How to Shade Your Outdoor Space (& Maximize Its Privacy!)

updated May 14, 2019
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Don’t let sun beams and heat ruin your ability to enjoy your outdoor area! Providing shade for your outdoor space—no matter how big or small—is a vital component to being able to use it year round and all day. And creating privacy, especially for those who live snuggled up with neighbors, will increase intimacy and enjoyment. We’ve got your privacy and shade inspiration to consider when finishing out your outdoor area for use this summer.

Built Shade

If you have a patio that doesn’t have any built-in shade from your home, don’t let that stand in your way—you can always build your own sun coverage. Many people utilize shade sails, contraptions that hang over your space and mimic actual boat sails. They’re also incredible versatile—not only can you hang them over your patio, but you can also hang them between trees to create shade in the middle of your yard. You can purchase these from bigger stores like Amazon and Walmart, or from smaller specialty retailers like Coolaroo and

Credit: Julia Steele

Umbrella Shade

If you’re looking for a solution that’s quick, easy, and not permanent, an outdoor umbrella is an obvious choice. You can purchase umbrellas to go with outdoor dining tables, or ones that stand alone and can be moved where you like as the sun changes positions throughout the day. No matter what, you’ve got shade that lasts all day (and is actually stylish).

Hanging Shade

Hanging outdoor blinds up on your porch or deck involves a bit more work, but will give you plenty of privacy, as well as keep your space nice and cool during hot days. There are a ton of ways to go about this—you can choose light, sheer hangings like Celeste and Felix did for their Buenos Aires home, or go for something darker and more substantial to really create a space that truly feels like another room in your home.

Hanging Plants

Somehow, it always comes back to plants. But we’re not sorry about it—plants are useful just about anywhere in your home, but particularly outdoors when providing natural shade and privacy. Hedges and trees have been used in backyards for, well, ever, and the same thinking can be applied to front porches and back patios as well. Hang plants from the ceiling, or buy some really tall, big plants—both will beautify your space and act as a guard against nosy neighbors.

This post was originally published on June 22, 2014, and was last updated on May 14, 2019. Adrienne Breaux also contributed to reporting.