Warmer temperatures inspire more time spent outside in your backyard. Make sure this area of your residence is soothing and shaded to help you and your guests stay cool this season.
One of the most cost-effective ways to add shade to your backyard is to invest in a weather-resistant outdoor umbrella, as recommended by This Old House contributor Elizabeth Lilly. If you have a dining table on a deck or patio in your backyard, pick one that’s the width of the table plus an extra two feet per side, as professional landscaper John D’Urso advised in a Houzz.com article. An umbrella composed of Sunbrella fabric will deliver the best durability to the elements, according to D’Urso.
Besides table umbrellas, free-standing umbrellas are another route to pursue, especially if your goal is to shade a non-dining area.
If you have a stone, brick or wood patio, constructing a pergola will provide partial shade. Per DoItYourself.com contributor Sarah Stapley, the wood lattice roof of the shelter is fairly simple to build. Make sure to cement the main posts in the ground to ensure the structure holds up to severe weather.
For a denser covering, train a climbing vine to grow over the sides and roof of the pergola. Lisa Hallett Taylor, contributor with The Spruce, suggests using wisteria, clematis, climbing roses, bougainvillea, trumpet vine or Cape honeysuckle.
If you prefer a more contemporary style of covering, This Old House contributor Kevin O’Connor recommends shade sails, a current trend. These angular pieces of fabric are usually suspended from rope or chains and fastened to steel poles via lag screws and carriage bolts. The poles are then anchored into the ground. Heavy-duty fabric such as Sunblock Shade Cloth will help block UV rays while increasing the sail’s durability in a variety of weather conditions. Place the shade sail over a patio or deck, or in another region of your backyard that gets a lot of sunlight.
Add fast-growing plants
Another simple solution to impart more shade is to plant fast-growing shrubs and/or trees. Stapley recommends cottonwood, red maple and Dawn redwood for trees. As bushes, Monrovia.com contributor Kate Karam recommends hydrangea, neon flash spirea and grace smoke tree. Check which growing zone your address is located in when deciding which plants to invest in, since the suggested ones may not be suited to your particular zone.
If you have a pergola, tie a white bedsheet to the top of it, as depicted on the DIY Network. You can also build your own simple shade, using eight-foot bamboo poles, PVC pipe, cement-filled planters and three yards of outdoor fabric, as illustrated on Allyou.com. The website provides a full list of needed materials as well as step-by-step instructions.
Add furniture and accessories
Once you’ve implemented one of these methods and planted some shade-imparting greenery to your backyard, it’s time to add furniture and accessories. Add some wicker chaise lounge chairs or a couple of smaller cushioned chairs to your sheltered retreat. You can also select a wicker sectional couch with terracotta orange-hued cushions and paisley accent pillows, with a wicker coffee table, as depicted on HomeDepot.com. Besides seating areas, small details like adding a plug-in table-top waterfall or a bird bath fountain kit like the ones available on TheBirdHousechick.com.
Implement any of these suggestions to enhance the shade of your backyard so you can get the most pleasure from your property.