In: Home Improvement

The end of June is fast approaching and we’re feeling the heat. While fans are flying off the shelves for indoors (for those that don’t live in BC, Air Conditioning is not a common thing!), we wanted to take the time to recommend some of our favourite ways to keep you cool this summer while you’re outdoors. Because, taking the direct sun out of the equation can make the world of difference.

The below are our top 4 most commonly viewed shade options for backyards and patios alike. By listing out the Pros and Cons of each, we hope to help you make the best decision for your home this summer. But please note, that the possibilities are not limited to this list!


A pergola is an outdoor garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained.


– Easy to build

– Relatively inexpensive

– Defines the space in your yard

– Adds value to your home

– Can be built with a variety of materials and in many different styles



– Not as much shade as a gazebo

– No floor

– No insect protection

– Not durable in extreme weather



Gazebos are freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides. They provide shade, shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest.


– Adds value to your home

– Can be built with a variety of materials and in many different styles

– Offers shade and protection from weather

– Optional screens to keep out insects

– Has both a floor and roof

– Can upgrade to have electricity and other accessories



– The most expensive option

– Much more difficult to build

– Uses more yard space


Retractable Awning

An awning is a secondary covering attached to the exterior wall of a building. It is typically composed of canvas woven of acrylic, cotton or polyester yarn, or vinyl laminated to polyester fabric that is stretched tightly over a light retractable structure of aluminium, iron or steel.


– Relatively inexpensive

– Easy to install

– No poles or post supports makes them safe for children and pets

– You can open or roll up retractable awnings during inclement weather

– Retractable awnings can be either electrical or manually operated

– You can get these awning’s in a motorized option with a remote control



– Heavy winds can cause damage if not retracted

– If the awning has an electric sensor, it will need constant replacement

– Though the fabric of retractable awnings has weather coating, it could still develop a leak

– If not cleaned properly, they are prone to mold and mildew



An umbrella is a folding canopy supported by wooden or metal ribs, which is usually mounted on a wooden, metal, or plastic pole. It is designed to protect a person against rain or sunlight. The term umbrella is traditionally used when protecting oneself from rain, with parasol used when protecting oneself from sunlight, though the terms continue to be used interchangeably.


– Very affordable

– Withstands weather with little fading

– A large selection of color and design

– Water-repellent

– Mold and mildew resistant

– Provide up to 98% UV-protection

– Excellent for very frequent use as they are easily movable



– Provides only a small portion of shade

– Can easily be damaged by high winds

– They have to be manually opened

– They require vertical poles which can get in the way of free motion


Regardless of what you choose, you can never go wrong with a little shade in the summer! You can live comfortably outdoors when inside is just too much and also add a unique design element to your home.  And because we love Pinterest so much, here are a few more examples of shade options to keep you cool this summer.