15 Cheap Shade Ideas For Backyard And Patio

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Is the scorching sun keeping you from spending much time outdoors? Discover the art of shading your backyard and patio without breaking the bank in this post. Shades are essential for enjoying the outdoors, especially during the scorching summer days.

Installing shades will not only shield your outdoor spaces from the hot sun but also add privacy to these areas and help make them more functional and comfortable.

Whether you want a portable shade that you can easily move around or permanent outdoor shade structures, there are many options curated to suit every need and style. Find the shade solutions perfect for your backyard and patio below.

Cheap Shade Ideas For Backyard And Patio

Cheap Shade Ideas For Backyard And Patio

1. Use Trees To Your Advantage

Cheap Shade Ideas For Backyard And Patio

Are you carving out a new space in your backyard to relax and even entertain guests? Make use of the tall trees in your property to shade this area.

Tuck patio furniture under the canopy of trees or construct a deck around it. You can even install a hammock or swing between sturdy tree branches to create a cozy, shaded spot for relaxing.

What if there are no tall trees in your backyard? Well, you can plant them. This won’t be a quick-fix solution, but once they become large enough, the trees will shade a considerable portion of your backyard and regulate temperatures outdoors.

Read More: 12 Small Trees With Non-Invasive Roots

Plant deciduous trees like maple, oak, birch, and ash for ample summer shade.

2. Build A Pergola

diy backyard shade ideas


Unleash your creativity and shade your backyard by building a pergola. Use affordable materials like pressure-treated lumber, PVC pipe, pallets, or reclaimed wood, and keep the design simple and streamlined to make this project cost-effective.

For example, a simple square or rectangular shape with clean lines and minimal embellishments is easy to execute. On the flip side, intricate details, decorative trim, or ornate carvings are more complex and labor-intensive and can drive up the cost.

Drape fabric over your pergola to block the sun’s rays and keep the space cool and secluded. Also, consider accessorizing it with string lights, lanterns, or outdoor rugs to make it more ambient.

3. Upcycle An Old Sail

Cheap shade ideas for backyard and patio on a budget

Do you have a retired sail from your boat or found one at a thrift shop? You could repurpose it into a shade canopy for your backyard. Attach it to structures such as fences, pergolas, or poles using ropes, hooks, or grommets.

Alternatively, use cables or tension rods to suspend it between sturdy posts or anchor points. Sail shades are easily customizable. For instance, you can adjust the sail’s height and angle for better coverage and optimal comfort.

Furthermore, arranging overlapping the sail creates dynamic patterns and configurations, elevating its visual impact.

Read more: Cheap Backyard Privacy Ideas 

4. Install Aluminum Panels

Aluminum panels can shade backyard structures like the patio, outdoor kitchen and dining spaces, kid’s play area, seating areas, and even the swimming pool. They also embody a modern and sleek aesthetic.

Look no further if you prioritize longevity and durability. Aluminum panels can withstand weather elements for many years. Pair aluminum panels with metal or wooden posts for a modern, industrial look, and showcase your personality by picking your preferred shapes and colors.

5. Hang Outdoor Curtains

shade ideas for backyard

The sun doesn’t always shine down. Plenty of light can stream into your patio from the sides. Fortunately, with outdoor curtains, you can cover up your patio whenever you want and comfortably spend time outdoors, even when hot.

Outdoor curtains don’t just block sunlight; they also add privacy and style to your patio. Pick curtains with the colors you like and accessorize the space with tiebacks after hanging the curtains.

6. Set Up Attractive Outdoor Umbrellas

Cheap Shade Ideas For Backyard And Patio

This option brings us to the basics of shading. Patio umbrellas provide the fastest, easiest, and budget-friendly ways of shading your outdoor living spaces. Pop up your umbrellas when hosting a barbecue, lounging with a book, or enjoying drinks under the sun.

Invest in durable, weather-resistant patio umbrellas in your desired colors, sizes, and shapes. I suggest putting up multiple umbrellas to get sufficient coverage.

7. DIY Tent Canopy

DIY Tent Canopy backyard 

If you’re feeling crafty, make a tent canopy using inexpensive materials like PVC pipes, connectors, and a durable canopy fabric. Alternatively, buy a budget-friendly pop-up canopy tent and erect it in your backyard to shade specific areas.

You can also opt for a lightweight, portable, and often more affordable beach tent. Personalize the tent with inexpensive fabric, curtains, or even shower curtains for privacy.

8. Install an Awning

Permanent outdoor shade structures

Think about an awning. What springs to mind? For me, it’s the edge that hangs off camp trailers, restaurants, pubs, and boutiques. Yes, they are popular in these areas for outdoor seating, but you can bring this stylish, practical shading material to your home.

It will provide shade, shelter, and aesthetic appeal to your patio, deck, or backyard. You can install a retractable, stationary, and motorized awning.

9. A Straw Thatched Roof

Inexpensive patio shade ideas

Ditch the conventional shade options for straw to create a unique roof that evokes rustic charm and makes your outdoor living spots feel like you’re on vacation every time you spend time in the structure. A thatched roof provides natural insulation and ventilation and adds character and authenticity to spaces.

After installing this roof, schedule regular maintenance to make it last longer.

10. Train Climbing Plants

shade ideas for patio

Shade outdoor seating areas like pergola by training climbing plants like wisteria, clematis, ivy, and climbing roses to grow over them. Pick fast-growing and hardy climbers for your local climate.

As the climbing plants mature, you can sit back and relax beneath their leafy canopy. Apart from the shade, these plants will beautify the area with their foliage and blooms.

11. Shade A Hammock With A Tarp

Temporary outdoor shade

Lounging in the hammock is incredibly soothing, comfortable, and generally enjoyable, but not when the sun is too hot. There’s an easy solution for this, though. Why not shade your hammock with a tarp? It is cheap, practical, and easy to install.  

Pick a tarp that matches your hammock’s dimensions and offers sufficient coverage. In addition, ensure it is lightweight, waterproof, and suitable for outdoor use.

12. Install a Reed Shade

Cheap shade ideas for backyard and patio diy

A reed mat comes in handy if your pergola or other outdoor spaces do not provide sufficient shelter from the sun. Construct this shade using high-quality mats made from natural reeds such as bamboo, willow, or straw.

Bamboo is an excellent choice because it has various grain and color variations. With this material, you can choose a style that suits your outdoor décor style, whether natural bamboo’s light, airy feel or stained bamboo’s rich, earthy tones.

Use wooden or metal poles/posts anchored securely into the ground as support structures if you don’t have some in place. Consider decorating the space to elevate it.

You can also install a reed shade on the sides for added protection and privacy. Simply raise or lower the shade to adjust light and privacy options.

13. Outdoor Daybed with Canopy

inexpensive patio shade ideas

Picture this: an afternoon nap on an outdoor daybed as you soak up the sunshine on a lazy day. An outdoor daybed provides a luxurious retreat for enjoying the great outdoors. Elevate this space and make it more comfortable by sheltering it with a canopy.

It will protect you from harmful UV rays and help prevent sunburns, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors comfortably, even on hot and sunny days.

You can cover this space with canvas; it offers excellent protection from the sun and you can treat it to be water resistant. This material is easily customizable since it’s available in many weights and colors.

14. Utilize The Balcony

Permanent outdoor shade structures

Make the most of your balcony by hanging a porch swing, a hanging egg chair, a hammock swing, or arranging lounging seats under it. You will not only create a cozy, shaded spot but also a budget-friendly and charming spot. This idea helps you maximize the space and uses the balcony as the shade.

Hang your swing from the balcony above using heavy-duty hardware to ensure it stays secure. Before using your swing long term, sit in it and gently rock back and forth to gauge its stability and balance.

Also, add some color to the area by placing potted plants or hanging baskets around the perimeter.

15. Extend The Roof Line

Is your patio attached to your house? If possible, extend the roof to cover it. This seamless extension offers protection from the sun and improves the aesthetics.

Use materials such as asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or polycarbonate panels, as they provide cost-effective options for extending the roofline without compromising quality or longevity. Paint or stain the extension to match your house’s exterior, or use a contrasting color for visual interest.

In addition, install gutters and downspouts to manage runoff. Furthermore, consider adding outdoor lighting, ceiling fans, or decorative elements to make the space more comfortable and inviting.

Final Remarks

Get extra cooking, napping, drinking, reading, barbecuing, and playing hours outdoors with a shaded backyard or patio. The above shade ideas provide an opportunity to escape the sun and other elements while outdoors without resorting to expensive, complex designs. There’s something for you on this list to keep you cool and comfortable all summer long, whether you prefer simple DIY projects or sourcing cheap solutions.

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