Eight ways to add shade to your backyard

Turn the temperature down in your home and garden with our pick of shade solutions.

Bunnings magazine, February 2021

Options to keep cool

Don’t suffer yet another sweaty summer; now’s the time to create beautifully cool spaces inside and out. Prioritise comfort with our 8 tips on harnessing shade at home.

1. Natural shade

For deep, cooling cover, there’s a variety of trees and bushes available that together can drop your garden’s air temperature. The denser the canopy, the deeper the shade. Deciduous trees will screen summer sun and let in winter light, but be careful not to choose a tree that will grow too big, has invasive roots or will drop heavy branches, and don’t plant it too close to the house.

2. A better place

Where you position your shade structures will maximise your cooling efforts. Orient gazebos, pergolas and the like towards incoming breezes and ideally make sure the openings are in shadow, perhaps that of a nearby tree. To cool the entire zone, prioritise shading those surfaces that tend to attract heat, such as sand, concrete and brick.

3. Great gazebos

For permanent (or semi-permanent) shade, build a gazebo from scratch or assemble a kit. Ron Williams, national business manager for Palram, says the Palram gazebo kits feature tough, UV-resistant polycarbonate sheeting, which can provide up to 100 per cent protection against UV.

Shade to your backyard

4. Protect your veg

Harsh sunlight can cause heat stress to plants. Plant or place them in the shade of stronger, taller plants for partial sunlight, or cover with shade cloth – look for a 30-50 per cent UV cover. This will allow in sufficient light, air and water, while protecting delicate plants from the worst of the heat.

5. Window dressings

Awnings provide shade to windows, cooling indoor spaces without blocking air flow or views. They can be fixed or retractable, stretched fabric (canvas, mesh or vinyl) on a frame, or metal or polycarbonate hoods. Polycarbonate and fabric awnings provide UV protection and shade while maintaining diffused natural light.

Shade to your backyard

6. Instant shade

From a beach style to a permanent wall- or floor-mounted model, umbrellas are a convenient source of shade. Choose a lightweight market umbrella for your patio table or a cantilever model, which can be angled against the sun as it moves throughout the day. To be sun-smart, check the UV protection of the fabric. When properly secured, an umbrella should be able to withstand light winds, however do collapse it when you’re not outside or when the weather warrants.

7. Roll up

Shade your home with outdoor roll-up blinds over windows or around outdoor areas. “When placed over external windows, outdoor blinds are a great way to block UV rays and minimise heat entering your home,” says Danny Collins, marketing director of Coolaroo.

8. Sail away

For outdoor areas, shade sails are a great option. Coolaroo shade sails block up to 90 per cent of UV light and are endorsed by Cancer Council Australia. They are a great solution for both large and small living areas and can be attached to walls, secure posts or structures.

Shade to your backyard

Protect your outdoor furniture from the sun

Follow our step-by-step guide to weatherproofing your furniture.


Photo credit: Larnie Nicolson

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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