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What are Patio Shades?

Angela Crout-Mitchell
Angela Crout-Mitchell

Patio shades are any type of covering designed to shade an outdoor area from the elements. Patio shades are constructed from a variety of materials including canvas, wood, or a structural component, such as a roof complete with eaves and shingles. These shades can be made or ordered in any size or shape needed to supply the patio with adequate privacy and protection.

Most patios are made from materials such as pavers, bricks, or rocks, and are typically ground level. These areas are often used for entertaining guests, eating outdoors, and as a recreational space for the homeowners. Properly designed and installed patio shades can be used successfully on most patios, but the location of the patio also plays a large role in the shade's effectiveness.

Patio shades provide protection from the elements.
Patio shades provide protection from the elements.

The shape of the patio is an important factor in determining the patio accessories. Patio shades are usually purchased to match the size and shape of the underlying patio. Most home experts recommend using a patio shade that matches the shape of the patio for visual continuity. The most common shape is rectangular, but it is not uncommon for patios and their shades to be square, round, or more ornate designs such as hexagons and octagons.

Patio shades are either part of the structural construction of the patio or are an attached element. Structural, in this situation, refers to a shade or roof that is built to be a permanent fixture, and is often supported by walls or pillars, such as a gazebo. Attached patio shades are usually made from fabrics like canvas or nylon and are often supported by metal poles planted in the ground or set in concrete. These types of shades, along with patio curtains, should be taken down in severe weather to prevent damage and tearing.

Canopies are another choice available for patio shading. They are often made from pieces of canvas or other durable material that have been cut and sewn to fit a specific size and shape. Canopies are sometimes chosen over other types of patio shading because of the variety of available colors and designs. Most home improvement experts recommend choosing one of the more permanent and solid patio shade choices for greater durability, but many homeowners choose canopies for their affordability and easy maintenance.

When a patio has been built just outside of the home and is located near a window or sliding door, many people choose to have an awning installed to create the needed coverage. The awning will shade the patio floor as intended, but it will also prevent light entering the house through the window and help to the keep the interior of the home cooler in the summer months as well. The dual purpose has made patio awnings a popular choice.

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    • Patio shades provide protection from the elements.
      By: brunobarillari
      Patio shades provide protection from the elements.