There are some days in summer when the temperature soars and the thought of staying inside in an air-conditioned room can be awfully tempting. But it’s crazy to spend any time in doors at this time of year especially when shade can cool an outdoor area by 10 degrees. While there is something so relaxing and refreshing about sitting under a tree while the leaves rustle and the mottled light dances about there are plenty of man-made structures that can also provide a nice shady area for you to enjoy the outdoors. Planting for Natural Shade The cheapest and more environmentally friendly way to create shade in your garden is to plant trees. There are quite a few factors to take into consideration when planting shade trees. If you are in a climate that has a hot summer and a cool winter you need to aim for about 50:50 shade sunlight and plant deciduous trees to allow more light & warmth in for winter. Ask your local nursery to find out the best deciduous tree for your area. Shade Sails One of the more affordable options (after planting a tree) is to erect a shade sail. Made from shade cloth or PVC these covers can provide varying degrees of UV protection. They are also quite a flexible option as you can detach the cloth in the cooler months if it’s not needed. Sails can be used to protect pool areas, patios, courtyards or even driveways. The cloth itself can cost about $30-$90 per metre but it’s recommended to not go too cheap as some material can break down quickly in really wet weather. Outdoor Room A well designed pergola or pavilion can provide the perfect protected spot to enjoy the outdoors as well as add value to your home. These rooms are generally constructed from heavy duty materials that will not rot, warp or decay and with enough creativity can become the focal point of your back garden. Because of their sturdy and varying structures you can generally use these areas come rain, hail or shine. Awnings Awnings can not only provide shade but they can reduce glare as well. If you are hesitant to create shade all year long, you can get extendable awnings that you can pull out when need be. Awnings also have the added advantage of providing a shaded area which is unobstructed with beams or poles.