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The best way to beat the heat while lounging outdoors this summer is to add shade. Here are four ways to shade your space:

  1. Freestanding gazebo. Place a steel-frame gazebo with a cover made from the same acrylic fabric as an awning next to the pool. A gazebo can extend the pool area and create a shady spot for outdoor seating where you’ll feel up to 20 degrees cooler than if you would out in the sun. A typical size is 10 feet by 10 feet, but you can get them as big as 14 feet by 20 feet. You’ll pay around $15 a square foot. A tip: Choose a light color, which will reflect heat instead of absorb it.
  2. Shade canopy. You’ve seen shade canopies on school playgrounds. The same thing will work great in your back yard. The dome-shaped, freestanding structure has a steel frame with a shade screen on top. The knitted screen blocks about 90 percent of the sun’s harmful rays, but you can see through it, so some homeowners place them right over top of the pool. A small one is 18 feet by 18 feet, and large one is 30 feet by 30 feet. The cost: around $5.75 a square foot installed.
  3. Patio cover. If your patio is next to your house, you can cover it with an fabric awning or a see-through shade screen, either attached to the house or installed as a freestanding structure. Choose an acrylic awning if you want one that won’t let the rain through, and install it at a good pitch so water will flow off of it. If you’re not worried about the rain, or if your home is too low to create the necessary pitch, install a flat shade screen, and let water drip through it. Either way, you’ll spend around $13 to $14 a square foot. If your homeowner’s association allow sit, consider aluminum as a permanent cover for a patio or freestanding shade structure in your yard. You’ll pay $15 to $30 a square foot.
  4. Ramada. You can cover your outdoor kitchen or create a backyard gathering place with a permanent ramada, made from materials like stone, tile, wood, metal or masonry block with stucco painted to match your house. You can choose an open or close droof, add electric lights and adorn your ramada with other custom touches. Prices vary greatly for the sturdy, architectural structures, which can cost $7,000 up to $20,000-plus, depending on the features and materials you choose.

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