, Deck Shade Ideas: Sun Sails, Pergolas, & More

Deck Shade Ideas: Sun Sails, Pergolas, & More

Everyone enjoys a bright sunny day, but sometimes the sun can be too much. No one wants to have damaged skin and heat exhaustion from all that UV beating down on them. At times like these, a little bit of shade is exactly what you need.

A well-shaded patio can be an amazing layer of protection for you and your furniture against the sun. So, why not step up your deck game and get yourself a deck shade to lounge beneath while sipping a nice, cold summer beverage?

If you are having trouble deciding what deck shade idea is right for you, this guide could be a fantastic start! And if you find yourself having other deck or dock supply needs, contact the Decks & Docks team for the highest quality materials. 

Why That Extra Shade Matters

While that summer tan gives you a refreshing glow, too much sun exposure can lead to irreversible damage. If your deck has no form of shade, you are likely exposing your skin to the sun’s relentless UV rays. That extra coverage is essential for protecting your skin.

You can also view the shade as a nice contrast to your sun-filled deck. Some dark spots can offer a nice touch-up to your outdoor space while also providing some shelter. Depending on the type of shade you choose, you could bring entirely different decorative moods to your home. 

The Best Deck Shade Ideas

There are many deck shade ideas out there, and it can be tricky to settle on the perfect one. Check out some of the best deck shade ideas to use as inspiration:

Sun Sails

Sun sails, also known as shade sails, require very little to set up. The only material you need is a triangular-cut piece of fabric with eyelets in each of the corners. This fabric will become your “sail,” and you can make it out of any design of your choosing.

For a more sleek and modern look, you could opt for neutral colors like gunmetal or white. If you want to add a visual pop to your decor, you may choose brighter colors or a patterned, fade-resistant material. The possibilities are endless and, with such an easy installation, you could have multiple colors for different occasions.

To install a sun sail, you need strong twine or rope and something to tie it to. You could use a shade pole, the sides of your house, or even the surrounding trees. Another benefit to this deck shade idea is that you can readjust the sail depending on the position of the sun!

Roller Shades

When it comes to innovative deck shade ideas, roller shades certainly stand out. They work in the same way that your blinds do for your windows — they attach to your home and filter out the sunlight. This deck shade idea works well with pergolas, as they can be installed directly on them. These shades are meant to regulate temperature by keeping the sunlight out but still allow airflow through the mesh. 

They come in plenty of different colors and textures, so they can be customized to your tastes. Like blinds, they can be manually rolled, but you can also look for motorized options for maximum relaxation.  


A pergola is a free-standing structure that can be built adjacent to your home or independently on your property. Pergolas are low-maintenance, promoting airflow with their open design and providing partial shade from the sun. If you want a deck shade idea that is great for blocking out the majority of the sun’s rays, opt for installing drape covers at the top of the pergolas. Otherwise, the wood-slated roofs and sides give minimal sun protection.

Be prepared for a labor-intensive construction process. You’ll need multiple tools and various types of wood (including 2x8s, 2x10s, and bulky wooden posts). However, the pergola building process will be well worth your efforts. It offers a great foundation for other deck shade ideas while also providing coverage on its own! 


For a classic touch of extra coverage, there are different types of patio umbrellas. Boasting a wide variety of colors, patterns, and designs, they can be fastened to deck furniture (such as tables) for some quick shade. For extensive coverage from the sun’s rays, you could go for a large patio umbrella instead. Some patio umbrellas even offer LED lights for those days you want to enjoy the outdoors when the sun has set.

Umbrellas are one of the easiest deck shades to install, as you’ll only need a bracket to mount the umbrella stand on the table. If you would prefer, you could go for a standing umbrella instead and not have to worry about adding anything to your table. 


Awnings provide a versatile shade experience for your decks. You can install them for permanent shade, or you can look into motorized and retractable versions. They give your deck a touch of nostalgia while also providing optimal coverage for your deck.

Awnings are also great at saving you energy while ensuring that you remain cool in the summer heat. They are easy to install and mount to whatever material your building may have. The coverings can be fully customized for size and color to match what your deck needs.

Plants: A Natural Shade

A great additional deck shade idea is to use mother nature as your shade! If artificial shading is not your taste, then nature is always a backup plan. Planting trees or setting up arbors will bring a green touch to your home while also providing natural shading and cooling. 

You could also put that pergola to use by adding climbing plants to it! The plants will then grow and “climb” all around your pergola, providing you with a comfortable shade from the harsh rays along with a pleasing aesthetic. If you’re stuck with ideas on what to get from your local hardware store, why not opt for some plants to spruce up the place instead? 

For more ideas on bringing a shady spot to your deck, contact Decks & Docks. We also carry the tools and materials you’ll need for your next deck shade installation!