreats as being green and boring. But that doesn't have to be the case. Here, a simple teak bench offers a great place to relax. Colorful pillows covered in outdoor-friendly fabric add a dose of festive color.

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Be Creative


You don't need to carve out a spot in your yard for a shady retreat. Here, an attractive garden path combines with a vine-covered pergola for a perfect multipurpose getaway.

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Create Whimsy


Here's another great way to add interest to an area of your yard where your lawn just won't grow: A small brick patio is flanked by a fence and dramatically shaped shade-tolerant shrubs.

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Utilize a Privacy Fence


Shady doesn't always mean private -- so if you want your relaxing retreat safely out of view, try a privacy fence. In addition to blocking the view, the fence will give your getaway a sense of enclosure.

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Try a Gazebo


This simple gazebo feels like it's in the middle of the woods -- even though it's in a tree-filled backyard just south of Boston. A structure like this makes a perfect, private getaway to enjoy some time for yourself -- or to host a small group of close friends.

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