However much we may crave the sun after the winter months, the sun beating down on your head can make you hot, give you a headache and make you squint. When you are sitting with friends and family outdoors, you want to enjoy the filtered rays of sunshine rather than its full blast. Here are some temporary and permanent solutions.


Umbrellas are the easiest way to add instant shade to your patio or deck. They come in a variety of sizes and colors and can be freestanding or sit in the middle of a table. Freestanding umbrellas that arc over a table or sitting area can provide a larger area of shade so there isn’t one person left out in the heat. Make sure you have a heavy base on your umbrella for security and check the fabric. If you don’t choose a UV protected fabric, your rich red will fade to pink in no time. If you want your umbrella to tilt, make sure the mechanism is easy to operate.


An arbor is a freestanding structure, usually made of wood, that has a trellis on two sides. Arbors look best with climbing plants like wisteria or jasmine cascading over the roof and sides. Many arbors have a built in seat and are frequently part of a gate structure.


The right tree can provide beautiful, dappled shade and become a focal point in your garden. If you are planting a tree, do your research and find out how tall the tree will grow, how wide it will spread and how quickly that will happen. You don’t want to be waiting too many years to enjoy the shade. Nor do you want to plant a tree that will eventually be too large for your property and sheds unwanted seed pods that create work.


Pergolas are freestanding and usually consist of four columns with a roof attached. Pergolas are perfect as a shade structure for outdoor seating and are often built near to the property over a patio. Lattice wood on the roof will filter the sunlight and more shade can be created by adding climbing plants. You can even use drapery on the sides to create an outdoor room . The drapes can prevent powerful sun streaming in and can also make the areas cosier in the cooler months.


Gazebos traditionally have eight sides and a roof and can have open or enclosed sides. Gazebos can be made of wood, metal or glass and usually have a pitched roof that is an attractive feature. Gazebos feel like a separate outdoor room.