Deck shade ideas: 10 ways to shelter your decking from the sun

Keep cool this summer with these deck shade ideas – they're stylish as well as practical

decking with pergola covered in climbing plants
(Image credit: Mabo/Alamy Stock Photo)

Every decking will benefit from deck shade ideas when peak summer weather hits. We all love the sun, but a bit of respite when it's really hot makes sitting outdoors much more comfortable, whether we're dining alfresco or simply relaxing with a good book. Plus, it can prevent your furniture from fading as fast.

There are tons of shade ideas for patios to choose from, so you can guarantee that you can find the perfect match for your plot. From space-saving retractable awnings to contemporary-style parasols and more, we've rounded up our favorite ways to keep cool on a deck.

Cool down this season with these 10 deck shade ideas

Up the practicality and style of your summer decking ideas by bringing in some shade solutions – these looks are sure to inspire.

1. Put up a parasol on your deck

parasol from dobbies on modern decking

A chic setup from Dobbies (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Investing in one of the best garden parasols is a great way to update a deck. As Wayfair (opens in new tab)'s Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill says, 'A parasol will not only add some extra shade to an outdoor space, but can also quickly refresh the overall look of your garden. 

'Creating a covered space for dining and entertainment, a parasol can also help to zone an area, adding height and structure,' she continues. You could choose a decorative style to add character, or stick with a contemporary design, like in this scheme shown above.

'To keep parasols looking their best, make sure it's closed when not in use, but open it out to dry if it gets wet,' she adds. Our guide on how to clean a patio umbrella has more tips on keeping yours in top condition.

If you're short on space, cantilever designs are particularly useful. 'They are unobtrusive when not in use,' says Tim Pennell of Bramblecrest (opens in new tab), 'and when required, they can provide shade from the sun and also shelter from light showers. Most cantilever parasols can be tilted and rotated to track the movement of the sun; in addition, some parasols have solar-charged LED lights to add sparkle to your evening dining.'

2. Keep off the sun with a shade sail

orange shade sail at show garden chelsea flower show 2022

A fun and fresh scheme spotted at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

(Image credit: Beth Murton/Future)

Another gorgeous way to shield the sun from your decked space is with a shade sail. Often budget-friendly and available in a wide range of colors, they offer a modern aesthetic that works in all sorts of garden schemes.

Easy to suspend from walls, trees, or fences, they're definitely one of our favorite deck shade ideas. This vivid orange design offsets furniture, funky accessories, and fabulous foliage beautifully – the perfect finishing touch for a cozy seating spot.

3. Go light and bright with an overhead awning

pale awning over modern decking

Cool down your decking

(Image credit: Arcaid Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

An overhead structure with retractable canvas panels like this one offers a super-chic look. Pick a light shade to keep your deck feeling bright and airy, then add pops of color with beanbags, poufs, or throw cushions – ideal for recreating a laid-back beach bar vibe in your own backyard.

Of course, as well as looking stylish, this sort of deck cover benefits from its versatility. If you fancy topping up your tan, simply open it back up and let the sun's rays in.

4. Add subtle shade to your decking with an arch or two

metal arches with climbing roses on decking balcony at chelsea flower show 2022

The Cirrus Garden (opens in new tab), designed by Jason Williams, at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

(Image credit: Beth Murton/Future)

We love a garden arch for bringing structure and vertical interest to a space, and they work well for creating an entranceway from one zone to another. But for smaller plots, they can also be useful for creating a spot of shade.

In this balcony garden spotted at the Chelsea Flower Show, the two metal structures frame a romantic seating area perfectly. Adding climbing plants, such as these roses, will offer further shelter, as well as a beautiful scent and view, of course.

5. Cover a decking pergola with plants

decking with plants over pergola

A leafy retreat to cool off in

(Image credit: Mabo/Alamy Stock Photo)

Speaking of climbing plants, they can also be trained up and around a traditional pergola to create a cooling canopy for a larger space. It's a great way to add color and texture to the area too, plus the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind will provide a soothing experience for anyone lounging beneath.

This outdoor living area, complete with pizza oven, is the perfect place to shelter from the sun, and all that greenery gives it an organic, jungle-like vibe. Adding a living wall to the back fence enhances the theme further, plus, it's a great way to pack even more plants in without taking up floor space.

6. Opt for a rattan finish on your deck awning

small decked balcony with rattan awning

The perfect solution for urban balconies and courtyards

(Image credit: Arcaid Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

Canvas awning is great if you want to add a bright white or bold color to your scheme. But rattan awning ideas are a good alternative, offering a textural, naturalistic look that complements Scandi-chic themes well. 

These panels offer plenty of shade for a small, urban balcony garden when needed. What's more, they boost the sense of privacy, shielding the space from neighbors overhead.

With the sleek dining bench and some statement accessories, this simple space feels curated and ready for socializing in style.

7. Turn heads with a bespoke shade shelter

wooden shelter over decking at chelsea flower show 2022

The Meta Garden: Growing the Future (opens in new tab), designed by Joe Perkins, at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

(Image credit: Beth Murton/Future)

If you're looking for budget deck shade ideas, something like this probably won't tick the box. However, if you want to invest in a structure that will make a real statement, getting creative with a bespoke design may well be the way forward.

This sculptural, honeycomb-patterned pavilion was inspired by woodlands, and creates a real focal point for the space. Surrounded by naturalistic planting, it offers a tranquil zone to relax and shelter from the midday heat.

8. Keep it contemporary with a hi-tech pergola

modern pergola from cuckooland over deck

This pergola from Cuckooland (opens in new tab) includes LED lights

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

Classic, timber pergolas definitely have a charm. But nowadays, there are lots of high-tech, louvered designs too, which suit modern gardens perfectly.

As well as looking undeniably sleek and chic, these types of designs are super versatile as you can simply open and close the roof to suit. Not only is this handy for blocking the sun, but many will also keep out the rain, too, extending the use of your space all year round.

What's more, some designs also have integrated LED lighting, so you can enjoy your alfresco living area long into the evening.

9. Create cool respite with architectural plants around your deck

tropical garden with pool and plants at chelsea flower show 2022

Kate Gould's 'Out of the Shadows' garden (opens in new tab) at Chelsea Flower Show 2022 featured lots of leafy plants

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs/Future)

By surrounding your deck with large, architectural plants, you can create dappled shade in a natural way.

How about planting one of the best trees for small gardens nearby or a large shrub, or opting for tropical-style leafy plants in oversized planters? Tall, ornamental grasses can also provide subtle shade as the sun moves throughout the day, plus, many are good for attracting birds and other wildlife.

10. Try a trellised top on your pergola

decking with trellised shelter

A simple yet effective shade solution

(Image credit: paul eccleston/Alamy Stock Photo)

There are many roof ideas for pergolas that will up the style factor of your structure and also do wonders at providing shade. 

A trellised top, like this one, will keep the space feeling light and airy while blocking out overbearing sunshine. Trellis panels could be added to the sides, too, for extra shelter and privacy. 

They're also good for training up climbing plants, and you can paint them with exterior wood paint should you wish to blend them into your garden color scheme.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.