9 DIY Projects That Will Add Shade And Style To Your Patio

When the summer sun is shining, and the heat index tops out, there's nothing more refreshing than escaping into the shade. Spending the day outdoors is infinitely better with shade over your patio, but hiring professionals to install a sturdy awning can cost upwards of 1,000 dollars. Whether you're on a budget or simply want to find ways to add shade yourself, there are plenty of DIY options out there.

Below are nine ways to block the sun from your outdoor areas using a combination of readily available materials and popular furniture items. All of these methods are doable in a single day once you acquire the supplies. They're also feasible for amateurs with little experience in home improvement projects. Check out the list to learn what you need and how to complete each project so you can enjoy your outdoor patio while sheltered from the sun's rays.

Use wood, quick-dry cement, and a large tarp to create your own fabric canopy

Fashion your own patio ceiling using Amazon's eye hooks, two large pots, and an expansive tarp in your desired size. You'll also need Home Depot's quick-dry cement bags and two 4x4 eight-foot-tall wooden posts. Fill the two pots with quick-dry concrete, using the mixture to stand the wood posts straight up. Put the two pots across from your house walls and roof, and attach eyehooks to your home's exterior wall and the two wooden posts. Hang the tarp from the hooks, and your DIY canopy is complete.

Angle a 10-foot cantilever umbrella over your sitting area

Amazon and Home Depot carry massive cantilever umbrellas that can be tilted and adjusted as needed throughout the day. During sales, these freestanding umbrellas cost under $100, though they often hover between $100 to $150. Both models are ventilated and allow airflow, keeping the shaded area underneath them cool and comfortable. These umbrellas can also be used at night, extending their use beyond providing shade. The Home Depot model already includes a solar LED light, and you can purchase a $9.99 light addition for the Amazon option.

Install shade sails over the open patio

The easiest way to construct your own shade sail over your property is to purchase Lowes' $434 freestanding pergola and canopy. The canopy is made of waterproof, UV-resistant and fade-resistant polyester, making it resilient against sunlight and rain throughout the seasons. You can also stake your polyester sunshade, which is cheaper but requires a bit more skill, by cementing pressure-treated wooden posts directly in the ground and fastening Amazon's $74.99 shade sail and $24.99 installation hardware.

Hook outdoor curtains to patio columns

If your patio is already fenced in or has an awning, but you need more shade when the sun rises or sets, consider hooking weather-resistant curtains on the columns. There are multiple ways to hang curtains between columns; just make sure you use weatherproof panels designed for the outdoors, such as Amazon's $53.99 six-pack. You can use an outdoor curtain rod, like this $55.93 two-rod set from Amazon, ensuring the style matches your chosen curtains. Another alternative hanging method is using Amazon's $6.18 galvanized hobby wiring and $13.99 eye plate and anchor screw set.

Repurpose a carport cover

Carport covers shield vehicles from harsh sunlight but are also effective for shading other outdoor areas. Home Depot carries highly rated car canopies, including a basic 10-foot by 20-foot option for $151.62 or a fully covered 10-foot by 20-foot option for $639. Dress up this canopy by adding Amazon's $69.99 string lights or two packs of $9.99 UV-resistant faux vines. If you go with another option, ensure your chosen accents are at least 200 feet across so they cover the entire canopy perimeter.

Put up a temporary pop-up canopy

Consider investing in a temporary pop-up canopy, which is made explicitly for outdoor activities like camping and picnicking. They are compact and portable, making them easy to assemble and disassemble as needed. Home Depot's 8-foot by 8-foot basic canopy tent is $58.82. However, if you want a canopy with additional shade on the sides, you can invest in the $163.89 10-foot by 10-foot model. You can also decorate these canopies with string lights and faux vines, but it may be tedious to take them down and put them back up throughout the summer. 

Install tilted umbrellas along fence posts

Install tilted umbrellas around the border of fenced-in yards and patios. Amazon's 9-foot umbrellas are $114.99 each and Home Depot's 10-foot umbrellas are $45.56 each. Their double tops allow ventilation and adjust in different positions to provide shade for multiple people throughout the day. You'll also need Amazon's $79.99 base and mount for each individual umbrella, making each project around $125 to $195. Each finished assembly provides shade for four to six people when adjusted correctly.

Assemble an outdoor daybed with a canopy

Various furniture retailers carry expensive outdoor daybeds with canopies for shade. However, you can build your own using Amazon's $11.59 cable ties, $11.99 grommet tool kit, and $119.99 four-post canopy bed. You'll also need this $139.99 memory foam mattress with a washable cover for the bed itself and a waterproof sunshade to fit over the top. The smaller the bed size you choose, the less this overall project will cost. A twin bed frame requires only a twin-size mattress and a smaller canopy to shade its seating area.

Put up a trellis with climbing vine plants to create natural shade

Fans of nature-inspired decor should raise a plant wall to provide outdoor shade. Purchase a 7-foot or taller trellis to grow climbing plants, allowing your greenery to soak in the sunlight while conveniently casting shade. Amazon has several styles of trellises, including this four-pack wire model for $145.65, this vinyl fixture for $227.99, or this two-pack privacy screen for $369.99. Purchase fully matured plants for your local climate by figuring out which USDA hardiness zone you live in and browsing for cold or heat-resistant species accordingly.