How to Create Shade In Your Backyard

It may be hard to believe, as we continue to face grey days, but spring and summer are just around the corner and you’ll be spending more time enjoying your backyard soon enough. If you’ve suffered in past summers with intense heat and unrelenting sun, you might be looking for ways to create shade to your backyard.

Hanging an awning over your deck or patio seems like an easy solution, but there are multiple drawbacks.

  • The wet, heavy snow and strong winds of winter can put major wear and tear on your awning.
  • Continuous exposure to sunlight will also cause the material to weaken and fray over time.
  • Thick canvas material covering your seating/entertaining area can limit airflow and cool breeze.
  • Retractable awnings are an option but they can be expensive.

Instead, we recommend another backyard shade solution… the pergola!

What is a Pergola?


A pergola is a simple outdoor structure designed with four posts that support a roof that’s built from wide rafters that run in one direction and thin purlins that run in the opposite direction. The rafters and purlins are positioned in a way that they redirect the sun’s rays and create shade below. Pergolas are not designed to completely block the sun as an overhead awning would, but they provide relief from direct sunlight while allowing breezes to circulate freely.

Not only are they an easy way to instantly provide shade, if you don’t have a patio or deck in your backyard, they also help to create a defined entertaining or gathering space and offer privacy.

Adding a Pergola to your backyard gives you:

  • Multiple levels of shade
  • An attractive space for gathering with friends and family
  • The ability to grow climbing plants and decorative vines along the lattice and roof
  • Increased overall value to your home

Amp Up Your Pergola to Add Even More Shade

Lattice Canopy

A simple pergola design will do wonders for creating a shady space. But, you can customize your pergola design to maximize the shade in your backyard entertaining area.

A lattice roof design, where the purlins run horizontally and vertically and create a tight grid, let less sunshine through. This is a simple design choice that provides increased shade.

2. Add a Canopy or Curtain

Increase not only your shade but also your privacy by adding a retractable canopy or side curtain. They can slide into place when it’s necessary and retract easily when it’s not.

3. Climbing Plants

When you plant climbing vines and plants around the base of your pergola, they will attach and grow around the posts and along the roof. The good news is that most climbing plants are quick growers, so you won’t need to wait for years to see the beautiful effects. A few climbing plants to try, include:

  • Clematis
  • Golden Trumpet
  • Morning Glory
  • Wisteria

Find A Pergola for Your Backyard

Check out our gallery of wooden and vinyl pergolas for inspiration to add shade to your backyard!

10’ x 12’ Artisan Style White Vinyl Amish Pergola With 8”x8” Square Posts