5 DIY Ways to Add Shade to Your Deck or Patio

Spend more time enjoying your outdoor spaces this year with these shady solutions you can install yourself.

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Confession: I don’t get enough use out of my deck. I’d love to spend more time out there, but after an hour or so of squinting, sweating and getting sunburnt, I end up going inside. If you, too, are in serious need of some shelter from the sun, I’ve rounded up five affordable projects for varying skill levels. Add these to your to-do list, and spend your spring and summer made in the shade.

Dress Up a Shade Sail

DIY Embellished Sail Shade

DIY Embellished Sail Shade

Photo by: © Rustic White Photography, LLC

© Rustic White Photography, LLC

Installing a shade sail is a low-cost way to create a cooler, comfier outdoor space. We took a basic, store-bought sail and prettied it up with some grosgrain ribbon. Wrap the support posts in sisal rope for a coastal look. 

Hang Curtains

Deck Privacy Curtains 01:05

Add privacy to your deck or patio with colorful freestanding curtains.

Curtains do double duty in an outdoor space, providing both shade and privacy. But what if I don't have anything to hang curtains from, you ask? Using planters and 2x4s, designer Brian Patrick Flynn came up with a clever way to install curtains without making structural changes to a deck. Watch the video above to see how he did it.

Plant a Vertical Garden

Living Privacy Wall

Living Privacy Wall


The Outdoor Room With Jamie Durie

Even if you have a brown thumb, you can create a gorgeous living wall using easy-to-care-for fabric pocket planters. Hang a group of them on a deck or patio, and voila! Your average outdoor space is now a lush, secluded oasis.

Vertical Garden Ideas

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Size Does Matter

Photo By: Image courtesy of Green Over Grey

Living Large

Photo By: Image courtesy of Green Over Gray

Where the Wild Things Are

Photo By: Image courtesy of Green Over Grey

Alternate Reality

Photo By: Image courtesy of Green Over Grey

Organic Facade

Photo By: Image courtesy of Green Over Grey

A Real Living Room

Photo By: Image courtesy of Green Over Grey

You Call This a Garage Wall?

Photo By: Image courtesy of LiveWall, LLC

Petunia Takeover

Photo By: Image courtesy of LiveWall, LLC

Portable Nature

Photo By: Image courtesy of LiveWall, LLC

The Living Fountain

Three-Dimensional Art

Photo By: Image courtesy of BrightGreen

Garden Greetings

Photo By: Image courtesy of BrightGreen

Color Coordination

Photo By: Image courtesy of BrightGreen

Surfboard and Succulents

Photo By: Image courtesy of BrightGreen

What's Hanging in Your Hall?

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ambius, photo by Nick Luypen

Wall Carpet

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ambius, photo by Tom Dickinson and Jay Match

Green Close-up

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ambius, photo by Tom Dickinson and Jay Match

Make a Privacy Screen

Like curtains, a privacy screen can block out light while adding privacy from nosy (or well-meaning) neighbors. Use basic home improvement store materials to make this stylish, herringbone-pattern screen. The secret to the design is laying the boards out at a 22-½ degree angle.

Build a Pergola

Build a Backyard Pergola

Build a Backyard Pergola

If you're an experienced DIYer, you can even pretty up your patio with a pergola — and it doesn't have to break your budget. Grab a of couple handy friends and make this simple wood structure in just a few days.

More Ways to Make Shade

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Shade to Grow On

Romantic Patio

Poolside Pergola

Relax in the Shade

Photo By: Courtesy of Viceroy Hotels and Resorts

Cool Off the Dinner Table

Two Layers of Cool

Natural Shade

Modern Comfort

Anne Heche's Shade Solution

Sliding Panels

Spider Web-Inspired Shade

Modern Canopy

Temporary Shade

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Made for Shade

Your Own Personal Cabana

Photo By: Jamie Durie

Modern Country

Billowing Curtains

Green Roof

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