Last Updated on October 19, 2021
Swimming pools have always been associated with summer, sun, and fun. Whenever the weather’s hot and sunny, expect everyone to lounge around the pool and dip in the cool water.
However, through the years, swimming pools have also become a big concern because of UV exposure.
- Our Top Picks At A Glance
- Top 10 Pool Shade Ideas
- Best Kiddie Pool Shade Ideas
- Final Thoughts About Shade Ideas For Your Pool
While getting some sunlight is enjoyable and healthy, too much of it can be dangerous. Overexposure to UV rays from the sun can result not only in painful sunburns but can also lead to serious health issues such as aging of the skin, cataracts, and skin cancer.
This is why most pool owners prioritize getting a shade too.
But aside from preventing health problems, installing a shade for your pool offers many benefits as well.
Our Top Picks At A Glance
For instance, modern shade structures are aesthetically pleasing and can be great additions to your home. They can give your pool area a better ambiance and style. Moreover, if you choose the right structure, you can also add value to your home.
Still don’t know what to install? Here are the best pool shade ideas to keep you and your family cool and protected while enjoying the water and sun.
Top 10 Pool Shade Ideas
1. Shade Sails
- High Quality Guarantee - Made of 100% 185GSM HDPE (high-density polyethylene), Improved stitched seam and knitting technology, more durable
- Breathable - The breathable fabric allows cool breezes to pass through to makes the shaded area cooler and more comfortable
- Ease to Install - Stainless steel D-ring on each edge and 4 durable ropes are strongly guarantee fastness of installation. Leave 1.5-2 foot space for the hardware kit between D ring and fixing points,...
- Purchase Information - Please measure the size of the installation area accurately before purchasing. The shade sail's edges are curved so that the actual shaded area is slightly smaller, with...
A shade sail is among the most popular types of shades you can install for your pool, whether it be an in-ground, above ground, or a temporary pool. It has fascinating shapes and angles that give your pool area a modern and stylish look. Moreover, it is one of the cheapest and easiest to set up.
The best thing about a shade sail is its versatility. There are a variety of shade sail materials and colors. Plus, it’s available in different shapes and points. Two of the most popular shapes are triangle and square but there are also shapes with 5, 6, and more points.
A sail with more sides, like a square, provides more shade compared to a triangle. But if you’re looking for a more attractive appearance, three-sided shade sails are more elegant. Moreover, one of the drawbacks of a square sail is that its center can “belly up” and collect water.
This is why triangle shade sails are ever so popular. Not only do they have a more appealing and stylish look but they are also less prone to sagging or pooling. To make up for the smaller space they cover, pool owners often layer them on top of the other for more shade coverage.
|Affordable||Not as solid as other types of shades|
|Easy to set up||Some designs are prone to collecting water in the center|
|Versatile and aesthetically pleasing|
What to consider when installing a shade sail?
Generally, a shade sail is installed permanently. It requires strong and stable posts where you’ll attach the sail. You can use the walls of your house, large trees, or you can set up new anchor points with steel, wood, or bamboo. You also have to make sure that all your anchor points are strong enough to keep the sail tight.
These posts and attachments points are the most important factor you have to consider when installing a shade sail. It should be tight and secure because if the sail is loose, it will be more prone to move in the wind. This then puts a strain on the points and eventually, causes them to come loose. When this happens, it can cause huge damage to your property.
Shade Sail Effectiveness
A shade sail is specifically designed to protect you from the intense heat of the sun. Thus, they are highly effective in keeping you cool and safe. Typically, a shade sail absorbs over 90% or even higher of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It also features a breathable fabric that allows hot air to pass through. So if you’re looking for a shade that protects you from the sun while keeping you cool, a shade sail is one of your best choices.
Cost Range of Shade Sails
One of the benefits of a shade sail is its price. This is because it’s easily available and accessible. If you’re looking for standard colors and sizes, then you can quickly buy one off the shelf or purchase online. If you’re wondering how cheap it is, a basic triangle with a polyethylene fabric is available on Amazon for only $30.
- Made from heavy duty high density polyethylene weave fabric
- Heavy duty weave fabric allows cover to breathe reducing temperatures underneath
- Easy to Installation and Maintenance - with detailed instruction in the package.
- High Quality - Constructed of 185 gsm UV protected high density polyethylene (HDPE) shade
For stronger material, you can buy a triangle, square, or rectangle shade sail around $370 to $865. You can also purchase per square feet as some companies are selling them around for $6.30 to $6.95 per square foot. For a more detailed product with your specific color and shape requirement, there are custom made sails as well. However, expect that they are more expensive.
2. Pool Umbrellas
- Sturdy Rust-Resistant Frame: The entire frame is TIGER Drylac powder coated in a bronze finish to provide maximum rust resistance. The Pole is heavy gauge aluminum. The 8 strong steel ribs and steel...
- Premium Quality Vented Canopy: The dual-vented canopy is made from a premium outdoor rated solution-dyed polyester fabric that minimizes color fading up to 1000 UV hours. It is designed to be long...
- Velcro Strap Closure: The sewn-in velcro straps easily wrap around the closed umbrella to keep the umbrella closed and secure.
- Weights Needed for Cross Base: This umbrella comes with a powder coated bronze steel cross base, but does NOT include weights that are needed to keep your offset umbrella safe, secure and stable. We...
Sometimes, the best solution is the simplest option. Pool umbrellas have long been providing shades to people for decades. They have been around for so long that their design and functionality has also improved. Thus, making them a great option for swimming pools.
Freestanding umbrellas are great for Intex swimming pools and above ground pools as they can provide just enough shade to keep you out of the sun. However, for larger in-ground pools, you may need to install several umbrellas in different areas to get enough shade – which may look unattractive when closed.
But the good thing about umbrellas is that they are flexible and adjustable. Meaning, you can move them wherever you want and adjust them with the sun’s movement. They are cheap and easy to set up too. Plus, most of them have modern designs that make your pool area look good.
|Affordable||Looks unattractive when closed|
|Easy to set up||Not advisable for use in places with strong winds|
|Flexible and adjustable|
What to consider when installing pool umbrellas?
There are many designs, colors, and sizes of pool umbrellas. Most of them have a diameter of 6 feet to 14 feet and even more. Also, some have base stands and some require you to dig up holes on the ground.
There are different ways to open pool umbrellas as well. You have to decide whether to choose crank umbrellas or push umbrellas. Typically, crank umbrellas are easier to raise and lower the canopy while push umbrellas require more work as you need to manually lock the canopy in place.
If you’re not keen on round umbrellas, there are square or cantilever umbrellas too. Cantilever umbrellas have poles on the side instead of in the middle. This provides you unobstructed protection from the sun.
Effectiveness of pool umbrellas
Umbrellas are certainly one of the best shade ideas for your pool. They are traditional solutions that can effectively protect you from the sun. However, their shade may not be enough to cover your whole pool.
Cost Range of pool umbrellas
- 10FT OFFSET PATIO UMBRELLA: Designed to keep you cool and comfortable in your outdoor living space, with more space underneath than traditional patio umbrellas
- EASY ADJUSTMENT: A hand-crank lift and easy-tilt system allow you to adjust the shade and block the sun at all angles, keeping the area protected throughout the day; detachable pole and crank also...
- ENHANCED STABILITY: A large wind vent at the top allows cool air to flow through, while the cross base, 4 included ground stakes, and an extra pole knob add optimal support and stability when the wind...
- DURABLE COMPOSITION: Crafted with a powder-coated steel pole to prevent rust and scratching, plus a water- and fade-resistant polyester fabric shade for years of vibrance
There are a variety of pool umbrellas available in the market today. The cheapest with a standard size of 9 feet can cost you just around $50.
3. Instant Up Canopies
- NEW model - improved frame design. With a modern and durable design, the new lightweight Envoy Shelter provides an Instant escape from the sun, making it an ideal choice for the beach, sporting...
- NEW - TOGGLE LEG ADJUSTMENT WITH 2 HEIGHT SETTINGS - The improved toggle leg adjustment will keep your fingers pinch-free and are easier to unlatch. Two different height settings allow you to pick the...
- NEW - roller bag included - This heavy-duty roller bag has built in E-Z Glide wheels and a heavy-duty zipper. There is one handle on top for convenient rolling. There are two side handles for easy...
- NEW - clear span center = maximum headroom - the clear-span ceiling provides increased headroom of up to 9' 6" Inside. The unique interior Frame does not have cross bars running through the interior...
Instant up canopies or pop up canopies are collapsible shelters – similar to tents – that are great for the pool. They are easy to set up and are big enough to cover your entire pool as well as its surrounding areas. Thus, making them an ideal choice for large above-ground and temporary pools.
Typically, instant up canopies are available in 5’ X 5’ to 10’ X 20’. They are affordable, effective, and you can set them up when you need them and keep them when you don’t. Furthermore, you can move them around as you please.
|Affordable||Provides limited space|
|Easy to assemble||Not advisable for larger pools|
What to consider when installing instant up canopies?
Most instant up canopies come in two pieces: the frame and the canopy top. They work well with above ground pools and temporary pools. If your pool is taller, this type of canopies might not work well.
However, some canopies are made especially for Intex pools. These types of canopies are designed without a frame but have attachment points that you can use to secure with your pool’s frame.
Effectiveness of instant up canopies
Instant up canopies are effective in blocking the heat of the sun. However, given their limited space, they are not recommended for large in-ground pools.
Cost Range of instant up canopies
- ✅ The Seniors Can Set up Easily: This pop up canopy frame is fully assembled and with quick realease buttons on both upper and lower legs, no tools needed, super easy to set up and take down, even...
- ✅ Waterproof &Anti-UV Thick Fabric: Canopy top made of 420D Oxford with silver coating and seams are reinforced with PU lining,makes the canopy tent waterproof and UPF 50+ Anti-UV sun...
- ✅ Sturdy Frame: This pop up canopy tent is foldable with upgraded fully assembled steel frame, leg with 25x25mm inner and 30x30mm outer canopy poles. Leg with 3 heights to adjust the canopy's...
- ✅ With Roller Bag for Easy Travel：Our pop up canopy tent with wheeled bag which can travel easily and conveniently. Roller bag size: 48.5"x7.5"x8.5". Portable Canopy tent fits into most cars and...
You can find instant up canopies almost everywhere and they are one of the most affordable shade options too. In Amazon, the cheapest can cost you around $70, measuring 10’ x 10’. For the canopy tops that go perfectly with your Intex pool, expect to pay less as they cost only about $15.
- DEDICATED SUN SHADE: A large, 100 square foot shaded space is ideal for comfortable outdoor entertaining year-round in light or heavy sun
- OPEN AIR AMBIENCE: Draw back the sun shade and enjoy al fresco dining, conversation, or relaxation
- RETRACTABLE CANOPY: Control the perfect balance of shade and sun with a retractable pulley system to move the canopy exactly where you need it!
- QUALITY MATERIALS: Enjoy years of UV-diffusion thanks to low-fade polyester and a powder-coated steel frame to prevent corrosion and wear
If you’re looking for a solid shade option for your in-ground or above ground pool, pergolas are one of your best choices. They provide enough shade as well as light over your pool. Plus, they make a great visual centerpiece. They look so great that they give added value to your home.
Pergolas are designed as semi-permanent structures that are great for sunny weather. However, you will need a sizable space in your backyard to build one. You also need to consider its cost. Additionally, pergolas require maintenance and cleaning now and again to keep them looking as beautiful as they were when you first installed them. Thus, creating additional work for homeowners.
|Very beautiful and elegant||High upfront costs|
|Adds value to your home||High maintenance|
|Durable and solid|
What to consider when installing pergolas?
Most modern pergolas are made of high-quality wood. But there are aluminum and steel variations as well. Aside from material, you also have to choose the size, form, and whether they will be closed or just semi-closed. Also, there are different types of pergolas and the most common ones include traditional, curved, freeform, modern, round, and attached. There are also adjustable and retractable pergolas.
Effectiveness of pergolas
One of the best things about pergolas is that you have the option to customize them. For instance, if you want complete shade for your pool, you can have it closed by adding corrugated sheeting or other cover materials.
Cost Range of pergolas
- OUTDOOR PERGOLA CANOPY: Outdoor shade structure made of dark grey powder coated aluminum for durability and strength
- PROTECTIVE FINISH: Powder coated finish on structure's aluminum frame protects against corrosion, rust, and the sun's UV rays
- CUSTOMIZABLE SHADE AND SUN PROTECTION: Includes an adjustable and removable grey mesh canopy. Easily attaches by tying loose ends and can be customized to the sun's direction or sun preference
- ALL-SEASON CANOPY: Backyard shade structure can be left up year round. Adjustable mesh canopy/roof shade should be removed for the winter
Depending on the material, design, and size, the cost of building a pergola is between $2,500 to $6,000. The price is higher if you go with adjustable and retractable pergolas.
Trees have always been the best shade solution.
They are natural, don’t cost a thing, and provide a comfortable and natural shade for your pool. If you have enough trees in your backyard and you’re using an Intex swimming pool, trees are your best shade option. Simply install and position your pool under them. However, not all homes have ample trees in their backyard. And if you’re only planting one today, it will take at least a decade before it can provide you enough shading.
Also, if you own an Intex pool, you might consider installing your pool inside the garage. This way, you’re fully protected from the sun, wind, and even the rain.
6. Placement of Your Pool House
Aside from giving you a private space to change clothes, take a shower, or take a nap, a pool house can give you some shade. So if possible, when building your pool house, also consider its exposure to the sun. Then, build it at a position that can best provide your pool some shade. This way, you no longer have to build other types of structures and save money.
7. Temporary Carport
- 【4 ADJUSTABLE HEIGHTS】- There are 4 options of the side height for this metal carport, which is 6.0ft, 6.5ft, 7.0ft and 7.5ft, accordingly peak height 9.0ft, 9.5ft, 10.0ft and 10.5ft. You can...
- 【WATERPROOF CANOPY COVER】- This car port is made of heat-sealed, triple-layer 180g polyethylene fabric, which is Anti-UV, Waterproof and can protect your car or boats against all four season...
- 【HEAVY DUTY METAL FRAME】- This carport shelter is consists of 1.5inch diameter galvanized steel poles with 8 solid legs, 1.2mm Thicken and 1.65Inch diameter connectors, 16 steel pegs and 8 auger...
- 【EASY TO SET UP】- The tool-free frame makes its set-up super quick and easy. Foot pads and anchors for added stability and easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions are included. Usually, two or...
A carport is a temporary structure that offers limited protection to your vehicle. However, it may also be considered as one of the best pool shade ideas today. Similar to canopies, a carport is made up of a frame and a cover. You can set it up on any surface and it can be attached to your garage or home.
A carport provides you full protection against the sun and rain. Moreover, most carports offer enough space to fit an Intex pool.
Just take note, however, that while a carport may be temporary, some communities have rules about putting up a carport and it might require a building permit.
|Sturdy||You might be required to secure a permit|
|Affordable||Not that aesthetically pleasing|
|Efficient in giving shade|
What to consider when buying a temporary carport?
Carports can either be made of aluminum or steel. Steel carports are more durable than their aluminum counterparts and they are more likely to last longer. Also, in the long run, steel can save you money.
Effectiveness of a temporary carport
Carports are highly effective in protecting vehicles from storms as well as sunlight. And it can provide the same protection to pool users too.
Cost Range of temporary carports
- DURABLE FRAME: Made from an all-steel metal 10 x 15 x 8-feet frame that is 1-3/8 inches thick, providing strength and stability
- MADE TO LAST: Bonded with a premium powder-coated finish that prevents chipping, peeling, rust, and corrosion
- WATERPROOF COVERAGE: Sandstone cover is durable and made from an advanced triple-layer ripstop that is waterproof and UV-treated to resist fading. Advanced engineered triple-layer ripstop polyethylene...
- SHELTERLOCK: Patented ShelterLock stabilizers ensure rock solid stability that delivers a stable, more durable shelter
The cheapest complete enclosed carport set you can buy on Amazon is around $110, making it an affordable and practical choice if you’re looking for a temporary shade for your pool.
8. Motorized Retractable Awnings
- LUXURY Series
- 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐌𝐈𝐔𝐌 𝐅𝐀𝐁𝐑𝐈𝐂: Quality, 100% Solution-Dyed European Acrylic UV Sun Shade
- 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐌𝐈𝐔𝐌 𝐅𝐀𝐁𝐑𝐈𝐂 - 𝐌𝐀𝐃𝐄 𝐈𝐍 𝐒𝐏𝐀𝐈𝐍 Recasens Branded European 100% Solution Dyed Acrylic Canvases Feature Exceptional UV Protection...
A motorized retractable awning is a practical solution for your pool’s shade. It has an electric motor that allows you to extend it when you need shade and retract it when you don’t. And you can do all these without breaking a sweat.
This option provides you shade at an instant. Plus, it can cover your whole swimming pool area and turn it into an indoor pool easily. It’s also stylish and looks very pleasing. However, all these benefits do come with a price and it demands high maintenance to make sure it will always run at peak performance.
|Easy to operate||High maintenance|
What to consider when installing a motorized retractable awning?
Most motorized awnings can be used all year round. However, to last longer, it is recommended that you retract them during heavy rain and strong winds. You can also choose whether your awning’s fabric is waterproof or water-resistant.
Aside from the material it’s made of, also consider the size, color, and maintenance requirements before deciding to install a motorized retractable awning. You should also factor in annual cleaning as the canopy’s fabric is prone to mold and other issues.
Effectiveness of a motorized retractable awning
What makes motorized retractable awnings great is that they can fully cover your pool. Thus, giving you maximum protection from the sun.
Cost Range of a motorized retractable awning
The price to install a motorized retractable awning can vary depending on the material, size, and other features such as wind sensors and torque needed for it to operate. Normally, a motorized retractable awning can set you back for $2,000 to $3,500, according to homeadvisor.com.
In addition to the upfront cost, also consider the costs for parts replacement and repair.
9. Cantilevered Structures
Similar to cantilever umbrellas, cantilevered structures have support posts on a single side. These posts are fixed in place around the pool with cement and have horizontal canopies that extend over the pool. Thus, giving unobstructed shade for pool users and those around it.
Cantilevers are strong, sturdy, and can withstand strong wind. They also require little space in your backyard. Moreover, they are stylish and great alternatives to pergolas. They have a modern and stylish look that gives your swimming pool area a more contemporary feel.
|Sturdy, Corrosion-resistant and Termite-resistant||High upfront costs|
|Takes up little ground space|
What to consider when installing cantilever structures?
If you’re going to choose cantilever structures, you have to consider its size, color, and material. Most cantilevers are made of aluminum to avoid corrosion and termites. This material also allows these structures to require little maintenance.
There are also a lot of cantilever styles and designs. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Single post pyramid – has only one column and can provide 200 square feet of shade.
- Single post hexagon – similar to single post pyramid, the only difference is its shape.
- Full hip – has two posts and can cover a wide space.
Effectiveness of cantilevered structures
Cantilevers are great in providing shade for your pool. They can reduce the heat by 83% and improve your comfort level.
Cost Range of cantilevered structures
Cantilever structures are permanent and large shade solutions for your pool. Thus, they won’t come cheap.
10. Retractable Enclosures
If you have the budget and the backyard space, a retractable enclosure is a great option. They are made of self-supporting skeletal structures that combine movement with the roof and sidewalls. Thus, creating a whole mobile building.
Normally, retractable enclosures are made of aluminum and a see-through material that’s stronger than glass. It is water-resistant, wind-resistant, UV resistant, and will never rust. Thus, they don’t need as much maintenance as the other shade options. The biggest downside for this type of shade solution, however, is its cost.
|Very durable||High upfront costs|
|Can provide maximum shade|
|Architecturally pleasing and can increase your home’s value|
What to consider when installing a retractable enclosure?
The biggest factor you have to consider when building a retractable enclosure is your backyard space and budget. It is also more recommended for large in-ground swimming pools.
Retractable enclosures can be built with shades running between each section. Thus, it can provide you as much or as little shade you want for your pool.
Effectiveness of retractable enclosures
Pool enclosures are highly effective against the elements. They can give you full protection not only against the sun but also from the strong wind, rain, or snow. It’s a large-scale solution that you can use all year round.
Cost Range of retractable enclosures
The price to install a retractable pool enclosure is a whopping $70,000 per square foot area. This may even reach up to $105,000 to $140,000 for custom designed and high-end enclosures.
Best Kiddie Pool Shade Ideas
There are all sorts of pool toys, floats, and cool summer accessories that you can buy for your kids. But what about the best kiddie pool shade ideas?
If you’re looking to keep your little ones comfortable this summer, then it’s important to find a way to shield them from the sun during their playtime.
Since kiddie pools are usually inflatable pools or small above ground pools, the best kiddie pool shade should also be portable. For this reason, we highly recommend getting either one of these two pool umbrellas.
Purple Lead Rectangle Patio Umbrella
- A 9' X 12' large canopy provides a large area shade for you in need, fit for commercial or residential uses.
- Powder-coated aluminum pole of 4" diameter in sturdy and rustproof construction, all-aluminum umbrella bones and 8 heavy-duty ribs, anti-oxidation spray painted, maintain a long period life
- This paito umbrella has unique handle design and crank system, 5 height and angle to choose, 360-degree rotation for easier shading area control
- High quality 240/gsm Polyester fabric, UV resistant, water-repellent and fadeless, keeping your eyes & skin healthier and protected.
The Purple Lead Rectangle Patio Umbrella can be used in a variety of settings. To make it even more versatile, the canopy is made with UV-resistant material and has 5 height and angle choices for any situation.
With its 360-degree rotation capability, this patio umbrella also offers full protection against the sun or weather conditions like rain showers that may come up unexpectedly when your kids are using their kiddie pool in your backyard. It also comes with a heavy-duty base so the children won’t be able to move it around easily.
Tumucute Patio Offset Umbrella
- 【CLASSIC WIDE BIG SHADE FOR ENJOY 】 Our offset umbrella complements your outdoor space with its wide arching canopy and elegant steel framework.The 10ft patio umbrella can accommodate 6 to 8...
- 【DURABLE LONG LASTING MATERIALS】 The round canopy is constructed with five layers of 100% Recycled polyester to that can be waterproof,fade-resistant, long lasting, easy to clean. High-quality...
- 【CRANK AND TILT SYSTEM】The simple hand crank system opens and closes the umbrella with ease.Easily control the tilt postion by the handle on the pole and block out unwanted sun rays.The...
- 【GREAT PRODUCT QUALITY 】Powder coated iron pole and 8 rust proof ribs provide enhanced durability to this umbrella. 8 sturdy ribs provide stronger support than 6 .Single wind vent on top for...
The 10 ft. Tumucute patio umbrella is a great addition to your outdoor space with its wide arching canopy and elegant steel framework. The round canopy made of five layers of 100% recycled polyester is waterproof, fade-resistant, and easy to clean.
This pool umbrella can be used again and again without worry about rust or corrosion due to the powder-coated iron pole that also has an 8 rib system for extra stability from wind gusts. It comes with nylon straps for quick closure when you’re not using it and to save some space when you store it.
Final Thoughts About Shade Ideas For Your Pool
Now, there you have it!
These are the top shade ideas for in-ground, above ground, and Intex temporary pools.
Just make sure to take your time in considering your options, especially when it comes to permanent structures. Choose the one that best fits your property, type of pool, and budget to avoid regretting your choice later on.