Do you like to host guests at your home, especially outside? To enjoy one another’s company while you let yourselves tan, if only a little bit? 

Or maybe you enjoy your “me” time. On the weekends, you love to go sit in your favorite sunny outdoor living area with a cocktail and a good read. 

But there is one problem with both of those scenarios. That glare. Or in the summertime, that beautiful sun, spoiled by the sweltering heat. 

Whether you like to spend your downtime with friends and family or by your lonesome, there is a solution for the more undesirable personality traits of the sun. You can install shade structures. And not only will these landscape structures work practically, they are also one of the most gorgeous ways to give your backyard shade. 

Examples of Affordable Shade Structures for Your Smaller Outdoor Space

Examples of Affordable Shade Structures for Your Smaller Outdoor Space

Sunburn, uncomfortable sweat, the inability to see your electronic screen because of a pesky glare. There are tons of reasons homeowners like you turn to shade structures to provide some much-needed relief. 

Some people just want to add some more value to their living space. Others yet want a shade structure that can turn their run-of-the-mill backyard into a playground adventure for their little ones. 

Shade structures might sound like your best new idea. After all, you can make it a fun DIY project and build them yourself. Why not? 

Well, some people fear they do not have enough space. Maybe you live in a duplex or townhome with minimal outdoor space. Or perhaps you do not live in your forever home, and you do not want to invest too much time or money into something you have to leave behind when you move. 

These are actually the reasons why you do want to look into these structures for your yard. We have the best shade structures for small spaces. The list you will find below has some that you can both move around your yard or even take with you when you finally find your forever home. Most of these are also simple to build and budget-friendly. 

Plus, if you want to keep your prying neighbors’ noses out of your business and off your personal property, look no further. We have the ten best shade structures to turn your home’s exterior into your favorite part of your house. Let’s get started. 

Canopy Shade Structures

Think of an island oasis. A tropical resort none other than paradise. Where you spend mornings at the spa and evenings oceanside. The afternoons are irrelevant because you spend them going wherever the breeze takes you. 

Now think of your home. You love it, it’s your source of comfort. But it doesn’t have too much in common with that island oasis, right? 

That doesn’t have to be true. With canopy shade structures, you can duplicate that tropical bliss that you usually only feel on vacation abroad. 

As far as backyard canopy ideas, canopy shade structures are hard to beat. You can opt for just one, or add several to your yard for that true cabana feel. There are countless colors for you to choose from. You can also cover all four sides of this structure with curtains for an extra layer of privacy. 

Or maybe you are looking for commercial shade structures as a business owner. If that is the case, you can use these canopies for superior shade around outdoor benches and sidewalk areas. 

3-5 Point Sail Shade

Hilaire Belloc once said: “The sea drives truth into a man like salt.” 

And what better way to stay true to your vision of a beautiful home than with a sail shade to remind you of the sea? We get it; a three- to five-point sail shade may not be as dramatic as that quote. But it is a perfect cross between simplicity and dramatic elegance. 

This structure comes in three-, four- or five-point designs. You can decide how tall your own one will be and where to attach it, too. You can pick just one to stand out among your backyard hang-out spot. But you can also go for layers of different sail shades or a combination of them that stand by themselves. 

Its material drapes to give the look of lush curves. Consider this type of shade structure for your pool, playground for your tots or just about anywhere you can think of. 

Retractable Pergola

Rectangular Sun-Shade Sail Canopy

In keeping with the theme of dramatic sailing quotes, we have another one for you. 

Sailor Bernard Moitessier once said: “A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.”

But do not underscore the value of simplicity. Though not childlike, a rectangular sun-shade sail canopy is beautiful in its simplicity. Plus, it’s a fun DIY project to complete on your own or with a family member or friend.  

If you gear toward the vintage, think about using an actual old sail. It is both stunning and inexpensive. 

Double-Vent Gazebo With Netting

Think of that beautiful gazebo you saw at the last wedding you went to. Beautiful, yes, but way too large to put in your backyard– right? 

It is indeed too unwieldy to put in your backyard (most likely). But you can create one to-scale if you choose a double-vent gazebo with netting. 

You can have the best of both worlds. That is, the best of both worlds if you don’t love the idea of mosquitoes eating you alive all year round. You can have netting to keep those pesky, flying critters at bay and a space to chill out from the blazing sun. 

Retractable Pergola

Some people complain about this “age of convenience” that we are in, so to speak. 

But we can all agree that remote controls for your TV and smart speakers are a blessing of sorts. Why not bring that sense of leisure right to your backyard (literally)? 

Consider a retractable pergola. You can have the classic feel of a solid pergola. You can also experience the value of a shade structure that lets in light when you want to. But best of all? You get the choice to add shade to the top of your pergola, all at the click of a button. 

Diensweek Patio Awning

Do you love traditional outdoor designs? Maybe you can’t get enough of all the classic, suburban homes on the market right now. We get that! 

Diensweek patio awnings could be what you are looking for to keep up with that aesthetic. The majority of them are 100 percent retractable, too. This means you will have an easy time extending it when it starts to rain cats and dogs. It also means you will have an easy time retracting it when you catch your first glimpse of sunshine after a cloudy day. 

You or your local landscaping company can install one right above your front or back door. This will leave you with a choice that works well as shade for a patio or for your front porch. 

Offset Outdoor Umbrella

Offset Outdoor Umbrella

Pool umbrellas might bring back a wave of nostalgia for you. Pool days with your family as a kid, relaxing days off at your local pool. But you might not want the standard outdoor umbrella as an eyesore on your home’s exterior. 

Have you seen an offset one, though? They add an asymmetrical dimension to your backyard. And they get the job done with a modern appeal. 

Anthem Patio Shade Structures

Outdoor dining areas. You covet them, don’t you? 

They don’t have to be as expensive as you think they are. Not when you build an Anthem patio shade. You can add an outdoor dining table underneath it. It acts as a Jekyll/Hyde type of situation, but in the best way possible. 

Have a chilled lemonade or icy cocktail during the day. And in the evening, enjoy a candlelit dinner under your new shade structure. 

Roman-Style Pergola 

The Romans certainly got architecture right. You can tell when you check out the Roman-style pergola. 

The shade that you attach to the roof of the pergola comes in a variety of colors. And when you are ready to draw that shade, it slides along a wire on the top. That means a smooth move with none of that shrieking, nails-on-a-chalkboard sound you might expect from other pergola shades. 

Outdoor Hanging Shade Curtain

Remember that simple is often the best way to go. So let’s finish out strong, with an outdoor hanging shade curtain. 

You can turn your backyard into a fairytale oasis here, with bamboo or similar rods crossing one another as a base. Then, add sheer curtains all around and string lights atop the poles. Last of all, place some beautiful dining furniture in the center and take a sigh of relief and relaxation at the end of each day. You won’t be able to help it. 


After reading through these patio shade designs, we know that you have a vision. You already had a rough draft of one for your overall home and how you wanted to improve it. Now, you have one that stands out in your mind for what to add to your outdoor living space. But how do you bring that vision to life? 

You come to the landscaping experts at Exscape Designs. Every great and powerful design starts small, with an idea. But we want to make your dream a reality. We want to turn your idea into something you look forward to coming home to every day. 

And that starts with you. We do landscape maintenance and commercial snow removal, but we do so much more than that. We do design and build, but we do not stop there. We believe in enhancing your life with positive interactions. We make the promise that no client will ever be left behind, and we fulfill that promise daily. You will see that when you check out our portfolio

What’s the holdup? Why the wait? There is no time like the present to bring your own unique vision to life. Contact Exscape Designs today to get started.

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