3 Ideas for Outdoor Shade

There is no sense going another summer in the heat. Here are some outdoor shade ideas to help keep your patio space and other areas around your home cool.

Light comes through pergola pattern


A pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of columns that support some type of roofing grid of beams. The design and construction of these structures can be customized to give you part shade – close to full shade. Pergolas typically made of wood (usually cedar) but can also be PVC or fiberglass. These are great for defining an outdoor sitting area and providing it with just the right amount of shade. It is common to have a climbing vine such as wisteria grow up and over a pergola. We have also been using panels with decorative “cut outs” in them on top of a pergolas. These panels allow light to pass through the cut outs creating beautiful artistic patterns below.

Backyard shade sailsShade sail

A shade sail is a cloth structure that is installed to provide shade. They are typically fastened to tall permanent ridged structures in a way that they will block direct sunlight.  Shade sails are inexpensive to buy and usually not very difficult to install. Shade sails need to be installed in a location that will affectively screen the sun during the correct time of day. The material of the sails will allow some light through but no direct rays. One or more posts may need to be installed to provide a place to attach the corners of the sails. Shade sails are typically triangular or rectangular and come in a variety of colors.

Shade trees

Backyard shade treeFor me, a well-placed tree is the best shade solution. You may have to wait a few years to get just the right amount of shade you want, but it will be well worth it. Shade trees have multiple layers of leaves, perfectly designed to block just the right amount of sun while allow a cooling breeze through. Trees can also be positioned to shade you house. This will not only cool things of but also naturally reduce your energy bills.  Tree selection and location are important. You want a tree that will get large enough to do the job without outgrowing its space. Also, be sure to choose a tree that is not prone to pests. Sugar maples, zelkovas, and tulip trees can be nice shade trees depending on the location. Try to resist the urge to plant a tree that is very fast growing. Fast growing trees can have weak branches and can be susceptible to storm damage.  Good soil, proper watering and fertilizations will keep your shade tree growing at a steady pace.


Choosing the right shade for your landscape can be a tricky decision. If you need a hand with design, reach out out to Eichenlaub!

Contact us at:  contact@eichenlaub.com  412.767.4769