If you have a beautiful deck or patio on the back of your home but rarely use it one of the reasons may be that you don't have any patio shade. If the temperature gets too hot, particularly if your patio or deck is in the full sun, then it may be too uncomfortable to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful setting. There are a number of different options that you have to choose from that will provide deck shade and keep you cooler and keep you protected from the potentially harmful rays of the sun.

Probably the cheapest and most portable way to provide patio shade is to buy a freestanding portable shade canopy. They only take a couple of people a few minutes to set up. You can find these canopies at any home improvement center. They are basically a tall tent. The nice thing about them is that they can simply be removed during the times when it is nice enough to sit outside without the need for shade. Another nice feature is that the sides can be zipped up in case you have a problem with insects and mosquitoes. The main drawback is that they are very lightweight and can be lifted by the wind. This would require you to somehow attach it to your patio or deck. Depending on your situation, this may not be possible. Even if you were able to attach the portable canopy to your deck these shade creators are still easily damaged by high winds. You would need to disassemble the structure each time that high winds were expected.

Another option is to install a freestanding canopy awning. These awnings are covered by fabric and they are bolted to your deck. If your patio, however, is made of concrete then this might not be an option. The fabric on these types of awnings will last about 15 years.

This type of canopy is rigid and able to withstand most weather that will be thrown its way. Strong winds are usually not a problem although you will want to remove the fabric if hurricane strength winds are on the way.

One of the drawbacks of a canopy awning is that it does not easily provide you with a way to enjoy the sun should you want to do so. You would have to remove the fabric each time.

If you have some woodworking skills you could build a pergola over your deck or patio. The wood for this could be inexpensive and it will add beauty to your deck. In order to provide shade you plant vines so that they will grow and provide shade.

If you want the best of both worlds you may want to install a retractable awning. This will give you patio shade when the heat of the sun is too hot but give you opportunity to enjoy its warmth on days that you don't need the shade. The retractable awning will attach directly to your house. You will have an option to either crank out the awning by hand or to push a button and have a motor operate the awning. You can even attach a vertical screen if you want to block the suns rays as it is setting or rising.

One of the possible drawbacks is that the awning only covers so much area. If you need something that covers a larger area then this option might not be for you. You will also need to remember to retract the awning when heavy winds are coming. It is an expensive lesson if the awning gets damaged.

If you need patio shade that covers your entire deck then you probably want to consider a retractable canopy. The canopy is a much larger structure and attaches to the house. These are not great options if you are adding the canopy to an already existing deck. It is best to design the deck with the canopy option in mind. Support posts will be required for retractable canopy awnings.