As the weather gets nicer, you will be doing everything from cooking to hosting parties on your outdoor patio, and keeping your guests cool and shaded will be a priority when the summer sun starts beating down. There are several options you can consider for adding shade to your patio area that won't break your summer budget.
Either free standing or designed to fit on your patio table, umbrellas are a great way to provide extra shade to your patio area without having to spend too much money. The great thing about umbrellas is that they are available in a wide variety of colors, designs, and materials to meet your sense of style and taste.
Attaching an awning to the side of your home may take a bit more effort and cost more than an umbrella, but the relative benefits to your patio and the work the awning can do to help keep your home cooler may pay for itself in saved electricity. There are several choices for awnings. A typical canopy awning will cost around $1200 and the framework of the awning will bolt easily to your deck.
Trees and Plants
Not only does this option add shade but it also enhances the overall landscaped appearance of your yard. When choosing trees and bushes for shade, think about choosing something like a maple tree, whose fast growth will provide shade more quickly. Maples also have denser foliage for better shading than other tree choices. If you need something pest resistent and fast growing, try a lacebark elm tree.
Keep it Green
For the ecologically conscious, solar shades are a great option that can also help cut electricity bills. These shades block heat and keep it from entering your home and are perfect for adding a shady, cool area to your backyard patio, porch, or enclosed deck.
Pergolas and Gazebos
While these structures may seem completely out of reach for your budget, you can add a pergola to your yard - and a wonderful shady spot to your back yard - for around $600. Pergolas are typically constructed of wood or treated metal and create an archway in your yard over which you can grow flowering vines or ivy. They provide great shade as well as interest to your yard.Gazebos tend to be a bit more pricy, sometimes costing thousands of dollars, but are perfect for a romantic setting.
Whatever source of shade you choose, be sure to pay attention to where the sun hits your patio at different times of the day. You may decide a combination of shady devices works best.