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How to Create More Shade in a Small Backyard

How to Create More Shade in a Small Backyard

Turn your dull, drab backyard into an enchanting scene for a romantic getaway or pivotal solo time outs using simple shade ideas. These shades can serve both functional and aesthetic purposes, helping you get more bang out of your time under the sun while also enhancing your exterior flair. The best part is that they’re all low-budget, easy, DIY home improvements. You can easily experiment with any of them to find what suits you best and to also break away from boredom now and again.


With its semi-open design, a pergola (Sojag from ShelterLogic) is a multifunctional design element that can double as a shed as well as a hanging stand for a variety of items from garden tools, work tools, sporting equipment, and even flower and fauna. If you want total privacy, you can block out all the openings with curtains, cotton canvas tarps, or sunblock shades. Alternatively, you can opt for an arbor, which is more like a pergola fused with a trellis to create more hanging space from where plants like vines can drape down to provide extra shades.

 How to Create More Shade in a Small Backyard

Outdoor Curtains

Another chic, low-budget way to expand your backyard’s shade is by hanging curtains around any existing roofed structures in your backyard, from your patio to gazebos or pavilions. Besides being easy and inexpensive, curtains are also highly convenient because you can easily fold and spread them depending on the amount of sunlight you want to let in. You can use inexpensive materials for the curtains, from cheap fabrics to cotton canvas and even shower curtains.


Another highly convenient shade option, an awning can spruce up your backyard while also giving you greater control over the inflow of sunlight with its retractable design. Note that only the fabric awnings are retractable and they also sport some of the most beautiful designs. The solid metal awnings, which are usually made with aluminum, are stationary. Towering over a firmly fixed position, solid metal awnings better suited to harsh weather and permanent use. 

Fast-Growing Trees

While this is one of the cheapest means of adding more shade to your background, it also takes much longer to materialize compared to most other means. Nonetheless, the sheer elegance of a towering canopy tree can significantly enhance the charm – and ultimately the overall value – of your home. If you’re wary of sprawling tree roots that can put pressure on your sewer pipes and obstruct your gutters, you can opt for shrubs and vines grown on latticework screens, which means fewer maintenance requirements. 

Hang Greenery

Alternatively, you can cultivate orchards and greenery that can be trained to grow on free-standing structures like pergolas, arbors, pavilions, and cabanas. Vining plants like bougainvillea and ivy, as well as berries like blackberries are ideal for this shade option. But be careful not to overdo it, though. Rather than overrun your backyard with verdure, try using this method as a secondary alternative to complement other shades while also adding in a vibrant touch of nature. 

 How to Create More Shade in a Small Backyard


There are many different types of shades, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages. For greater control over the influx of sunlight, choose self-retractable shades or manual rollup shades. They’re quite easy to set up and maintain. Stationery options like shade sails offer greater protection against the elements compared to retractable shades. Shade sails are elegant, triangular sails that you can easily mount over your patio, pavilion, and other outdoor areas. 


For a more upscale flair, you can opt for modern cabanas that imbue your backyard with the vibes of a beachside. Cabanas are typically just about any type of overhead structure with an opening that faces the water body. They’re popularly used as changing rooms for swimming pools and beaches, often covered with a curtain on one of the three sides. With a sprawling roof and flurry curtains, cabanas can help you enhance your backyard’s shade in luxurious style.

Want more tenable ideas for improving the functionality of your backyard and other spaces around your home? Click here to learn about the best home improvement tips you can quickly implement today.