Bringing Your Home and Garden Into the 21st Century

Exploring Your Options for an Outdoor Shade Feature

A shade feature can help to make your outdoor space much more comfortable than if you had a patio or deck that was completely exposed to the sun. Shade features can also block out a light rain and some wind, so that you can enjoy that outdoor deck or patio even if the weather is not optimal. While each choice of shade feature will have its own pros and cons, there are some important details that you'll want to consider seriously so you make the best choice of shade for your property. Note a few of those details here.


A retractable awning can give you some control over the amount of shade you get on a deck or patio, and the frame of a stationary awning can hold hanging plants or a side curtain. Awnings can also add a pop of colour to the home's exterior walls. However, metal awnings can be difficult to clean, as you may need to scale a ladder and use a brush along their surface, and cloth awnings may need to be taken down and cleaned professionally on a regular basis.  


A pergola consists of a slatted roof that is held up by a frame. This structure can anchor a space, making it more visually striking. A pergola can be built so that the roof slats twist open and closed, like interior blinds, which gives you control over the amount of sun and rain to which you're exposed. The frame can also be used to hang outdoor curtains. While the structure is visually striking, it can also close in the space and block your view of the surrounding area. You may also need a permit to have it erected on your property, and a pergola usually needs professional installation, making it more expensive than other choices.

Shade sails

One advantage of shade sails is that they can be stretched across a larger area than other features. If you have a pool, hot tub or oversized patio or deck area, a set of sails can be the best choice for providing shade for all these areas. They can also provide some colour, or can be a neutral white, or a shade that matches your home's exterior. Many are also very easy to install; if you have a deck with columns, you can usually drill holes for grommets for the sails yourself or attach them to the home's garage or shed so that you don't need to pay for professional installation for the sails.