Spending time on the deck is a favorite pastime for many. Entertaining, grilling, reading a book, taking a nap or simply just enjoying the scenery is among things to do with the added living space. Shade is important while on the deck. Sitting in the sun on the deck is not as enjoyable. Look at different types of shade that best fits your deck and your pocketbook.
Build a roof over the deck. Extend the existing roof of the home over the deck. Building this type of roof gives the deck area a more permanent and seamless look to the overall design. Materials for extending the roof should be the same type of roofing material that is currently on the home. You will need experience in woodworking for building this type of detailed roof. It is less expensive and simpler to build roof design is the similar, but using plastic corrugated panels. Place 4-by-4-inch wooden posts in the ground around the deck and build a frame around the top of the posts. Attach the corrugated plastic panels to the top of the frame, creating a roof.
Pergolas are an alternative to closed roofs. Pergolas are open-weave designs made from wood or plastic. Pergolas are more customizable than a roof in that the whole roof or only a partial section is covered. Due to the open weave, the area underneath still receives some shade and creates a dappled effect on your deck. Pergolas are a framework of wooden 4-by-4-inch posts with 1-by-8-inch boards across the top. Pergolas are a better choice for an open-air feel when it is not too windy or rainy. Hang flower baskets from the pergola for color and decoration. Awnings are popular as well. Awnings come in almost every color and size imaginable. A benefit to the awning is that it is retractable and you can roll or fold it back when you want sun rather than shade. You can choose an awning with an electric mechanism, which makes unfurling or closing the awning as easy as pressing a button. The mechanisms are attached to the side of the home. There are special systems for freestanding decks. Design options include stripes, solids, floral, plaid and other designs. This is a good choice for low-cost shade and the ability to have sun on the deck when you want it. If you have a freestanding deck, you can build a fixed awning. Build supports with 4-by-4-inch wood posts and a wooden or plastic PVC pipe frame on top. Attach canvas cloth to the top of the framework.
Large umbrellas, set on tables or the deck itself create shade, as needed. Open the umbrella and insert the pole in the center of tables with umbrella inserts. You can buy umbrellas at most discount department stores, garden centers and nurseries. Take the umbrella down in high winds and in the winter and store it. An umbrella will shade one to three people, so the umbrella may be a better choice for smaller households, occasional shade, cost and ease of use.