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Hanging out on your patio soaking up some warm sunshine is delightful, but sometimes that Illinois sunshine can get pretty intense. Having shade options for your patio means you can still enjoy beautiful summer weather, without burning yourself to a crisp. 

A little shade goes a long way to making your outdoor space more comfortable. Having shade on your patio that also shades the windows and doors into your home will keep the sun from beating through those windows and turning your home into a sauna. Shade can help regulate your heating and cooling costs. 

There are many ways to add shade to your patio; here are just a few of our favorite ideas. 


Patio Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas are one of the easiest and fastest ways to add shade to your patio space. Many patio furniture sets even come with an umbrella. There are also many other styles available, including cantilever umbrellas, that allow you to tuck the umbrella post in a corner, and still use all the space directly under the umbrella. 

The downside of patio umbrellas is that they don’t stand up to wind very well, so if there’s more than a gentle breeze, you may need to close it up. 




Shade Sails

Shade sails are another fairly easy option, and they’re usually more resilient in a bit of wind. They are often a triangular shape, and you’ll need posts or anchors on the walls of your home to attach them to. They are quite modern looking and come in a variety of colors and sizes.

The downside to shade sails is that you can’t really move them around; once you’ve mounted them, that’s where they stay.





Pavilions, also frequently called gazebos, are a popular option for adding shade to your patio. They’re tougher than umbrellas and sails, and while they’re definitely a more permanent structure, you can still move them if you like. 

One of the bonuses of pavilions is that in addition to the cloth covering over the roof frame, many also come with curtains on all sides. The curtains allow you to have shade even when the sun is low in the sky in the morning or evening. 

Most pavilions available to purchase are similar in style, with a metal and plastic frame. They’re usually a pretty classic design that will suit most landscaping styles. But, you don’t have to go with a pre-fab pavilion. You can have one built, or build your own, to match the style of your home and yard.





Pergolas are a fully permanent structure. They’re often built of beautiful wood beams and feature an open roof structure. Many also have walls on one or two sides for privacy and wind protection. They are a beautiful addition to any yard. On their own, pergolas only break up sunlight a bit, but they can be customized to your needs.

You can add curtains or blinds to create morning and afternoon shade, you could add a custom fabric cover for the roof that can be pushed back when you want more sun, or you can grow plants over them for living shade.

The only real downside to pergolas is that they do require a bit of extra customization to give you shade. But, there are so many different options, styles, and plans available that you can build a pergola on almost any budget.




Living Shade

Adding trees and plants to your yard is one of the best options. Shade trees add value to your home, provide you with shade, and support important biodiversity and habitats for local birds and wildlife. 

Maple trees are one of the most beautiful shade trees you can add to your yard. Red maples like Autumn Blaze, Red Sunset, and October Glory are native to North America and hardy for our region. They grow fast and will provide you with beautiful shade for many years to come. 

You can also create shade with many other types of plants. Climbing plants like clematis, wisteria, passionflower, honeysuckle, and Virginia creeper, will provide refreshing shade, and beautiful flowers for part of the summer. 


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Ready to add some shade to your backyard, so you can enjoy your outdoor space without frying? Stop by our garden center and check out some of the different shade structures in our park-like garden center, to decide what would work best for your patio.


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