9 Outdoor Structures That Provide Shade And Style While You Relax Outdoors

When we talk to our friends and clients about outdoor entertaining, there are often several things that come to their mind. And shade and style are two of them. Today we are going to talk about outdoor structures that provide shade and style while you relax at your outdoor oasis.


An awning or overhang 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 polyeste.

The Patio Umbrella

An umbrella is one of the best patio shade options to protect small spaces – such as sitting areas or table settings – from the sun. Because they are so light, outdoor umbrellas don’t weather high winds well, so it’s a good idea to bring them inside before storms. They are affordable and available in a wide range of colors, shapes, patterns, and materials, so you’re sure to find one that suits you and your design style. Read more about the styles of outdoor umbrellas below.


A pergola, usually made of wood or metal, is shaped like a gazebo but features a lattice-style ceiling. This creates the perfect combination of shade and sunlight in the sitting area beneath it. For more shade, you can buy a pergola with a canopy included. Many pergola designs can attach to the side of a house to contain the porch area without closing it off. Like gazebos, pergolas are a more permanent fixture and tend to be more expensive than temporary backyard shade structures like umbrellas and canopies. 

Pergolas are the perfect trellises for vine plants. Plant some ivy, roses, honeysuckle, jasmine, and even grapes. Not only will they look beautiful climbing all over your pergola, their growth will actually provide a little more shade.


Like patio umbrellas, most canopies are made to be portable; they can be put together and taken down on occasion, rather than being permanent outdoor installations. This portability and ease of assembly make canopies the perfect outdoor shaders for parties, beach days, or sports games. 

Canopies are more affordable than permanent patio shade structures like gazebos and pergolas, though strong winds can take them down, so they should be used primarily in good weather. 

Most canopies are made up of a lightweight frame with a thin fabric or tarp covering, but there are a few canopy styles with different characteristics – read about those below.

Pop-Up: Constructed from a simple frame and covering, most pop-up canopies are only big enough to shade one small table setting. They are meant to be used as portable day tents; you can put one up to enjoy a sunny day without the sunburn, and then take it down just as easily at the end of the day.


If you have the space for it, a gazebo is a luxurious and wide-reaching solution for too much sunshine. It creates a space to gather and entertain, and ensures that, rain or shine, you will still have a place to enjoy the outdoors. Many gazebos are robust, permanent structures complete with a hardy floor, protective rails, and a shingled roof. 

Compared to canopies, gazebos are more expensive but much larger and more decorative, resilient, and customizable. 

Patio Gazebo: These hefty backyard shade structures are built to be incredibly weather-resistant and tend to be more expensive than umbrellas and canopies. However, there are more affordable options that are not made from solid wood. The nonwood options are lighter and made up of a strong metal frame and a tough, decorative roof that can be covered by hard metal or fabric. Many have curtain-like walls that can be collapsed or expanded for privacy.


Pavilions are generally larger than gazebos or pergolas. Typically, these architectural structures have covered roofs and provide ample space for bigger parties and events. A gentle summer rain won’t interfere with your entertaining plans and you can enjoy cool summer breezes with the open air design.

Screened Porches

Want to enjoy dining outdoors without flies landing on your hamburger? Screened porches can provide a place to entertain friends and family, enjoy nature without annoying insects, and provide a safe and fun play area for children. These structures are attached to your house usually next to a back door for easy access.

Shade Sails

Shade sails are a modern and elegant way of offering relief from the sun. Fabric is stretched across specially-engineered poles to accent and provide shade to a seating area or patio. Shade sails tantalize the eye with straight lines and geometry and contribute to the decorative and artistic aspect of your outdoor space. A wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors are available.


A cabana compliments a pool area and provides a covered area to stay cool on hot summer days. These structures can also be used as a changing room and usually include outdoor drapes. Customarily, cabanas provide a lounging area for poolside snacking and relaxing; however, cabanas can serve a multitude of functions. Some homeowners use these versatile structures for entertainment purposes and add a kitchen and/or dining area.

Outdoor structures are important to maximize and utilize an outdoor living space to its best advantage. Consider what type of overhead structure is suitable for your individual needs and wants. Adding any one of these structures will contribute to a comfortable and stylish outdoor retreat that you and your family can enjoy year round.

Here are our picks on outdoor structures (Click Each Image For Details):

Launceston 11′ Market Umbrella

Launceston 11' Market Umbrella

Samiyah 9′ Market Umbrella

Samiyah 9' Market Umbrella

Pedrick 8.5′ Drape Market Umbrella

Pedrick 8.5' Drape Market Umbrella

Herefordshire 11’6″ W x 11’6″ D Metal Pergola with 

Herefordshire 11'6" W x 11'6" D Metal Pergola with

Motorized Retractable Slope Patio Awning

Motorized Retractable Slope Patio Awning

LX-Maui Manual Retraction Slope Patio Awning

LX-Maui Manual Retraction Slope Patio Awning

12′ Triangle Shade Sail

12' Triangle Shade Sail

Belcourt 11 Ft. W x 13 Ft. D Steel Patio Gazebo

Belcourt 11 Ft. W x 13 Ft. D Steel Patio Gazebo

10 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Fiberglass Pop-Up Gazebo

10 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Fiberglass Pop-Up Gazebo

Franz 9.83 Ft. W x 9.83 Ft. D Metal Patio Gazebo

Franz 9.83 Ft. W x 9.83 Ft. D Metal Patio Gazebo

12 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Steel Patio Gazebo

12 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Steel Patio Gazebo

Jeffries 10 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Steel Patio Gazebo

Jeffries 10 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Steel Patio Gazebo

Betty 9 Ft. W x 9 Ft. D Aluminum Patio Gazebo

Betty 9 Ft. W x 9 Ft. D Aluminum Patio Gazebo

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