Backyard Shade Solutions: Fresh Ideas for a Cool Backyard

Backyard Shade Solutions: Fresh Ideas for a Cool Backyard
May 25, 2022

Having a beautiful, shady place in the backyard you can use come summer can be invaluable. Backyard shade allows you to enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends in a comfortable way that full sun simply can’t match. With a comfortable shaded area, you don’t have to worry about the sun shining down too much and you can add value to your home with tasteful visual features that make your property stand out.

What are the best backyard shade solutions? Gazebos, solariums, pergolas, shade sails, canopy tents, and pop-canopies all have specific benefits as structures in your landscape. Depending on your budget and the look you’re going for, one of these selections might stand out over another.

Here’s a bit about each to help you choose the best shade solution for your home this summer.

Gazebos vs Pergolas

You’ve seen them in ads and in brochures but you might not be sure what they’re called: gazebos and pergolas. These two shade solutions present two popular ways you can add physical features to your backyard that help define your space. Both gazebos and pergolas have their different benefits, however, and what you choose can depend on the amount of shade and protection from the weather you’re looking for. In general, gazebos are more substantial and pergolas a bit airier and more versatile. Check out how they compare below.

What is a gazebo?

A gazebo can be described as an outdoor pavilion that consists of a solid roof supported by several columns. You can find traditional gazebos made of ornate wood in public parks. Today’s backyard gazebos are often made from non-rusting metal and come in rectangular, square and hexagonal designs. These structures tend to have open sides to let the air pass through, which can be a relaxing feature. People often use gazebos to cover an outdoor dining area, or an area with seating, and these structures can come with curtains for added privacy and wind/mosquito control. These stylish features can be tied back or let loose to hang, adding elegance to your seating area.


Gazebos are great for:

  • Keeping off the rain and sun
  • Defining different areas of your backyard
  • Providing an appealing visual focal point

Are you in the market for a gazebo this season? Sojag has a selection of various engaging gazebos including grill gazebos to cover your barbecue area, and classic wall-mounted gazebos that you can conveniently attach to the side of your house to cover an adjoining patio. As a functional shade solution, gazebos are a true winner.

Backyard Shade Solution GazeboBackyard Shade Solution Gazebo

What is a pergola?

Pergolas are unique garden features that date all the way back to ancient Egypt. These shade structures are often made of wood and consist of a grid of open beams at the top that’s supported by columns at the bottom. Sometimes, people allow vines to climb up the columns of their pergola in order to cover the top for a greener look and increased shade. The great thing about pergolas is that they’re really versatile and you can also purchase a large piece of outdoor-quality cloth to cover the top and sides, allowing for a lot of shade even without a vine.


Pergolas have an open top that allows light to shine through the grid. They can:

  • Cut the effect of the sun and reduce its glare
  • Provide partial shade
  • Provide full shade when covered
  • Provide an area for ornate vines to climb
  • Add considerable visual appeal
  • More affordable than a gazebo

One of the other major attractions of pergolas, aside from their classic look and functionality, is their cheaper price point, compared to gazebos. So, if you’re looking to get a similar effect with the higher cost, a pergola could be for you. Your garden will look fabulous with this structure!

When would you use a gazebo instead of a pergola?

Whether you install a gazebo or a pergola is really a matter of personal preference. If you want to enjoy the light of summer sun but reduce some of its strength, a pergola may be the best choice. When sitting under one, however, just remember to still wear your sunscreen if it’s uncovered.

Some pergolas like Sojag’s Yamba Pergola come with an adjustable mesh roof you can install on the top and sides for added shade, which can be extremely useful. Pergolas are also ideal if you want a vine in your yard and you need structure to grow it on.

In contrast, if solid shade and protection from light wind and a few drops of rain is something you seek, a gazebo could be a better choice. With a solid roof and the potential to close your side curtains, a gazebo can offer you more protection from the elements than a pergola.

Generally speaking, pergolas tend to be more affordable than gazebos and involve a smaller investment. They can offer a similar amount of shade protection and often take up about the same amount of space. If you’re looking for deeper shade, however, and more protection from the wind or rain, as well as mosquitoes, a gazebo with curtains could be a better choice.

Backyard Solariums

Another permanent structure you can enjoy in your backyard for years to come is a solarium. A backyard solarium is similar to a gazebo but it’s larger and has solid windows and sliding doors. A backyard solarium is perfect as a cover for a hot tub or for providing shelter for a larger outdoor living space.


Backyard solariums come with many benefits. They can:

  • Offer more protection than a gazebo
  • Cover a large outdoor space with couches
  • Cover a larger outdoor dining area
  • Provide protection from mosquitoes
  • Provide protection from the elements
  • Increase your shade
  • Create a stylish outdoor living space
  • Help to protect your outdoor furniture from wind, rain, and sun

If you’re looking for solid protection from mosquitoes and other bugs while enjoying the outdoors, a backyard solarium is an ideal solution. A solarium can be set up around an eating area or a lounge space, and can even offer a great solution to outdoor living if you keep your RV in one vacation spot for the summer. Check out Solag’s various styles of solariums and solarium wall units made from galvanized steel for reliable use for years to come.

Shade Sails

When it comes to permanent structures that offer protection from the sun, shade sails are one of the most affordable solutions. A shade sail is a piece of heavy-duty cloth that’s made to be tear and abrasion-resistant. It’s like a solid, thick canvas that can take the beating of heavy wind, rain, and a lot of sun.

How does it work? You attach your sail to poles, a tree, or a hook on the side of your house or fence, and suspend it above, creating a shaded area. Because shade sails are so versatile and differ in size, they offer an ideal solution for creating shade in smaller areas that get a lot of sun but don’t have enough area for a gazebo, pergola, or solarium.


  • Low cost
  • Easy to install
  • Versatile
  • Can choose from various colors
  • Durable
  • Many sizes available
  • Doesn’t take up ground space

Shade sails are an ultra-cost effective solution that can add a unique pop of color to your outdoor space while increasing its functionality. Anchored with heavy-duty hardware and hooks, it can take a bit of effort to install them. Once secure, however, a shade sail can be a great choice!

Backyard Shade Solution Canopy TentBackyard Shade Solution Canopy Tent

Pop-up Canopy Tents

Pop-up canopy tents look like a square gazebo but they’re more lightweight and consist of durable fabric pulled over a metal frame. Like a gazebo, a pop-up canopy can have curtains on the sides to offer increased privacy and keep out the bugs. The only drawback these structures present compared with pergolas or gazebos is that they might be moved by the wind on a blustery day.


  • More affordable than a gazebo or pergola
  • Provides sun protection
  • Can still have curtains
  • Easy to install and move
  • Adds color and style to your property

Stylish and affordable, pop-up canopy tents can provide you with a visually appealing protective cover for your outdoor leisure space that’s well worth the investment.

How to Choose the Best Backyard Shade Solution

Adding shade to your outdoor area can make your space even more enjoyable to use. With more shade you can spend hours outside with friends and family without worrying about the damaging effects of the sun. You can also get protection from mosquitoes and boost the visual appeal of your property, which can add value.

When deciding on what backyard shade solution is best, do the following:

  1. Set your budget
  2. Choose the size of your shade solution
  3. Consider your space
  4. Consider the local weather
  5. Take into account the bugs!

To get the best set-up, you’ll want to take into account the amount of money you intend to spend. This is a major deciding factor. If your budget is bigger, a solarium, gazebo, or ornate pergola might be a good solution. If you have less to spend, a shade sail or a pop-up canopy tent could work best. You’ll also want to consider the size of your property and whether or not your area gets a lot of wind or not. Finally, think about whether or not you need protection from the mosquitoes in the evening in order to feel comfortable and truly relaxed.

Invest in shade for your backyard this season and reap the benefits!

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