How to Shade Your Backyard Without Using Trees

Residential backyard seating area under a pergola
Not everyone has beautiful tall shade trees in their backyard. Planting young trees is fantastic, but big shade trees take decades to grow, and you want shade now, right?

So, is it possible to create shade in your backyard without waiting 20 years? Yes, it is! With a little creativity and help from your local landscaping experts at The Grounds Guys, adding instant shade to a backyard with no trees is easier than you might think.

Garden Structures for Shade

A great way to add instant shade to your backyard is with garden structures like pergolas and gazebos and with home extensions like shade sails. Using these instant shade tools requires thoughtful placement and a bit of work to install, but once they're in place in your outdoor space, you have summertime shade on demand!

Here are three of the most popular garden structures for shade and how to use them:


Seating area on backyard patio under a pergola

A pergola is a freestanding structure supported by four large corner posts. Instead of a solid roof, a pergola uses beams that create shade while still allowing natural light to come through. These are great for small patios or large open yards.

Shade Sails

Yellow canopy covering table, chairs, and grill in backyard patio area of a residential home

A shade sail is a large retractable "sail" made of knitted polyethylene fabric that connects to the back of your house or another structure and extends outward to provide shade and UV protection. The sail is kept in place with support cables, so it can even be used on a windy day. It's easy to find a shade sail that matches your home's exterior or garden decor because shade sails come in a variety of colors and styles.


Gazebo on a sunny day

A fantastic way to add style and shade to your backyard is by building or assembling a gazebo. Gazebos come in all sizes and styles and can be made from wood or other materials. Larger gazebos can house tables, chairs, or even fire pits. When built correctly, gazebos can last for decades and create a unique focal point for your backyard.

Related Topic: Best Time to Transplant and Plant Trees

How to Create Shade with Plants in a Sunny Backyard

It's not just trees that create shade. You can create plenty of shady spots in your yard by strategically planting certain varieties of tall shrubs and plants.

For example:

  • Create perimeters with tall bushes. You can give your yard shade by creating beautiful live borders with larger flowering shrubs. Nurseries sell mature shrubs that are already large enough to create shade the following season!
  • Use hedges for partial shade. By planting hedges along walkways or around patios, you can create partial shade in a specific area.
  • Plant vines along trellises or gazebos. By planting vines, or vine-like flowers, along a trellis or gazebo, you can create more shade near your home or extend the shaded area a gazebo provides.

Shade in Your Backyard

With the addition of functional garden structures, shade sails, and landscaping, you can quickly create a shady backyard that you and your family can enjoy all year long.

Not sure where to begin? Let the landscaping experts at The Grounds Guys transform your sunbaked backyard into a shady oasis you can enjoy for years to come. We offer a range of landscape services that will help keep your property looking its absolute best all year long. To get started, contact The Grounds Guys or request an estimate online today.