As summer approaches and the sun continually gets higher in the sky day by day, patio spaces will begin to heat up and bake. Higher temps can make for an uncomfortable experience at any outdoor party or BBQ. There is no need to sweat it, though, because there are many ways to include shade elements within your space to beat the heat. Shade sails, pergolas, or even pavilion-style roof structures can all be custom-designed to fit your needs.

Shade sails first became popular at resort destinations and hotels but made their way into residential landscapes more and more every year. The design concept is based on having at least 3-4 fixed anchor points either on a home’s façade or posts. These connections are usually a galvanized or stainless steel eye anchor bolts. The sail itself is made from decorative, UV resistant, tensioned fabric available in an array of vibrant colors. Multiple sails can be combined and layered to create an architectural parabolic focal point. There are numerous online manufacturers that will design complete kits that even the novice handyman would install.

Pergolas are another way to achieve filtered shade and be constructed from wood, vinyl, composite, or aluminum materials. Three essential elements compose a pergola- vertical posts/columns, support cross-beams/rafters, and ornate purlins. These structures not only provide shade but can be home for flowering woody vines such as wisteria, honeysuckle, trumpet vine, to name a few. Retractable canopy systems are also available for individuals who want the look of a pergola with the option to have complete shade. Sunbrella fabrics are used on sliding tracks mounted between the rafters and can either be operated manually or remotely. These pergolas are the best solutions to appease both the sun worshipper and shade lover alike.

Open-air, pavilion-style, solid roof structures are the ultimate way to create an outdoor shaded room that can be utilized in any weather. As with a pergola, pavilions have vertical posts/columns and can be tied into a home façade or built freestanding. The framed solid roof allows for the incorporation of recessed lighting, fans, audio-visual, not to mention a force field from those burning UV rays. Shade is not the only way these roof structures can provide refuge from the sun. Misters can even be integrated into the soffit overhang to offer added relief. Many construction codes and township setback requirements apply to these, so some pre-design research is recommended.

Your yard can provide sanctuary from the sun with more architectural ways than just the typical patio umbrella. On the next bright day, sit in your space and evaluate sun patterns throughout the day. Make a wish list of your needs for how you would like to increase the use of the area and decide which solution works best.

Stay cool this summer!