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.

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

Transform a too hot, over-exposed patio or deck into a shady, relaxation zone with this sophisticated DIY sail shade. Just a few thoughtful details can take this project from looking strictly functional to stylishly designed.

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

A small porch becomes a private party space with this imaginative makeover by landscape designer Jamie Durie, who created "pocket gardens" around the perimeter, forming a living wall.

and 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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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

Pergolas provide refuge from the blazing sun and are an attractive permanent addition to any garden space. Installing one doesn't have to break your budget, either. Grab a couple handy friends and make this simple wood pergola, which can be made in just a few days' work.

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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