19 Ideas for Your New Shade Structure

While the weather might have you thinking about how to get more sun rather than seeking out the shade, now's a good time to start setting your house up for Summer fun and entertaining. And one of the most important things for outdoor time is a cool, shady place to hang out. One option is shade sails, which have been hugely popular over the past few years. But perhaps a more unique shade structure is more your style. Take a look at some of these shade ideas to get your creative juices flowing. And then, once you've settled on your dream shade structure, got one of Service Central's shade sail experts to give you a quote so you'll have the coolest entertaining space this Summer…

1. Simple Shade Structure

Simple tin shade structure

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It doesn't get much more simple than a tin roof and concrete blocks supporting a steel structure. It's basic, but it looks great and would work a charm -- both to keep the sun out and the rain at bay.

2. Laser Cut Shade Structure

Laser cut shade structure

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The cost of custom laser-cutting has dropped so substantially over the past few years, it's now more than viable to have your own unique design cut out for your shade structure. Have a favourite pattern, poem or image? Have it laser cut into your shade structure. Heck, you could even get your favourite footy team's logo inscribed on it -- you're only limited by your imagination.

3. Versatile Shade Structure

Tea-tree shade structure

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This shade structure has got it all going on: Polycarbonate sheeting on top to keep the rain out. Tea tree branches under that for a rustic look and to provide some dappled shade, and then awning-style shades on the side to block out the hot afternoon sun or the wind. Combine all that with a built in bench seat and some rice paper lanterns strung for effect and (IMHO) you have a winner!

4. Living Shade Structure

Growing shade structure

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Shade structures don't have to be made out of shade cloth, timber or steel. They can be natural, growing elements. Grape vines are a classic choice which serves the double benefit of losing leaves to maximise winter sun. But any creeper will do the trick. Simply set up the guide wires and let it grow!

5. Simply A-Frame Shade Structure

A-frame shade structure

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This A-frame is a unique take on your average shade structure! Simple construction, but loads of appeal. Simple and chic.

6. Integrated Seating Shade Structure

Steel shade structure with integrated seat

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Here's a clever idea. This shade structure continues down the side for extra shade -- particularly in the afternoon -- and then turns into a levitating bench seat. Such a great effect.

7. Curved Shade Structure

Curved shade structure with battens

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Now we're getting a bit fancy. But it goes to prove that you can get very creative and even sculptural with your shade structures.

8. Fabric Shade Structure

Simple fabric shade structure

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Visit your local fabric supplies store. Drape for effect over a basic timber frame and you have a very stylish, very chic shade structure. I recommend you wear the extra expense and get a fabric suitable for outdoor use so you don't have to climb up there and replace it every year!

9. Bamboo Screen Shade Structure

Curved bamboo shade structure

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You've seen those cheap bamboo screens before, right? Well fix them to a frame or even pull them taught between two objects (say your house and the fence) for insta-shade at a rock bottom price. Oh, and it looks good too! Especially once the vines have had a chance to grow over it.

10. Rusted Shade Structure

Rusted steel and polycarbonate shade structure

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This modern rustic look combines rusting steel with sheets of polycarbonate to great effect. This idea could easily be replicated in your own garden. Not just shady, but waterproof too!

11. Timber Shade Structure

Timber shade structure

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Here's another shade structure made from small branches or saplings. They look great on mass, don't they? Combined with the timber structure, this shady verandah verges on looking too idyllic!

12. Outdoor Living Under a Shade Structure

Bamboo shade structure

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Well this is really all about the styling. Put a rug on the lawn? Well we've already got the couch and floral decorations… sure, why not?!

13. Daybed Shad Structure

Timber cube shade structure with roman blind covering

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I'm good enough at napping without this incredible daybed! This shade structure could look amazing in your backyard so you can lounge around guilt free.

14. Solar Panel Shade Structure

Solar panel shade structure

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Not enough people make a statement of their solar panels. Use them as a stylish high tech shade structure, I say!

15. Parabolic Shade Structure

Parabolic shade structure

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Math fans will appreciate this parabolic shade structure. Just tell your steel fabricator you want "-2x2". I'm sure there won't be any problems with that at all.

16. Bamboo and Fabric Shade Structure

Bamboo and fabric shade structure

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A simple bamboo structure combined with what is essentially a large vertical blind will provide the perfect spot for you chickens to forage. Because happy chicken mean tastier scrambled eggs.

17. Woven Shade Structure

Woven shade structure

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Please don't ask me to explain how this magic shade structure was created. All I know is it's casting shade. It looks incredible. And once you work out how it's done you must tell me.

18. Stick Shade Structure

Stick shade structure

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So stunning. Take me there!

19. Traditional Shade Sail

Shade sail with lights

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Simple shade sail

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What list of shade structures would be complete without our old favourite, the shade sail? A simple shade sail (or three) can look great over your entertaining area or pool. Just be aware of where those poles go so you're not blocking off important thoroughfares. Ideally, you'll be able to string it to an exiting building on two of its edges. Be sure to get your shade sail installed by a professional -- they can experience an enormous amount of uplift, and it'd be terrible if your shade sail ended up in someone else's roof!

Which shade structure is your favourite?

About the Author

Brodie Norris runs Lunchbox Architect which features one affordable architecturally designed home every weekday. Recently we featured a home with a shade structure that acts like a convertible car -- it can open up for the sun or close over for protection.

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