Patio Shades

Patio shades fit within a larger category of outdoor shades. In fact, the terms are really quite synonymous. There are a variety of terms used to describe shades or awnings that can be used to provide shading for your patio area. Sometimes patio covers just don't reach those angled sun rays, which are both bright and hot. So, here is where getting some new shades for your patio will be essential.

There are a wide variety of shades to choose from and we will discuss some of those here. For more information, you can always do a search for blinds in your local area by typing in patio shades or patio blinds, etc into Google and your city's name. This will likely bring up retailers in your local area that can be a better resource for installation and regional patio shading needs. You can always price your outdoor shades online and then either negotiate with your local retailer or order them online. Sometimes, your local company will install these for you (obviously for some specific fee) or they may refuse, only installing their own products. If you get a fairly simple manual shade, you should be able to do the install yourself. If all else fails, you can always hire a local handyman or contractor.

Here is the simplest type of drop roll patio shade. Photo by
Here is the simplest type of drop roll patio shade. Photo by

Getting The Right Patio Shades for Your Patio

The 'right' patio shades might be somewhat of a subjective term. This is because there are many different types or styles that could work for a given situation. For example, if you are looking for an overhead shade to provide blockage of the sun from directly above, then you might consider building a patio cover or even going with a shade sail type of configuration. The picture at right shows a public gathering area that utilizes such shade sail technology. These types of shades are made of a very durable canvas material, sometimes vinyl products, that can be hung with some tension between two points.

The benefit of these types of shades is that they can provide shade from above, stay out of the way for easy flexibility beneath them, resist any wind problems that other shades suffer from and can provide some shelter from rain as well. Of course, having a more formal covered patio that is built with wood or metal will provide much more protection from the elements in this regard, but will not let any light in from above.

The most popular type of patio shade is the drop roll or roller shade. This is the classic one that mounts to your patio near your roof or top beam and then rolls down to give you shade from the penetrating angled rays of the sun. They come in a variety of materials which will be discussed below. These types of rollershades can be either manual or motorized. And, in fact, the motorized shades can come in either switch styles or automatic solar shade styles.

The switch type takes someone to turn them on to roll down and turn off to roll up. The automatic ones have a solar sensor that can tell the shades when to roll up and down to protect your patio from the sun. These will come on typically a bit after sunrise. You can also adjust the timers so you get an infinite number of possible roller options. The motorized shades typically require a track or guide wire to follow. Most times, the manually operated outdoor roller shade does not require any tracks or guidance system. The one benefit of a tracking guide wire is that it can provide some tension on your shades in a light wind. Often, a breeze will blow your typical manually rolled down shade all over, giving up its sun protection in the process. With a track or guide wire, the shade is usually more rigid. This can also be a downfall with high winds if you forget to roll up your shades. In the event that you leave them down in high wind conditions, they will act like a sail and can cause damage to the track, the wires or the mounting brackets.

You can achieve this same look for your patio.  Photo by
You can achieve this same look for your patio. Photo by
Multiple patio shades layered.  Photo by
Multiple patio shades layered. Photo by

Patio Shade Styles and Materials

Shade materials vary depending upon the type of shade and application.  Those shade sails mentioned above can be found in a knitted and stitched canvas with UV stabilization or with a polyethylene vinyl type fabric.  Both provide great durability and breathability.  This means that the heat will not be trapped beneath them.  This is a key point because the last thing you want is shade but still feel hot. 

Other patio shades that are more typical of the drop roll shades can include the fabrics mentioned above or can include things like woven grasses, bamboo and even woods.  These have a very unique look and will add another dimension to your shade cover.  The motorized shades and awnings are usually a vinyl type fabric that is especially made to tolerate repeated rolling up and storage within a metal housing.  The motorized awning for example is another popular style and comes in bold striped patterns as well as solid colors suitable for any taste. 

The main component of patio shade material is UV resistance.  Some are made to withstand the harsh rays of the sun better than others.  After all, this is what you have the shades for in the first place.  If you are looking for a cooler patio, then you can combine some great looking patio shades that are weather resistant with a patio misting system.  As their name suggests, these systems provide a fine mist of water that is sprayed into the air around them.  They have been reported to drop the temperature up to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.  So, the main take-away point for patio shades is that you can find them in a variety of styles, materials and designs that can be combined with other outdoor applications to create both a cooler and more inviting resting or entertaining space.

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Comments 6 comments

Mulders Australia 7 years ago

Patios get pretty hot here in Australia and there is always great demand to shade the much loved Ozzie BBQ! Three solutions that we find are popular here are:

- retractable awnings that offer a kind of 'open plan shade' They are motor driven and can be automatically extended over the patio on demand. House owners like the minimalist design and the full instant control they get over the shade area.

- DIY shade sails can be strung between trees and fences for low cost patio shade. Many customers do get home to find out that the readymade sail they have bought will not fit their available fixing points. First working out fixing points and measuring from these to set the final sail size is a good idea.

- traditional shade sail structures can be triangular, square or irregular and designed to accommodate the sun's direction, shade area needed and so on. Construction costs need to be considered as footings need to be dug for supporting posts or load bearing fixings identified. Two pole shade sails offer lower obstruction than the traditional three pole sails.

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patioman 7 years ago from USA, Arizona Author

Hey, thanks Mulders for the great info! I appreciate you stopping by our patio shades site. I've seen your work and appreciate the attention to detail. Nice job and thank you for taking the time to help our visitors out with the tips. Ozzie! Ozzie! Ozzie! Oy! Oy! Oy!

Kathy Shepherd 6 years ago

Patio shades are also a "must-have" for homes and businesses in the Southwest. It looks like you've got some very nice ones that will hold up to the weather.

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patioman 6 years ago from USA, Arizona Author

Hello Kathy. Yes, the southwest can be very harsh and unforgiving on any outdoor products - or people for that matter :) Patio shades just make it that much more tolerable out there in the dead of it. Thanks for your comments.

build a gazebo 6 years ago

Nice hub! :) I like the idea to add a patio to a gazebo. I thought maybe this would ruin the design, but seeing thouse pictures gave me some great ideas.

patioman profile image

patioman 6 years ago from USA, Arizona Author

Thanks for stopping by. Yes, there are many ways to utilize a variety of combinations of patio shades, patio covers, shade sails, gazebos, you name it! There are really no hard and fast rules to follow, go with the type of design that will help you enjoy your patio space more and gives you the kind of shade you are after. Best of luck on your new designs!

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