When summer weather hits, pool shade ideas can become tempting for those who have one of these backyard features. Taking a swim is the ultimate way to cool down, but on seriously hot days, a bit of extra shelter from the sun can be welcome.
Just as there are plenty of shade ideas for gardens to elevate your seating space, there are options for cooling your pool, too. Implement some of these looks and you'll ensure ultimate comfort and UV protection while you take a dip – and the best part is, they look super stylish, too.
Elevate your pool patio or deck this summer with these 10 pool shade ideas
Get your backyard pool summer-ready with these looks – there are all sorts of styles to choose from.
1. Install a shade sail over your pool
One of our favorite ways to create shade anywhere on a plot is with a shade sail. They're affordable, easy to install, and add a sculptural, modern aesthetic.
As Managing Director at Caribbean Blinds (opens in new tab), Stuart Dantzic, says, 'Fabric shades add a splash of color and that Mediterranean feel to a poolside and are available in an extensive range of materials, designs, and colorways.'
In this luxurious pool, they've been suspended from the trunks of nearby trees to create a spot of respite from the sun. The neutral tone works well with the classic surroundings, but you could pick a brighter shade to make more of a statement with your pool canopy ideas.
What's more, a waterproof fabric shade will keep off any summer showers, adds Stuart.
2. Keep off the heat with a pergola nearby
Pergolas are a classic way to create shade in a garden. Position one close enough to your pool and it will shelter an area of the water from the sun, as well as provide a lovely place to lounge after your swim. For smaller pools, you could go one step further and build your pergola over the pool completely, or above a section of it.
Modern aluminum pergolas that feature rotating louvered roofs offer a contemporary alternative to fabric shades, explains Stuart, while allowing you to play with light and shade.
By investing in a shading product constructed from a corrosion-resistant material, such as aluminum, that's treated with a water repellent and self-clean coating, it won't be damaged by splashes from the pool. Plus, it will be able to withstand all types of weather, Stuart adds – even rain and snow.
We love the central olive tree as part of the pool landscaping ideas in this setup, too – what a way to make a statement (and provide even more shade).
3. Cover your pool deck with an awning
If you've got a small plunge pool, hot tub, or swim spa on your patio or deck, then a fabric garden awning will keep it sheltered from the sun's rays.
On this rustic cabin's deck, the canvas awning simply extends as part of the roof to shelter the seating and above ground pool. But there are lots of designs that can be installed on an exterior wall that open and retract to create shade easily when needed. It's an effective (and generally, quite affordable) option for a sunny pool deck.
4. Create shade with tropical plants
Planting lots of greenery around your pool will create a jungle-like vibe as well as keep the area cool. There are lots of lovely tropical plants to choose from – but ferns with their feathery fronds have to be one of our favorites.
This beautiful show garden, featuring a swim spa, is the perfect example. And there are lots of other stunning pool design ideas to get inspired by here, too, including the sleek deck and the outdoor shower installed on a statement backdrop of overlapping, metallic discs.
5. Position a parasol to the side of your swimming pool
If you haven't invested in one of the best garden parasols yet, summer is the perfect time to do so.
They're easy to put up or down whenever you need a bit of shelter and less of a commitment (and more affordable) than permanent shade structures. Plus, there are lots of designs available, from simple, colored styles to chic oversized cantilever umbrellas that can be adjusted as the sun moves.
Position one or two near your pool's edge – perhaps near the steps, shallow end, or if you have one, the baja shelf. That way, you can lounge in the cool while enjoying the water.
6. Build up a sloped landscape with boulders and plants
A subtle way to create a bit more shade for your pool is to build up a rugged landscape around it that resembles the great outdoors.
Try landscaping with boulders around the edges as well as adding plenty of plants. For larger pools, you could take the look a step further and build a cooling grotto for sheltering from the sun.
This approach complements natural pools beautifully, but is a great way to soften more classic styles, too.
7. Opt for a covered seating area in your pool
For the ultimate in luxury outdoor living, consider adding a shaded seating area that extends out over your pool.
This gorgeous daybed, surrounded by gently lapping water, is the perfect place to lounge. The tiled roof will keep the sun's glare away, and will cast shade over areas of the water throughout the day, too.
The use of levels, sleek paving, and a baja shelf with sun loungers complete this setup's chic look. Throw a pool party in a space like this and your guests will never want to leave.
8. Screen one side of your pool to block the sun
Garden walls aren't just for providing privacy and defining boundaries – when positioned with careful consideration of how the sun moves throughout the day, they can also create shade.
In this exotic scheme, a neutral-toned wall lines one side of the narrow infinity pool, as well as the covered daybed. As demonstrated, it opens the opportunity to add a soothing water feature, too – another stylish way to cool down a pool. And for extra greenery, you could also add wall-hung planters to create a stylish living wall.
Avoid enclosing all sides of your pool, however, otherwise you'll prevent a cooling breeze from passing through.
9. Install your pool on a lower level
Pool shade ideas call for shelter in one way or another, and one way to do this is to work with the levels in your plot.
For instance, building a raised pool patio in the most exposed area of your yard means there won't be much nearby to create shade throughout the day. But install it on a lower tier of your plot and, depending on the aspect, it's more likely that you'll benefit from the shade of the house, or the trees, plants, and other garden features positioned higher up.
This layout, with its natural-style rockery, is a great example, and those boulders soften the slope pleasingly, too.
10. Extend your patio cover to the edge of your pool
Whatever patio cover you go for, extending it out to the edge of your pool means it should – for at least some of the day – shelter you while you're swimming as well as relaxing poolside.
Notice how the structure creates shade on a large area of this pool, for instance. Add some stylish garden furniture and maybe one of the best BBQs nearby and you'll have the perfect base for summer outdoor living.
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.