You can't enjoy a backyard patio or deck if you live in an area that gets lots of hot, uncomfortable summertime sun; being exposed to too much sunlight can even be dangerous for your skin and eyes. That sunlight can even be damaging to your decking material and outdoor furniture!
To make things more comfortable for you and to ensure the longevity of your patio furniture and any plants you have in the area, you'll want to add a shade feature. Since there are so many choices on the market for bringing some shade to your patio or deck, note a few tips you'll want to consider before you start shopping.
How much wind does your area get?
If you live in an area with strong storms and high winds, shade sails may not be the best choice. Even though these sails are very durable, and the poles holding them are meant to be firmly planted in the ground, high winds and strong storms can sometimes make those sails flap around, creating noise and damaging their material. A motorized awning that you can retract during storms can be a better choice in areas with very inclement weather.
If you want maximum control over the sunlight you get in the patio or deck area, consider a slatted pergola roof. These slats can be opened and closed, just like blinds, so you can get direct sunlight or none at all.
A retractable awning can also give you control over the amount of sun you get on the patio or deck area, if you don't have a pergola. Being able to move the awning back and forth allows you to control the shade you get over the deck or patio. Note, too, that an awning offers shade for the windows and doors below it, so if your inside rooms get hot, this can be the best option for cooling the home's interior.
Colour and style
If you want some colour for your outdoor shade feature, a pergola with a roof may seem a bit bland. Shade sails come in a wide variety of colours and sizes, and these can add pops of colour to the backyard space. Awnings are also a good way to add colour and style; you can choose a traditional striped awning, something made of a unique metal such as copper or oil-rubbed bronze, or even an etched-glass awning for visual interest and lots of style.