As much as we love to relax and recharge in our backyards, we should be cautious of our exposure to direct sunlight nowadays. Getting sunburnt is certainly no fun and sometimes it’s simply too hot. So, when you’re designing your backyard oasis, plan a variety of shade spots so you can fully enjoy the benefits of the outdoors despite the relentless sun.
Here are several ideas you can provide natural and artificial shade in your backyard.
Consider buying a patio umbrella
If you need a fast solution, umbrellas are a great investment. They are quick and easy to set up and very adjustable to any space and occasion. They are sold in a range of sizes and shapes so you could choose a simple umbrella that you slip into your patio table hole or you could go for a standalone variety that has a straight pole creating a circular shade around it or an off-set type whose base can be placed further and shade directed more specifically. Just remember that umbrellas only shade a restricted and narrow space, so they’re ideal only if you need protection in a particular spot.
Put up shade sails and awnings
An alternative solution to umbrellas is erecting some shade sails and awnings. With either of these, you can easily create an appealing shade spot in your outdoor living areas. These are essentially stretched pieces of fabric of various colors, shapes and designs and offer protection from the sun over an area they’re placed. These sails are usually triangular and have to be spread between posts whereas awnings are affixed directly to the outdoor wall as a long-term structure. Both solutions can look either very modern or rustic, depending on your choice and can be customized to complement your backyard and blend in with the overall design.
Set up a pergola
If you want to create an entertainment area a bit further away from your home with additional seating, then a pergola is your best choice. It gives you a lot of freedom in design as well. You can decide to build it with extra paneling so you can block out some of the sunlight, or you may go for more natural shading with plants and vines.
Pergolas are fixed structures with an open roof, and they’re very versatile architecturally. Their best feature is that they are quite affordable and can easily be set up as a DIY project. Also, it can be a project that keeps on giving if you decide on planting vines to create natural shade. They are commonly planted at the base and grown so they get entangled around the structure forming a unique canopy of leaves. Evergreen vines are a great option for all-season shade, but you could also consider grapes, wisteria, bougainvillea, or fragrant climbing jasmine varieties to create a wonderful, scented environment for your afternoon soirees.
While different patio umbrellas and fabric covers can effectively block the sun’s rays, rarely anything can beat the natural shade provided by tree canopies. Planting trees is a perfect option for bigger yards where you already have a flourishing garden that surrounds it. Obviously, trees are the most eco-friendly option as well as being inexpensive, but they do take time to grow and you could have to wait a couple of years until you get the amount of shade you desire. Despite that, the end result will be worthwhile.
Ask at your local nursery what fast-growing varieties there are and consider the evergreens as well, as these will produce shade all year round. It’s advisable you consult a landscape designer to get the best of both the plants you select and the outdoor space you have. Also, it may take just one tree under whose canopy you can set up an entire outdoor living room, or you could choose to intendedly plant shade trees around your home that can help you reduce the amount of energy necessary to heat and cool your house.
Plant tall plants and shrubs
For a smaller backyard, planting big trees might not be feasible, but you can still generate natural shading with tall plants and bushes. They may not grow up into big, gorgeous trees, but they’ll still create privacy and offer shade during the day making your stay outdoors much more enjoyable. Surround your small patio with containers holding big-leaved plants. Select several tall variants to give you overhead shade and accompany them with various mid and ground-level vegetation to create more depth and dimension. Furthermore, having your plants in containers means you can rearrange them around your entertainment space however it is convenient for the given time of day or occasion.
Spending time outside is among the most coveted advantages of living in a warm climate so most homeowners look for ways to create an outdoor space that will allow them to spend quality time with family and friends enjoying dinner parties and barbecues in the open air. However, warm weather and plenty of sun also mean you need to ensure there’s enough shade so everyone can find protection from direct sunlight. To this end, we hope the tips listed here can help you design a comfortable, well-shaded oasis for everyone to enjoy.