6 Practical Ways to Provide Delightful Shade on Your Patio

6 Practical Ways to Provide Delightful Shade on Your Patio

 Sun beaming lightly on your skin, gentle breeze caressing your hair, and a scenic view of the beloved city below. This is how most people describe their perfect day on the patio. What they don’t realize with this scene however, is that although the sunlight is desirable, it can also be highly problematic. Luckily we’ve uncovered the 6 ways that restaurants and bars can allow their clientele to enjoy the sun while remaining protected. 

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1) Individual Table Umbrellas

One of the most common ways that bistros and patios provide shade to clients is through putting umbrellas at each table. Due to their easy installation process, some establishments choose to anchor the umbrella through the table where as others may install an umbrella either beside the table or attached to a nearby balcony or railing. Regardless of the installation of the umbrella, it remains easy to install and operate.

In addition to their relatively easy installation, umbrellas are also a  popular choice for shade because they are typically available in an extensive range of shapes,  sizes and styles.  Some of the shapes an umbrella can come in include rectangular, square, circular or even octagonal. For patios the two most common sizes for umbrellas are 6.5' x 10' and 8' x 11', however, an umbrella should be a minimum of 5 feet larger than the area you want shaded. 

image © Infinity Canopy

2) Retractable Awning

Similar to umbrellas, one of the most alluring qualities for retractable awnings is that you can quickly provide shade for an area with minimal effort. This effort can even be reduced depending on your choice for manual or electronic retraction. It's important to recognize however, that an awning controlled by mechanics may have more issues arise as it ages.

image © Eide Structures

image © Eide Structures

3) Fixed Frame Awnings

When a fixed frame awning is installed it not only adds dimension and shape to the location but also saves energy and protects any outdoor furniture from UV rays. Unlike a retractable awning that closes tightly against a structure, a fixed frame awning can be problematic in areas that are subject to heavy winds, rain, and snow. So it is important to consider your climate and choose a material that can support it. 

image © ShadeFX

image © ShadeFX

4) Retractable Roof

Perhaps one of the most alluring qualities about a retractable roof is that it can be drawn during the day to protect guests from UV rays but then can be drawn back at night to allow for star gazing activities. 

Additionally, a completely closed retractable roof provides 100% water protection, cuts down on cooling costs, is durable, and if built beside a home it can block sunlight from entering the rooms that would be otherwise exposed to sunlight. 

One of the only deterrents against a retractable roof is that it requires an outdoor structure such as a pergola, arbor, or trellis, prior to installation since it is mounted above the structure. 

image © Arcadia

image © Arcadia

5) Louvered Roofs

Acting similar to a retractable roof, a louvered roof can be adjusted to open completely, open partially, or the slats can be closed for complete coverage. With a louvered roof guests can enjoy natural light but remain protected from the sun. 

As the structure tends to be built to span across a larger span, lights and other fixtures like fans can be attached to the beams to make the dining outside experience more pleasurable. 

6) Trees + Plants

Perhaps the most preferred method of them all, some designers choose trees and plants to successfully provide shade coverage to the area.  This can be difficult to achieve however since it is hard to gauge the shadow that the tree will provide for the given area.  

image © Arbors Direct

image © Arbors Direct

Whether your businesses chooses to provide umbrellas or use a louvered roof, you want to ensure client satisfaction comes first. This means choosing a shade structure that will offer them protection from the sun yet not hindering on their outdoor dining experience.


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