15 Tips to Shading Your Outdoor Playground

If you have a playground in your backyard, you should definitely consider shading the area to make it more functional and convenient all year round. Here are some of the best ways to shade your outdoor playground.

Most people love spending time outdoors, especially in areas where the climate is comfortable and favorable. The outdoors provides you with perfect open-air dinner parties and also the opportunity to enjoy outdoor barbecues. But that only happens with a perfectly shaded playground

You can use several tips to add shades to your outdoor playground to make it functional and comfortable all year round. Consider planting trees, introducing patio umbrellas, gazebos, patio curtains, or a swimming pool as some of the tips to shading your outdoor playground. 

Continue reading to discover other functional ways yet stylish ways to shade your outdoor playground. 

Planting Trees

If you need something affordable and eco-friendly, then you should consider planting trees near the outdoor playground areas. You can’t just plant any tree because some trees don’t provide shade. There are a lot of varieties to choose from in a tree nursery near you. However, if you don’t know anything about planting trees, you can hire a landscape designer to help you out. 

Mother and daughter playing outdoor.
Planting evergreen trees in your outdoor playground will provide shade all year round.

If you want to use your outdoor playground in both fall and winter, you should avoid deciduous trees. Instead, opt for the evergreen ones to get a year-round shade service. The only virtue you must show with growing such trees is patience since they take several years to grow tall and provide the required shade. But you’ll love the results when it finally shows, hence worth the wait. 

It may interest you to know that these trees may also lower the energy bills that you use in cooling and heating your home. The more reason you should plant them. 

Consider Installing a Gazebo in the Yard

The best thing about gazebos is that you can put them both in your front and backyard. They provide an excellent seating area where you can relax to get some fresh air, have family meetings, read magazines and novels, or sit to meditate. 

A gazebo is an outdoor open room that will provide its own shade and at the same time protect you against elements. So, if you can afford it and you have enough space in your outdoor playground for it, you don’t need to think twice about this home improvement unit. 

A gazebo near the lake.
Installing a gazebo in your backyard will provide a shaded seating area.

This gazebo will also turn out beneficial to your pets and children as the sun moves. It doesn’t only provide shade on the inside but around it as well. When your kids and pets are tired from all the jumping and running around the outdoor playground area, this gazebo will serve them. They can sit and rest in the outside shade around the gazebo while you relax inside. 

How About a Putting a Pavilion Where You Can Rest When the Sun Is Overhead

You may want to chill at the outdoor playground but the sun overhead won’t just let you have your way. Putting a pavilion there could be an excellent idea. 

Compared to canopies, pavilions are more durable, though they work in the same manner. It’s a shade structure that is semi-permanent but sturdy enough to withstand elements. They have four corner posts and a piece of fabric on top to provide shade. They are flexible enough to allow you to easily move them to whatever part of your patio you want them placed. 

To make pavilions more durable and stable, you can attach them to the ground or your deck to protect you daily from sun and rain. This means that you can comfortably enjoy your outdoor activity regardless of the weather. Homeowners looking for a more sturdy and stylish shade at an affordable budget can consider installing pavilions in their outdoor playgrounds. 

Pavilions are not that expensive to construct compared to erecting a permanent shade. With 600 dollars, you can install a reasonable pavilion that will give you many years of service before you can replace or repair it. You only need to install and care for it properly to enjoy its benefits. And, you can install it yourself or hire a handyperson to do it for you. 

Buying Patio Umbrellas Is Another Excellent Tip

Need to add more shade quickly for a meeting set to take place in a few hours in your outdoor playground? Get a patio umbrella. If you have your unique design and details to include in your patio umbrella, you can get it made. 

Otherwise, it’s easier to buy one online or head to various local stores selling them. You can buy patio umbrellas from patio furniture stores, home improvement stores, and garden centers. Plus, they come in several colors and designs to choose from. So, if you have a specific patio theme that you want to work with, you’ll surely get a patio umbrella that fits your needs. 

A patio umbrella.
As patio umbrellas come in a variety of colors and designs, you can easily choose the right one for you.

Since most patio tables have a hole in the middle, you can opt for such a table and an umbrella with a pole. All you have to do is insert this pole in the hole, and you’re good to go. Also, there are several standalone options to select, including off-set or conventional options.

With off-set patio umbrellas, you can place the base anywhere you like as long as you’ll be directing its shade to your sitting area. They’re more expensive than all the other patio umbrella options. However, they’ll serve you longer compared to the rest. 

For A Temporary Shade, Get a Canopy

As mentioned above, canopies are not durable or permanent but can provide extra shade whenever necessary. Getting a canopy is an excellent option for homeowners who have shades in their yard but may require extra once in a while. If you belong to this group of homeowners, you can buy one that you’ll be popping up every time you need to. 

The best part about canopies is that you can quickly move them to your desired location. Also, you can remove and store them easily until when you next need them. Since they’re removable, homeowners can use them while waiting for their trees to grow. If you want them stylish and of higher quality, then you’ll have to dig more into your pocket. 

You Can Install a Permanent Shade

Do you have an uncovered patio or deck, and you’re looking for ways to transform it into a beautiful shade? Why not put a roof over it? And you can make the roof permanent. Although a bit expensive, this is an excellent option for homeowners, and it’s worth every single dollar that you can spend on it. This idea also provides a permanent shade to your patio or deck, enhancing its look significantly. 

A uncovered patio or deck.
If you have an uncovered patio or deck, consider putting a permanent roof over it.

There are a lot more requirements for this idea. First, you’ll have to get a building permit from the local authorities then hire a building contractor. This lengthy process means that you have to exercise patience here, as you did with planting trees. It may take longer to install a permanent shade, but it will eventually happen. A permanent shade adds elegance to your outdoor playground. 

Adding a Balcony Is Also a Great Idea

Here is another shading tip to your outdoor playground that may also force you to exercise patience due to its lengthy process. The balcony is also a permanent structure, so you have to get a building permit to start this project.  

You’ll also need to hire a contractor for the job if you’re not one yourself. Adding a balcony is an expensive project but will increase the value of your home. So, if you have the money and time for this project, you can use it to add shade to your outdoor playground. 

The best thing about balconies is that you can use them any time of the day, whether there’s rain or sunshine. It will protect your family against elements. 

A Pergola Can Help To Provide the Shade You Need

Pergolas are structures with open roofs that you can install in your outdoor playground to get the needed shade. They offer versatility in complementing different architectural styles in your patio, hence enhancing its visual appeal significantly. For this reason, you’ll find them in most outdoor playgrounds

Moreover, pergolas are affordable, with several options to choose from, and you can get them on almost any budget. Just head to any home improvement stores near you, and you’ll get a pergola that will suit your needs. You can also find them online, coming in various designs to pick from. 

A pegrola with furniture.
Since pergolas are quite affordable, you can easily purchase or DIY one for your backyard.

Pergola is a DIY project, which is why most homeowners prefer them. You can put a fabric covering on the ring of your standalone pergolas to enable you to cover and uncover them whenever necessary. 

Patio Curtains

If you already have an existing solid roof in your outdoor playground space, such as a pergola, and pavilion, adding patio curtains will increase your protection against the sun. They are quick and easy to install and affordable as well. Since they’re flexible, you can open them, get enough air circulation, and close them as you wish. 

Remember, your patio roof only protects you from the upper part by blocking the sun, leaving the sides vulnerable. Here is where the patio curtains come in handy. By blocking the sun from the sides of your patio, you get to enjoy sitting on your outdoor playground longer 

If you don’t have patio curtains or you can’t afford them, use whatever is available to achieve your goal. Your shower curtains or tapestry will also ensure you achieve your goal by increasing the shade in your patio. 

Make Your Outdoor Playground Look Luxurious With Cabanas

You can go wild with an extensive range of cabanas to make your yard look luxurious. A cabana can be a recreational structure or an indigenous hut, as long as it provides the shade and shelter you want. They are common along beaches, so adding them next to your swimming pool gives your outdoor playground a beach-like environment. 

You can make your cabana from wood, grass, tiles, or fabric, whatever suits your needs. Most people use cabanas as changing rooms when they come out of a beach or swimming pool. So, to make yours more effective, you can introduce curtains or drapes to all its four sides to cover it up.

A cabana on the beach.
Installing a cabana will add an exotic touch to your outdoor playground.

How About Putting Awnings in Your Outdoor Playground 

You’ve probably come across them in most outdoor playgrounds. Awnings are not only simple to put but will also give you the desired outdoor shade. You have two options to put these structures up so you can get shade from them. 

Attach them to the posts of a patio design or directly to your home. The first option is permanent. You also have three different awning types to choose from, fabric retractable, solid metal, and fabric stationary. 

Fabric retractable types are more versatile, as the name suggests. With them, you get to choose when to cover and uncover your patio, depending on the weather. Their prices vary depending on many factors, quality, size, manual/motorized functionality, etc. Depending on your budget, you can get one that will fit your needs perfectly. 

If you want the sturdiest awning among the three options, purchase the solid metal types. Manufacturers use aluminum materials to make them to ensure they offer an extended period of service, withstanding both rain, sunshine, and wind perfectly. 

Finally, the stationery fabric, which is also fairly sturdy, is an excellent choice. Most homeowners find it easier to choose this type of awnings for their customizable feature. You can get exactly what you want for your patio when it comes to stationary fabric awnings. They come in several colors and designs to choose from. You can get a color and style that will perfectly blend with your outdoors theme. 

You Can Never Go Wrong With a Palapa

Though a bit similar to a pavilion, a palapa is mainly roof-thatched using palm leaves and has wooden posts at the four corners. It provides a tropical look in an outdoor playground. So, if that is what you want to achieve, go for it. 

You will see palapas mainly on the beaches and desert areas, in hot weather places. Palapa’s thatched roofs will indeed protect you from both the sun and rain. This feature makes it helpful in providing both shade and shelter, depending on the weather. 

You don’t require much to install a palapa in your outdoor playground, only a few building tools and an online guide to get things going. If necessary, you can hire a building contractor to help you out. 

Create a Fence or Wall around Your Outdoor Playground

These two are only effective early in the morning or late in the evening, but not when the sun is overhead. This is because you can’t cover them up. But, there are ways you can make them useful. You can introduce a wall to your covered patio to extend the time you can sit and enjoy the shade. Alternatively, introduce hanging plants like grapevines to your fence or wall to enhance the shade at the outdoor playground. 

A fence.
Creating a fence or wall is effective early in the morning and late in the evening.

Hanging Shade Sails Is Simple and Easy 

Besides being simple and easy to hand, they’re also eye-catching and will look attractive on your outdoor playground. Shade sails are pieces of several fabrics designed in a triangular shape. You only need to stretch them between the structures in your outdoor playground to get the needed shade. Depending on your style and the color you choose to work with, shade sails can look sleek and modern or even rustic if you want. 

An outdoor playground with a shade.
Shade sails are pieces of several fabrics designed in a triangular shape.

No homeowner would want to buy something that won’t fit their outdoor playground space. For this reason, you can order custom-made sails that you’re sure will fit or take risks and buy them from your local home improvement store. Most garden centers also have them. Hanging shade sails on your outdoor playground will surely get you the shade that you need so much. 

You can also introduce a plastic tunnel over to your outdoor playground

Most people use plastic tunnels as greenhouses for their gardens. It is transparent enough to allow the natural light to penetrate, which is what plants need to grow. Besides allowing light to penetrate, they can also protect your growing plants from excess heat from the sun, rain, wind, and other destructive elements. 

This protection is precisely what you need for your outdoor playground. But since it gets heated up easily, you can introduce an air conditioning system inside or a few openings on the wall to allow air circulation. With a plastic tunnel at your outdoor playground, you can participate in all your outdoor activities any time you want to, come rain or sunshine. 


An outdoor playground provides a good space for your children to play and for you and your friends to chill and relax during those hot sunny days. The sun can get really hot sometimes, or there could be rain, making it impossible for you to have a good time. That’s why you need to introduce shade to your outdoor playground that can protect you against elements. 

With the above excellent tips, you now have an idea of where to start from. You can also get more creative than this to add shade to your outdoor playground out of anything that can block the sun.  

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