How to Create Shade with Outdoor Shading Solutions February 4th, 2020 Tower Before You Buy Having a backyard provides endless family fun and entertaining opportunities. But what good is a backyard without a way to make it comfortable for family and friends to relax and play? There are a number of ways to add shade and curb appeal with outdoor shading solutions. Creating Shade in Your Backyard Creating Shade with Trees Trees and shrubbery are a common way of adding shade to your yard. They add curb appeal and value to a home. Trees and shrubs are also relatively easy to grow and are good for the environment. However, they can provide patchy shade and take a long time to grow. Depending on your climate and the type of trees you plant, they may also not provide year-round protection. They also provide little overhead protection from the sun and rain. Temporary Shade Solutions Temporary shade solutions are another way to add cover to your backyard. These solutions include shade sails, large umbrellas, pop-up tents, and canopies. Temporary structures provide flexible shade protection that can be moved around your yard. Some structures can even be folded up or taken down when not in use. On the other hand, temporary shade solutions are built to move, not to last. This makes them susceptible to being blown over by wind, tearing, and fading in the sun. They are typically anchored to the ground with pegs or held in place by their own weight, which means they can be unstable. Temporary shade structures are also expensive. They are typically designed for short-term rental use, not as a long-term addition to a backyard. Semi-Permanent & Permanent Outdoor Shade Structures If you’re interested in creating shade in your backyard for years to come, you may want to consider a semi-permanent or permanent outdoor shade structure. They may be a large initial investment, but they will last far longer than temporary structures. They also provide immediate shade, unlike trees that take years to grow tall enough to provide adequate shade. They are also portable and can be taken with you when you move if you choose. What Outdoor Shade Option Is Right for You? With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine the right outdoor shading solutions for your yard. Each structure provides a different level of shade and a different purpose within your yard. However, all of the structures can be positioned and oriented to maximize the amount of cover they provide. There are four main structures that can serve as outdoor shading solutions: Gazebos are comprised of a pitched roof surrounded by upright posts. They can be oval, octagon, or dodecagon shaped, and range in size from 8’-50’ in diameter. Gazebos provide the most shade because of their solid, pitched roof and options for railings and screens. Pavilions feature a pitched or flat roof and four or six main posts. They are typically square or rectangular and come in both wood and vinyl options. Pavilions are another great outdoor shading solution because of their solid roofs, but are mostly exposed on their four sides. This means that they allow in slightly more sunlight than gazebos. Pergolas are very similar to pavilions, but they feature a flat, open roof. They are available in both wood and vinyl and come in a variety of styles and designs. Pergolas create less shade because of their open slat roofing, but fabric can be added to the roof for an airy look that still keeps the sun and rain out. Arbors are archways designed to be placed over a pathway. They are traditionally wood, and come in a variety of colors and stains. Arbors offer some shade and protection from the sun. If you opt to grow vines or climbing plants on them, they can provide even more shade for your yard. To learn more about the additional differences between these four structures, check out our blog on arbors, pergolas, gazebos, and pavilions. The Benefits of Shade Structures Extend Outdoor Play Providing shade in your backyard means you can spend more time outside. Without shade, children and pets can be exposed to harmful UV radiation, which can cause sunburn and heatstroke. In addition to lowering overall temperatures, outdoor shade structures keep asphalt and concrete cool in the summer months. Solid roof solutions like gazebos and pavilions can also provide a space for children to play outside even in the rain. Being outdoors gives children the freedom to make noise and get their energy out without being disruptive to the rest of the family. Create Comfort for Guests Adding a shade structure will also help create more opportunities for guests and entertaining. They offer a shady place to sit that is protected from wind and rain. Sudden rain showers will no longer be the end of warm summer nights. With a climate-controlled environment, all guests will be comfortable coming over for dinner, drinks, or simply an afternoon out in the backyard. Keep Your Home Cooler If you opt to place your structure close to your home, you may find that your cooling costs go down! The shadows that your structure casts can create additional shade in your yard or garden. Some people even strategically place their structure near a sunroom or other minimally-insulated room to help keep it cool in the summer. Build a Haven for Plants and Local Wildlife Adding a shady spot in your backyard is the perfect way to attract wildlife. From birds to bunnies, many types of local wildlife enjoy a shady spot to cool down and rest in the summer. A shade structure installed near bushes or trees will be especially tempting to animals. You can also use your new-found shade to create a shade garden. There are a number of plants that thrive in shade and will wilt if given too much sun. Vegetable gardens full of tomatoes and peppers also thrive in partial shade, as they will become scorched in direct sunlight. Picking Out Your Perfect Shade Solution If you’ve decided it’s time to add a shade solution to your yard, you probably have a lot of questions. Which material is best? Which structures go best with the style of my home? How can I maximize the amount of shade it provides? Our experts are happy to answer any questions you may have so you can find the perfect outdoor shading solutions for your family. Ready to start shopping? Take a look at our wide selection of gazebos, pavilions, pergolas, and garden arbors to get started!