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June 15, 2022  |  Patio

How to add more shade in your backyard

Make your outdoor living space shady with these products

Not all yards have towering trees that shade outdoor enthusiasts from the sun. The lack of these natural shade producers can make spending time in the backyard uncomfortable, especially during the middle of the afternoon when the sun is intense. The good news is that there are items that produce shade so you can enjoy your backyard in comfort any time of the day.

Sun facts

Several factors will make you reach for your sunglasses and determine how the sun will affect your backyard. 

Location

Although many backyards in any state could benefit from additional shade, some states get more sunshine than others. Some states that are affected by ocean currents and those that don’t have a lot of moisture for cloud production are at the top of the list. California, Florida, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico are some of the sunniest states in America.

Month

The sun can shine brightly in a backyard any month of the year. However, because people in most regions of the country spend more time in their yards during the summer, June, July, August and September are the months when shade is most needed. 

Time of day

Because the distance that the sun’s rays travel in the afternoon is shorter, they appear brightest between the hours of noon and 4 p.m. 

Ways to add backyard shade

Regardless of the factors that are making your backyard less than desirable when the sun is shining, there are ways you can add shade. The additional shade will make it possible to comfortably spend more time with friends, cook on the grill or simply relax without the sun interfering with your backyard activities. 

Shades and curtains

Shades and outdoor curtains are perfect for adding shade near or on the deck or patio of a backyard. Shades are typically triangular or rectangular, and they are attached to outdoor objects to create shady areas. Additionally, you can place curtains on rods to block out the sun. 

Awnings

Designed to be fixed to the side of a house, awnings are also ideal for shielding decks and patios from the sun. While some models are fixed, many consumers prefer retractable models that can be retracted when not needed. 

Umbrellas

Large outdoor umbrellas are a movable source of shade. They attach to a base and can be used on a deck, a patio or in the middle of a yard. Some models tilt, so they can be adjusted as the sun rises and sets. 

Canopies

Placing a canopy in your backyard is one of the easiest ways to create shade. Often referred to as gazebos or pop-up tents, these shady structures come in many sizes. They can be popped up as needed and folded for storage when not in use. 

Trees

If you want shade from trees, you can always plant them in your yard. However, this will not be a quick fix, as it takes years — if not decades — for a tree to grow tall enough to produce shade. Your best bet is to combine fast-growing trees with another source of shade so you can enjoy a shady yard as your new trees grow. 

Backyard shade FAQ

Q. Are shade canopies durable?  

A. Yes and no. Quality models are made of materials that hold up well to the elements and have strong metal frames that provide stability. Nevertheless, windy conditions can challenge a shade canopy. One way to keep a canopy upright when the wind is blowing is to attach canopy weights, sandbags or other heavy objects to the legs. 

Q. Are shade sails easy to install?

A. The task of installing a shade sail isn’t too challenging. It requires securing hardware and ropes to solid objects for stability as well as stretching out the sail for adequate shade. This can be accomplished by anchoring the hardware to posts or walls on or around a patio or deck. However, some consumers may have to install additional posts or poles for proper installation. 

What you need to buy to add more shade in your backyard

Shade & Beyond Sun Shade Sail Triangle

Shade & Beyond Sun Shade Sail Triangle

This triangle-shaped sun sail is available in several sizes to fit different outdoor shade needs. It’s crafted of durable material that protects against the sun’s UV rays.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Awnings in a Box

Awnings in a Box 6-Foot Manually Retractable Awning

This retractable awning installs in minutes to provide a shady spot on a deck or patio. The durable material resists fading and mildew, and it is available in a choice of stylish colors. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Arlmont & Co

Arlmont & Co. Aniyah Rectangular Market Umbrella

Thanks to its large rectangular design, this outdoor umbrella provides a lot of shade in a yard or on a patio or deck. The simple cranking mechanism makes it easy to open it when shade is needed and close it when the sun goes down. 

Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair

Crown Shades Pop-Up Canopy

Crown Shades Pop-Up Canopy

Setting up this canopy is hassle-free, thanks to the patented center hub lock mechanism that locks the four legs in place with just one push. You won’t have to worry about the sun’s UV rays, as this strong canopy material has an ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF, of 50+.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Hampton Bay Stockton Canopy

Hampton Bay Stockton Pop-Up Canopy with Netting

Not only does this canopy create shade, but it also comes with netting that keeps out pests, such as mosquitoes. It can fit as many as 12 people, so it’s great for backyard entertaining. 

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot


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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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