Garden shade ideas – to make outdoor seating a pleasure to use in the summer

A cooling spot for relaxing, entertaining or designed purely as a retreat, will make your garden a joy to use all day long.

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

Moveable feast

(Image credit: Debi Treloar)

Moveable feast

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.

Keeping cool

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

Keeping cool

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.

Stand out

(Image credit: Nick Pope)

Stand out

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.