When you invest in your outdoor living space, there’s a push and pull between the amount of sun and shade you’re willing to tolerate and expect to experience. The sun’s warmth can be relaxing, but the sun’s rays are too bright and skin damaging during the height of outdoor activities. Smart landscape designs provide you flexibility by incorporating areas of shade, for breaks from the sun and for maximizing your outdoor living time.
Permanent shade structures add romance and elegance to landscape designs.
Gazeboes generally feature a permanent covered seating area that encourages lingering. Usually octagonal, this distinctive structure provides shade and rain protection. It can be enhanced with trellises, curtains, or rolling shades for more shade and privacy than the roof overhead. Style options abound to showcase your design personality, such as a timber-framed gazebo built over old-world style Copthorne pavers from Unilock in a timeless herringbone pattern.
A pergola defines an outdoor space while providing protection from the sun. Its open roof consists of parallel, crisscrossed, or latticed wood slats that provide partial shade and visual interest. While a traditional pergola doesn’t provide rain protection, it is possible to add a clear roof that doesn’t detract from its aesthetic appeal. Pergolas complement many architectural styles and offer ample opportunity for creative ways to further enhance shade, including curtains, rolling shades, or trellises. Pergolas offer a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor living, and can be used to shelter a built-in outdoor kitchen and seating areas.
This beautiful kitchen features the antiqued weathered look of Unilock patio pavers shaded by a stately pergola and dramatic light fixtures.
A cabana tends to be built near water such as by a pool, hot tub, or beach, and offers protection from the elements as well as privacy and panache. The walls can be made of curtains or Scandinavian-style wood slats, which pair beautifully with columns constructed with Rivercrest Wall from Unilock.
4. Permanent Patio Roof
An existing patio can be updated with new beautiful pavers and modified as an outdoor room if a permanent roof is added overhead. The new covering will ease the transition from indoors and outdoors. A basic roof design can be enhanced with curtains, rolling shades, trellises, or slat walls for flexible shade options and privacy.
A patio roof shades a family enjoying their Beacon Hill flagstone patio, a common Unilock favorite because of its timeless beauty, slip-resistant textured surface, and exceptional durability.
5. Evergreen Shade Trees
Evergreen or coniferous shade trees offer cover from the blaring sun all year, as well as natural beauty and privacy. These trees are an eco-friendly solution that exudes a sense of permanence and maturity despite their newness. Evergreen trees also provide a measure of privacy and can act as windbreaks. Removal of needles, nuts, or other debris is simplified if the ground surrounding the trees is covered with a low-maintenance material such as Umbriano pavers from Unilock.
For sun protection only during the hot summer months, opt for seasonal shade solutions.
1. Deciduous Shade Trees
Deciduous (leafy) trees provide seasonal shade and natural beauty, and can significantly lower cooling bills in the summer. Many deciduous trees bloom in springtime, which adds to their allure, and invite songbirds to the yard. And, of course, there’s no better place to hang a hammock than between two shady trees. Pavers such as Unilock Brussels Block placed around the trees add options for setting up more seating options and dining under the leafy canopy.
2. Shade Sails
Shade sails are large pieces of heavy–duty fabric stretched between posts or structures to add shade with a modern flair. They can be triangular, square, or rectangular, and come in several colors to complement your design aesthetic. Shade sails can be configured in pairs or groups to provide greater coverage for patios or decks. Consider the many beautiful paver options from Unilock for this shade choice.
A pavilion is a permanent style of canopy shelter recognized for its peaked top and corner posts. It could be a freestanding structure while being attached to a level surface such as Unilock patio pavers to give shade to a dining area. Or it could be attached to your house for a shady spot on leisurely afternoons, spent under the pavilion’s soft, diffused light.
Trellises are constructed from an open framework or lattice of wood, bamboo, or metal, and used to support climbing plants. While trellises don’t offer shade from overhead sun, they are a wonderful addition to structures for creating shade and privacy. They make it so beer aficionados can grow hops and wine lovers can grow grapes, plus there are many other options for planting fragrant flowering plants such as roses, clematis, bougainvillea, or trumpet vine. Ivy is another possibility for a traditional and elegant look. A trellis would add vertical dimension to a walkway made of pavers that show off their beauty when the sun shines brightest.
A pergola with trellised sides and artfully placed Thornbury pavers offer a sneak peek into a secret hidden garden and patio beyond.
5. Retractable Awnings
Awnings are retractable sheets of canvas stretched across a frame and attached to a structure (typically the house) to provide sun and rain protection. While these are permanently installed, awnings are easily rolled up when not in use. A variety of sizes give homeowners many options for the amount of shade desired, and even the plainest awning can be enhanced by the addition of trellises along the sides and front. Treo Premier pavers from Unilock could be an appropriate choice for a small space covered by an awning.
Temporary shade solutions let you enjoy the great outdoors even in the blazing sun, whether you want to have an impromptu lunch or an afternoon spent reading a book outdoors.
1. Patio Umbrellas
Patio umbrellas are a quick and easy way to add temporary shade to a limited area. They come stand-alone for greater flexibility of use, or as part of a patio table for sun and rain protection. Stand-alone umbrellas may feature a straight center pole or an offset pole for easier placement.
2. Patio Curtains
Patio curtains are an elegant shade solution to any existing structure such as a pergola, gazebo, or cabana. Light-colored curtains diffuse sunlight for a soft, intimate atmosphere. Bohemian-style tapestries, rustic blankets, or any other type of fabric could likewise add personal flair, as could the more brightly colored pavers in the Unilock collection.
This stunning patio features an enclosed hot tub pavilion with privacy curtains, Unilock pavers in a welcoming Sahara tone, and an intimate alfresco dining area.
3. Rolling Shades
Rolling shades are made from bamboo, wood, or fabric to complement any architectural style and let you choose how much light and air you want to block. They offer privacy as well as shade, and because they roll up, they store neatly out of the way when not in use.
Great landscapes begin with thoughtful attention to both functionality and beauty. For many homeowners, areas of shade are a must. Visit a Unilock Outdoor Idea Center to view our products out in the open, and see how our beautiful pavers and walls will look in the shade and the sun. We can also connect you with one of our vetted Unilock Authorized Contractors to explore ideas on how to add shade to your outdoor living spaces.