Shade Ideas for Your Pool – Stay Cool While Enjoying Your Pool

Swimming pools have always been associated with summer, sun, and fun. Whenever the weather’s hot and sunny, expect everyone lounging around the pool and just having a dip in the cool water.

However, through the years, swimming pools have also become a big concern because of UV exposure.

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.

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 shade ideas for your pool to keep you and your family cool and protected while enjoying the water and sun.

Top 10 Shade Ideas for Your Pool

1. Shade Sails

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.

AffordableNot as solid as other types of shades
Easy to set upSome 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. 

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

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.  

AffordableLooks unattractive when closed
Easy to set upNot 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

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

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. 

AffordableProvides limited space
Easy to assembleNot 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

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. 

4. Pergolas

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 elegantHigh upfront costs
Adds value to your homeHigh 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

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.

5. Trees

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

A carport is a temporary structure that offers limited protection to your vehicle. However, it may also be used as a shade for your pool. 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. 

SturdyYou might be required to secure a permit
AffordableNot 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

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

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 operateHigh 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

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-resistantHigh upfront costs
Aesthetically pleasing
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 durableHigh 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. 

Shade Ideas For Your Pool – Final Thoughts

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. 

Photo by optikfuss

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