The first time mankind had to shade his eyes from the sun in order to see, he knew that shade was important. The Romans liked the idea of shelter from the sun, also. On hot, sunny days, they put cloth coverings held up by wooden poles over much of the coliseum. Sailcloth or canvas began to be used in the nineteenth century to form shade. Unfortunately, a combination of sun and rain would rot these shades out fairly rapidly, causing the necessity for replacements on a regular basis. Technological advances made in the twentieth century gave us lightweight cloth that was water proof and had protection from ultraviolet rays and mold. This cloth comes in a variety of designs to fit in with a variety of styles.
One of the more popular styles of patio shades is the umbrella. It can be a stand-alone model, or come as the center post of a table. Dining out on the patio in the shade is a restful activity, and these umbrella patio sun shades give you that option. Raising and lowering is quick and easy, allowing for either sun or shadow as you wish to have it. The stand-alone models allow for side by side seating arrangements.
A cantilevered umbrella has a different type of flexibility as a patio sun shade. It can be tilted, raised, and lowered to provide shade exactly where you want it without having to move your chair.
Lattices angled to give shade from the most common direction from which the sun would shine into a patio form yet another type of patio shades. A combination of a solid and a latticed roof to the patio gives a sheltered nook with the ability to catch any breezes that might be passing by.
Awnings may also form patio sun shades. One of the nice features of awnings is that they may be easily retractable either by a crank or with the push of a button if they are motorized. Just like the other patio shades that are made of fabric, they are treated for UV, mold resistance, and come in a variety of fabrics and colors.
An easy type of movable patio shade that can easily be stored in the garage or an outbuilding is a gazebo. These versatile constructs come with or without sheer panels that hang down from the sides, allowing the breeze to blow through while offering a shaded seating area whenever you want one. When not deployed as sun filters, these panels may be tied back to the four corners of the gazebo.
Green and growing vines cover pergolas, making them the most garden-like of the patio shades. With the vines offering an outpouring of oxygen from photosynthesis, these may be the most comfortable of the patio shades available, although they are the ones that are the most seasonal.