Your patio should be a place where you can relax, feel at-ease, and sip a cocktail or a cup of tea while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. On hot summer days, the warm rays of sun can put a hitch in these plans. Thankfully, there are several ways to cast some nice, cool shade on your new patio. Here's a look.
If you want to let the sun shine down sometimes, like during the spring or fall when temperatures are cooler, a retractable awning may be a good choice. The awning folds up against the house when you don't need it, and stretches out over your patio when you turn a crank or pull on a special pulley system. Retractable awnings are also rather inexpensive, so if yours becomes damaged, you can replace it pretty easily. However, they do typically need to be installed by a professional to ensure even opening and closing.
Solid Aluminum Awnings
In areas where high winds may catch a retractable awning, a permanent aluminum awning may be a better choice. These awnings can be anchored into the ground just to the outside of your patio. This gives them some stability in storms and high winds. One downfall to permanent awnings is that they tend to be more expensive than the other options on this list. They also permanently shade your patio; you can't just take the awning down to enjoy the sun.
If you find yourself craving some shade while others sharing your patio crave sunshine, a patio umbrella or two may be all you need. You can find versions that insert into the floor of your patio, and there are also styles that mount into tables. Patio covers are inexpensive, don't require professional installation, and come in fun colors to add drama to your backyard. Their downfall is that you'll need to find somewhere to store them when they're not in use.
A Shade Tree
Is maintaining a natural look one of your priorities? Perhaps planting a shade tree next to your patio is all you need. Willow trees, lilac bushes, and poplars all grow rather quickly, so you'll have a shady area in a few short years. Plus, a shade tree will add a lot of beauty to your yard. Keep in mind that as the sun moves across the sky during the day, there may be hours when the tree casts shade and others when it does not.