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Easy Guide to Types of Outdoor Shade Structures


One of the best ways to relax when at home is to sit outside and enjoy some quality time with family or some me time that you so desperately need. However, exposure to sun rays for an extensive period is not advisable. So, how do you eat your cake and still have it? The answer lies in shade structures.

With such a setup, you can enjoy relaxing outside with no negative side effects. The fact that outdoor shade structures come in different types, designs, and colors means that you get to choose one that suits your preference. The different types can pose a head-scratching problem for someone who wants to fit one of these edifices in their garden or backyard.

To ensure that you get well-acquainted with the types before you head down to the store or go online to buy one, we’ll be discussing the different types of these constructions. You can rest assured that our explanation will provide you with the information you need to choose the one that best suits you. Without further ado, let’s begin…

Patio Cover

This is designed to hang and protect the patio of your home so you can sit on your patio without being afraid of the sun or rain. When added to your home, it provides a cozy space that can be used for so many activities. For instance, you can invite friends over for an evening of outdoor dining and make use of the patio. Another example is to use it as your yoga meditation space.

You can design the cover to allow the passage of light but not harmful UV rays by using transparent corrugated panels. Doing this will change the ambiance of the space. If you want to give the area an opaque, shady feel, you can use opaque roofing panels.


Constructed with cedar, pressure-treated wood, or vinyl, pergolas are constructed with four upright beams that support a patterned and somewhat open roof. You can visit to learn how to determine if a particular wood is pressure-treated. There is no covering around the structure’s sides. You can choose to have your pergola connected to your home or another outdoor structure or leave it to stand alone.

Since they aren’t designed with a covering on the sides, air circulation is at its maximum. Also, the partially opened roof allows sunlight to come through.


However, if you want privacy, you should consider adding screens or sheer curtains to the sides. To make it more aesthetically pleasing, especially when erected in gardens, you can grow vines such as honeysuckle and wisteria on these edifices.

As we said, one of the main benefits of pergolas is their allowance of air circulation. Also, your view of your garden or yard is not blocked by walls or such if you don’t add screens or curtains. You don’t have to spend a fortune to erect one, as they don’t need many materials to construct. The main disadvantages are that the structure can be affected by termites, and elements of weather can damage it over time.


Gazebos are either octagonal or hexagonal and are constructed with pressure-treated wood or cedar, a lattice, and a strong roof. You may want to read this article to compare pressure-treated wood and cedar. They also come with half-open side railings as well as further decorative elements. You can easily find them in spots that boast nice views.

If you choose this structure, you can decide to attach it to your wall. Alternatively, just like the pergola, having it stand alone is another option. Also, you may choose to add screens to cover the sides. Folks do this to stop bugs from having access to the inside area.


Choosing a gazebo means you’ll get enough shade. The decorative elements, as well as some other features, can always be changed. This means you can always make such changes to give the structure a new look.

If you want to erect this structure, you’ll need a large space. This can be a disadvantage for those with limited yard space. Bear in mind that the construction and maintenance of the structure’s elaborate design can be costly. Therefore, you need to be sure that it is something that will be affordable over time.


If you see an outdoor construction with a pitched roof that is fully covered and has all the sides fully opened, then you’re looking at a pavilion. Compared to other types we’ve discussed so far, this is the biggest of the lot.

An interesting thing about pavilions is that they give you several creative design opportunities you can explore, just like Pergola. Some of them have four support posts, while others have six. You can also choose to attach it to your house or leave it freestanding.

With pavilions, you get enough shade, given their large size. Also, there is adequate protection from the elements of the weather. When installed in a home, it can increase the property value of your home.

You need to consider the cons of erecting a pavilion before you do so. This includes a large footprint, an extended construction process, and the use of more materials. If you are good with all these, then you can go ahead.


There are different types of outdoor structures you can choose from when you decide to install one in your backyard or garden. In this article, we’ve discussed in detail the four main types to enable you to pick the right one for you. So, what are you waiting for? Go set up one of these structures right away.