What Are the Best Tips for Adding Backyard Shade?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2019
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Increasing the amount of backyard shade behind a home can make the space more usable and far more pleasant aesthetically. Several methods can be used to increase backyard shade, such as adding trees, creeping vines, or shrubs. A homeowner can also increase the amount of shade in a yard by adding man-made structures such as gazebos, canopies, fences, or trellises. Even something as simple as a table umbrella can be useful for adding plenty of shade, and to keep costs to a minimum, tents or pop-up shelters can be erected to cover patios or sections of lawn.

One of the most aesthetically pleasing ways to add backyard shade can also be one of the most difficult and costly methods: planting trees and shrubs can block sunlight and add visual appeal to the space. The homeowner will need to buy trees and shrubs and plant them properly to ensure they thrive, which means a fair amount of maintenance will be necessary. It may also be necessary to buy larger trees, since small trees will not provide much shade until several years after planting. The cost of buying larger trees for backyard shade can be high, but if the homeowner wants a good investment for his or her yard, planting is a great idea.


Climbing vines can be a less expensive way to add backyard shade, but again, some maintenance and care will be necessary and the plants will need time to grow. Vines can crawl up man-made structures such as trellises or gazebos, and to facilitate growth in places where man-made structures are not available, the person doing the planting can run twine or rope from the ground up into a tree or other structure. This will give the plants something to climb, thereby creating shade once the vines grow in.

Structures such as canopies and gazebos can add backyard shade more quickly. Gazebos are usually built from wood, which means either professional installation will be necessary or the builder will need some carpentry skills. For quick, expedient shade with no construction necessary, a pop-up shelter can be erected anywhere in a backyard space. These shelters are easy to put up and take down, and they are very portable. Such structures usually feature no walls, though walls can be added to these fabric structures fairly easily if necessary. These are great options for picnics and barbecues, but they will need to be taken down and stored during winter months to avoid damage.


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