Our solutions for creating shade in the garden will make an outdoor dining or seating area a please to use on the bright days of summer.
See our decorating section for more inspiration
Think about a shaded spot as a multisensory experience of sight, sound and scent. Trickling water or swaying grass will feel cooling, while foliage is good at absorbing heat. The aim is to create an area to relax in, so avoid busy bright colours and instead focus on texture, using green, white and paler blooms – blues are a great choice and they look wonderful in the early evening light, too.
Take a look at these garden shade ideas for more advice and inspiration.
See our shopping gallery: Parasols to add style and manage shade in the garden
Any garden structure should be considered in relation to the house. That's not to say it needs to match exactly - old meets new is very popular right now – but your choice should be sympathetic. Here, the design of the contemporary pergola complements the garden furniture and flooring.
Most of the London properties we design for have limited outdoor space, so flexibility is key. Permanent fixtures, such as a tree or pergola, can rob an interior of light, so parasols, sails and retractable awnings are a better choice.
A simple fabric canopy creates shade wherever needed, and choosing a bright colour and pattern
will make it a feature in a large garden, too. Outdoor fabrics have the benefit of being shower-proof, and stain, UV and fade-resistant, but an improvised shade in a sturdy interiors fabric will stand up to occasional use, too.
Climbing plants for pergolas and walkways might seem like a romantic option, but the truth is that many quickly grow out of control, damaging supporting structures, so it's important to choose non-vigorous species. Pillar roses work well and so does clematis, but this needs to be paired with something evergreen, such as Akebia quinata.
Every garden has those places you automatically drift to, as well as natural areas of shade and light. Many houses have an east-west and south-west aspect, and parasols or sails can move with the sun, but you don't want to be always chasing the shade. If you have a big space with a terrace, you will want dappled coverage here for midday. Trees provide excellent coverage without blocking too much sun, and can be trimmed back to suit your needs.
Temporary structures allow for a bit of fun and the chance to dress up the garden for a particular event. For example, an Indian Summer theme would call for bright colours and stripes on parasols and canopies.
In the Mediterranean they do shade well out of necessity, so look at pictures of gardens there for ideas to suit all sizes and budgets.
A dining space close to the house can be covered by a structure attached to an exterior wall. The oak pergola in this garden, echoes the beams inside the house, and has a cover of roses and vines that provides colour throughout summer and into autumn.
A freestanding parasol is a smart choice that won't encroach on the space or the view. Good-quality shades are built to last, but be sure to store under cover in winter.