What’s the Best Way to Shade a Patio?


There’s no denying the appeal of spending time out on your patio communing with nature. The fresh air. The sounds of birdsong. The scent of flowers in bloom. The blinding glare and blistering heat. Okay, being outside isn’t always sunshine and lollypops. Sometimes it’s sunshine and sweating, or sunshine and sunburn. A canopy of trees overhead can help, but while they provide some shade, they also shed pine needles, leaves, and the occasional branch. Squirrels aren’t picky about where they drop their nuts and seeds. And the birds? Let’s just say what they contribute to the experience can be enough to ruin anyone’s outing if it lands in the wrong place. Putting something between you and the sky overhead is a must if you want to spend as much time as possible enjoying your outdoor living area. But determining the best way to shade a patio will depend on how often you use it, your preferred light level, and your budget.

Review Your Options

Nearly every type of shading product can be custom made to provide the right amount of shelter for your needs. And as long as you opt for a quality product and an experienced contractor to install it, you should get years of reliable performance from your investment. That said, each option provides a different level of protection and user experience. Here are some of the most popular outdoor shading upgrades:

Awnings, umbrellas, and solar sails

Fabric shading solutions are among the most affordable options for homeowners who want to shield a small outdoor area. Patio umbrellas are substantial enough to shade a table or lounge chair with ease, but they can be difficult to reposition as the sun moves across the sky. Solar sails are pieces of canvas that can be strung between trees. They’re good for shading hot tubs and outdoor kitchens, but they have to be installed properly or they’ll flap in the wind. Retractable awnings are the most popular of these three and come in a wide variety of fabric colors and styles. But like umbrellas and solar sails, they’re vulnerable to high winds, punctures, and stains.


Also known as lattice covers, traditional pergolas offer partial shade, which makes them better suited for patios with additional shading from trees. These structures are much more substantial than fabric shading options and can withstand higher wind loads. Aluminum pergolas are also rot- and insect-proof, as well as scratch- and impact-resistant, making them extremely low maintenance. With their classic good looks, pergolas elegantly complement just about any home style. And for those who want the flexibility to adjust lighting levels, operable pergolas boast motorized overhead louvers that pivot from vertical to horizontal with just the push of a button. That’s also a big plus during wet weather.

Patio covers

Solid-roof patio covers offer the most substantial coverage. These shade providers are open on three sides, with the roof supported by corner beams. Patio covers come in a wide array of styles and can be upgraded with plenty of optional accessories such as ceiling fans, custom lighting, and retractable screens that lower to create a full enclosure. In addition to solid roofs, patio covers can boast canvas roofs or a canvas/pergola hybrid with raftered trim along the edge. Like pergolas, patio covers need to be anchored on a code-approved foundation. If your patio floor needs upgrading, make sure the contractor you hire can do the foundation work along with the installation.

The Sultans of Shade

If you’re ready to add a shade provider to your patio, the company to turn to in San Diego County, CA, is Pacific Patio. In business for more than three decades, we’re a proud TEMO dealer and offer the company’s entire line of outdoor shading products, including pergolas, patio covers, retractable screen rooms, and more. Reach out to us today and schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our representatives, who will be happy to visit your home to review options, answer all your questions, and provide a free price quote based on your selection. We’re ready to create the shaded sanctuary you’ve been longing for.

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