Twelve Ways to Add Some Shade to Your Garden

When summer’s in full swing, you might suddenly realize that your entire garden is baking in the hot sun – a lot of people forget how important a proper shaded area can be until it’s too late. With some help from Olive Grove, we’ve put together this list of twelve ways to add some shade to your garden.



  1. Umbrella

The humble umbrella can be much more useful than its appearance suggests, since most are portable and can be used in both good and bad weather. Whether it’s on a patio, in the grass or attached to a table, a decently-sized umbrella can provide shelter and shade directly beneath it.


  1. Shade Sail

Easy to buy and easy to make, a shade sail is basically just a stretched-out “sail” that blocks light without adding a heavy shadow. Whether you buy or build, they’re easy to install and easy to customize, so it’s not hard to create a set that are specific to your garden’s needs and shape.


  1. Gazebo

A gazebo can be a bit pricey to set up, but it’s one of the most effective ways to shelter yourself aside from going back into the house – they can even be used to have barbeques in the pouring rain if the weather suddenly turns bad. Since they use thick roofing that doesn’t let light through, it’ll help you cool down on even the hottest days.


  1. Retractable Canopy

Having a canopy that you can retract and extend at will is a good way to add some more versatility to your garden spaces – it can be pulled out to shield you from the sun, or put away to create an ideal sunbathing space.


Plus, it can be pulled out to shield you from light rain, letting you stay outside if there’s a sudden change in weather.


  1. Outdoor curtains

If you have some pillars or strong raised poles, you could add some water-resistant curtains to create some horizontal shade. By blocking sunlight from the side but allowing it from above, you can create a more dynamic seating area, giving you more options than “in shade” and “out of shade”.


  1. Trees and bushes

There are plenty of kinds of tree that can add some extra shade to a space, all of which grow into different shapes and thrive in different environments. Some will add more vertical shade, like palm trees, whereas others will be better at blocking horizontal light.


Bushes can also be used to add a small amount of shade without blocking the whole sun, which can be a good way to stop stone patio flooring from getting really hot when the sun’s out.


  1. Hedges

A large hedge can be a good way to block light from a single direction, rather than from directly above. If you’ve got a habit of sitting outside in the shade during the afternoon, one that blocks the sunset could be a good investment.


  1. Fence

Much like hedges, fences will only block horizontal light, but unlike hedges, you can easily cut them to fit your own preferences. If you want it to only block light in a certain area, or you want the fence to slope upwards in a certain area, it’s not too hard to get that change made.


  1. Pop-Up Canopy

A temporary canopy, preferably one that can be set up in an hour or less, is excellent for people who love to throw parties and gatherings in their garden. It can be put up in the morning, shelter guests through the day and be taken down in the evening: leaving the garden untouched.


  1. Balcony

It’s obviously an expensive choice, but a balcony can be a great addition to an already-impressive house. Even if you don’t have a second floor, it isn’t difficult to find contractors that can install a raised platform, which can create an extra sheltered area directly underneath it.


  1. Rolling shades

They could be difficult to set up, but rolling shades can offer a less forced type of shade that still lets cracks of light through – attaching it to a patio roof can make it less bright without completely isolating the area from the sunlight.


  1. Awnings

Easy to set up and available in a variety of types and forms, awnings can be an efficient way of adding a few square meters of extra shade to a garden. They can cover a large area as long as there’s something to support them, but the angle they’re placed at and the material they use can change how effective they are in the sun.