Shade Structures for Your Backyard: Everything You Need to Know

Summertime is the perfect time to relax in your backyard. Instead of hanging around your game room, it is an excellent idea to enjoy the summer heat outdoors. Still, it can be pretty uncomfortable if you don't have a shady spot. A shade structure is a great way to solve this problem and create a relaxing oasis in your yard. Everything you need to know about backyard shade structures will be covered in this blog post. We'll cover the different types of structures available, as well as the pros and cons of each. We'll also give you some tips on choosing the right one for your needs. So read on to learn more!

Six Types Of Outdoor Shade Structures

The pergola is the most popular outdoor structure for providing shade, according to a survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects or ASLA. The next most popular structures are the arbor, pavilion, and gazebo. If you are set on getting a pergola, you should know different types to choose from.

1. Pergola

A pergola is a structure supported by four beams, and it does not have walls. It can either be freestanding or connected to your home. The roof on the pergola is flat, and it usually has a lattice or trellis design for partial shade. Still, sometimes screens are added for more privacy and shade. Additionally, you can add vines or sheer curtains to add privacy and shade.

Pergolas are not meant to shelter people completely. They are designed to allow more air circulation and sunlight. Pergolas are an option if you don't mind a little sun and won't be using your outdoor shade structure during inclement weather.

This structure can extend the living space of a home or patio outdoors. It's ideal for dining al fresco or entertaining guests. Additionally, it can be placed on a deck or poolside area. This addition enhances the appearance of your backyard.

The construction cost and time for a pergola will depend on what type you choose. There are ones that come as a kit, or you can buy them whole. You can also build one yourself or get a contractor to custom builds it for you.


  • Creates a patio area
  • Blocks the view from inside your home
  • Boosts air circulation
  • Simpler and cheaper to run
  • Installs faster and uses fewer resources
  • Requires a smaller backyard


  • Pergola materials commonly fade over time.
  • Watch out for termites
  • If properly designed, it will boost your home's value.

2. Arbor

An arbor and a pergola are similar because they have lattice or trellis designs. The difference is that an arbor has two or four beams and an arched top, while a pergola usually just has one. You can also use vines to increase shade and privacy for both of these structures.

Arbors are mostly used to make a yard or garden look nicer. They can also be used to make a pathway or entrance look better. Sometimes arbors are used for weddings or other outdoor events. They can also be used to provide shade for an outdoor seating area.


  • A quick way to decorate your yard
  • Doesn't take up as much space
  • Requires fewer materials to construct
  • Cost less than the other types
  • You can install it yourself, get it custom-made, buy it whole, or build it from a kit.


  • That is not designed to be an outside living space.
  • The shade provided by this pavilion is the lowest of all the other outdoor structures.

3. Pavilion

A pavilion is a fully covered pitched roof structure with open sides that give shade and rain protection. It is supported by four or, if larger, six poles. It may be standalone or an outside extension of your home connected to a patio, deck, or concrete area like a pergola.

Pavilions are commonly used to cover a deck or a seating area. Numerous upgrading choices are available because they are often larger than other outdoor shade structures. Installing a wall gives additional protection and can be utilized as an outdoor kitchen or bar. Add some picnic tables or a couch to make it comfier. A pavilion is one of the solutions available if you want an outdoor shade structure that you can use even when it's pouring.


  • Shades more than other types
  • Comes with a sturdy roof for sun and rain protection
  • Upgrade options
  • Affordability


  • Taking over your backyard
  • Require more materials and is more expensive to construct and maintain
  • Harder to find these pre-installed in homes
  • If you want a custom-made pavilion, you can either build it yourself or hire a contractor to do it.

4. Gazebo

A gazebo is different from a pavilion because of its shape. A gazebo is hexagonal, octagonal, or oval. It often goes on patios, decks, gardens, or other concrete areas. The oval design makes it great for places with nice views. It can also be freestanding and have a floor inside. The side is usually open with railings, so bugs don't get in the house. Gazebos are best when they have screened-in walls so bugs cannot enter the house easily.

This type of structure is typically used in public areas as a retreat or meeting space. However, people are now installing them in their homes for the same purpose. These are installed by homeowners who enjoy spending time outside and need shade and protection from the weather. You can also install this other type of outdoor shade structure if you want to spend time outside, even when it's raining.


  • Increases your home's worth
  • Shades more than other types
  • Installing screens to keep insects out
  • Can run electricity and have other upgrades


  • Takes up a lot of yard space
  • Costs more to build and maintain than a pergola
  • Hard to come by a house that has these pre-installed
  • If you prefer a specific design, you need to build one or get a contractor to do it.

5. Shade Sails

Shade sails are a great way to provide shade and protect yourself from the sun. They work by blocking UV rays. Most models will not be waterproof, which is a problem because if water collects on the sail, it will droop or even break.

You could also get water-resistant shade sails. Water will run off the material if composed of HDPE mesh fabric. Of course, the slope of the sail will still be a factor.


  • Installable and removable
  • Less expensive
  • Adds aesthetic value
  • Great ventilation


  • Can't withstand storms
  • A fire hazard risk
  • It may be difficult to find a location to hang the shade sail
  • Birds, Large Branches, etc.

6. Patio Umbrellas

If you lack the space or cash for any structures above, you could opt for a patio umbrella. It's a simple and inexpensive way to provide shade outdoors. Not only is it convenient, but it is also portable!

There are many types of patio umbrellas. Choosing one based on the size, design, function, and color is important to match your outdoor area's theme.


  • It can be upgraded to have lighting installed
  • Portable
  • Great for small yards
  • Less expensive


  • Cannot provide shade for a large group
  • Not the best cover when it's raining
  • No privacy

To learn more about various shade structures for your backyard, you can visit this site.

Best Backyard Shade Structures for Your Outdoor Space

We love spending time outdoors, especially in the spring and summer months. The sun is great, but sometimes it can be too strong. If you want to stay outside but don't want to get sunburned, you can buy a shade structure for your backyard.

If you want to create or increase the shade in your backyard, We have a few suggestions for you that we think you will like.

1. Loggias

A loggia is a characteristic of Italian architecture that will transport you to another country, even if you are not there physically. A loggia is a long, open gallery with columns and arches. It's basically a long porch or balcony attached to the outside of your home. You will need advanced architectural planning to build this space.

2. Screened porches

In Texas, screened porches are a common design choice because of the state's hot climate. They offer benefits such as protection from the sun, protection from bugs, privacy, and more space. They can be customized to match any home style and create a beautiful flow between the indoors and outdoors.

3. Cabanas

Adding a cabana to your backyard can give it a more luxurious feel. Cabanas are typically covered, open-air structures with fabric panels on all four sides to offer privacy and control sunlight. They can be used for lounging, but they can also be a good place to change in and out of swimwear.

4. Canopies

Canopies can be seen as being in between architectural and decorative structures. They typically have a metal or wooden frame and a fabric roof and sides. They are perfect for defining an outdoor space such as a lounge or dining area. Additionally, they can add an elegant touch to outdoor events.

5. Stationary Awnings

Awnings are a great way to add shade and definition to an outdoor area. You can choose from various materials, like woven grasses, wood slats, or metal overhangs. However, a classic option is striped fabric which will give your outdoor space a charming look while protecting the sun and rain.

6. Extended Rooflines

Extending the roofline of your home can be a practical and cohesive way to add shade to your backyard and create an indoor-outdoor feel. You can do this during early construction phases or in a renovation project. This extension will define the livable patio space and keep it close to the main house for easy flow.

7. Outdoor Curtains

Outdoor curtains can be used to create different moods in your outdoor living areas. You can make it feel like you're in Palm Springs or somewhere else warm, or make it feel like you're in Europe. They also have the practical purpose of shading you from the sun and keeping things private.

Final Thoughts

No matter your budget, taste, or size of the backyard, you can find a shade structure that is perfect for you. Don't let the heat stop you from enjoying your outdoor space this summer. Sunshade options are endless. If you have the patience, plant a couple of trees too. They provide the best type of natural shade.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shade Structures for Backyard

How Much Do Shade Structures Cost?

The total cost of a hip shade over a playground is about 120% of the cost of the materials. So, a typical hip shade over a playground might be $15,000 to $50,000, depending on how big it is. This is an excellent option if you're planning to build an outdoor playset for your kids.

What Are Shade Structures Called?

A pergola is a structure that can cover a walkway or provide shade for an outdoor living space. People often use the word "pergola" to mean "patio cover." A patio cover is an attached structure that provides shade and/or rain protection for a patio or deck. A patio cover can have an open or solid roof.

What Can I Use for Outdoor Shade?

Sunshades, canopies, and shade cloths can be great temporary ideas for outdoor shading areas. Shade sails don't usually require a lot of hardware, and they are easy to move or reposition as the angle of the sun changes.

What Color Is Shade Cloth Best?

Black and green fabric makes a good shield from the sun or rain. It is especially good for plants. White cloth is a different type of shield that only protects from light, but it does not keep things cool like black and green cloth.

What Is the Roof Over a Patio Called?

The roof on a deck is usually called a patio cover. This attached structure provides protection from the sun and rain. It can either have a solid or open roof. Another name for deck or patio roofs is pergola.

Is a Pergola Considered a Structure?

Pergolas are a great way to add shade to your patio or deck. They also make your outdoor space look nicer and more inviting. Pergolas are not permanent, like houses or other buildings.

What Can I Use Instead of a Gazebo?

If you are worried about building a gazebo, you may want to consider a pergola. A pergola is like a gazebo, but it isn't really a little building. It is just a roof that stands on its own and provides shade and shelter for your patio area.

How Much Does a Shade Structure Cost?

The total cost for a typical hip shade over your play structure will be around 120% of the cost of the materials. This means that you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000-$50,000 for a hip shade, depending on its size.

What Do You Call a Shade Structure?

A pergola is a roof that you walk under. It can be used to cover a path or to provide shade for an outdoor living space. People often use the word "pergola" to mean "patio cover." A patio cover is an attached roof that protects people from the rain and sun outside.

How Much Does a Waterproof Shade Sail Cost?

The average size shade sail costs between $3,000 and $5,000. This price includes the cost of installation. Waterproof sails offer shade and protection from the elements and typically cost more than regular shade sails.

Does Shade Cloth Reduce Heat?

Shade cloth is made from knitted or woven material, such as polyethylene or polyester. Shade cloth filters sunlight and is used to protect plants from the sun. Shade cloth can reduce the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius) or more.

What Is the Roof Over a Deck Called?

The roof over a deck is usually called a patio cover. This structure is attached and protects you from the sun and rain. People can choose from two types of patio roofs: one that is solid and one that is open. An open roof held up by posts or columns is called a pergola, and it's another name for this type of roof.

How Do I Make a Sun Shade Garden?

Shade cloth is made to provide shade to gardens. You can use other materials, such as sheer curtain panels, mosquito netting, or bedsheets to do the same. If you want to make a similar structure, use wooden stakes instead of PVC pipes.