Awnings, Garden Design, Garden Screening, George, Sail Shades

As the sun finally comes out, our thoughts turn to the burning question of British summers… how can we get some shade? To help you escape the heat we’ve answered that very question with our complete list of garden shade ideas and advice. Enjoy!

garden shade ideas

Ways to make shade in your garden

1 – Awnings

The gold standard of outdoor shading, you can’t beat an awning. Generally you’ll need to fix an awning to the side of your house, so they’re perfect for making shade in an area where you spend a lot of time, like a patio. They come in a multitude of sizes and colours to suit the space you need. When you need some shade you just have to unwind the awning – this can either be done via a handle or a remote for an electric model. As well as sheltering you outdoors, these have the added benefit of shading rooms inside, keeping them cool and protecting furnishings from fading in the sun.

2 – Shade sails

A very contemporary form of shade, sails can be bright and fun or cool and classy. Layer different sails for complete shading in whichever part of the garden you need and you can make striking designs. Shade sails originated in the heat of Australia, where they’re made from breathable fabric to keep you cool. But in the UK you can also buy waterproof versions as our weather isn’t quite as reliable!

shade sails

3 – Pergolas and climbing plants

Perfect for creating a private getaway in a corner of the garden for sitting or eating under. Build your wooden structure to allow enough room underneath for whatever activity you’d like to do there. Then plant some climbers like clematis, roses or jasmine to trail over the pergola. Over time this should grow into a lovely leafy canopy offering dappled shade. You could even hang some outdoor curtains on the side of the pergola for added shade and privacy.

4 – Garden screening

Not all sun comes from directly overhead. A stylish way to add some horizontal shading to your garden is through decorative screening. Simply fix the screening rolls of your desired material (from bamboo to artificial ivy) to wire fences or balconies for instant shade. Not only will these look great, they can also make your outdoor space more private.

tree shade

5 – Trees

If you want the natural solution to escaping the sun, look no further than trees. Yes, they may take many years to grow into a fully mature source of shelter but it will be worth the wait. You’ll have a beautiful, environmentally-conscious addition to the garden offering a perfect spot for a shaded bench or table. Of course the downside is you won’t be able to move the tree to wherever you want shade, so choose your position carefully!

6 – Gazebos and marquees

Whether you’re hosting a royal wedding or family BBQ, a gazebo is the perfect pop-up outdoor room. You get shelter come rain or shine and depending on the size you choose, enough space for a dinner table or dance floor. Adding side walls to your party tent can give you some extra protection against cool breezes, which is a definite bonus as the sun goes down. If you’re keen to entertain in style this summer, look no further than our brand new Indian-style marquees.

7 – Parasols

If you’re limited on space, particularly for storage, then a parasol is likely your shade essential. Compact and stylish, it’ll fit right in the centre of your patio table or stand on the side. Many modern versions have the ability to tilt to help place the shade where you want it, but compared to the other ideas in this list, parasols usually offer a limited area of protection that can leave family members fighting over space in the shadow on a hot day.

parasol shade

Why you need garden shade

Outdoor dining

As soon as the sun comes out, we love to embrace the luxury of eating outside. But it doesn’t take long to realise that getting sticky in the heat isn’t much fun for diners or the food. Keeping your guests comfortable is key to great entertaining, so it’s worth investing in sufficient shading for your table and all the chairs. It will also help keep your food from spoiling in the sun.

Our top recommendations: awnings, marquees, parasols.

Reading or working

A good book or a bit of focused time on the laptop is wonderful when the weather permits you to take it out into the garden. Neither is ideal, however, in the glare of the sun, which makes it hard to concentrate on the page or screen. The heat can also cause headaches that just make it even harder. So naturally – shade is essential!

Our top recommendations: awnings, shade sails, parasols, trees.

reading in shade

Sun protection

As we become more aware of the potentially dangerous effects of the sun’s rays, it’s natural to want to protect ourselves outdoors. So if you want to enjoy your garden from the shade without worrying about skin cancer, then pay close attention to the UV protection rating of the shading you look at.

Our top recommendations: Primrose shade sails and awnings offer up to 98% UV protection, equivalent to UPF 50+.

Rain protection

As great as British summers can be, they’re not that reliable. We’ve all been there when a lovely sunny party is thrown into jeopardy by an unexpected shower. But what if your garden shade could also offer shelter from these other elements? Unsurprisingly, the thing you’ve got to look out for is waterproof fabric. And of course the extra consideration when planning the best shelter for your gathering – will it be able to cover enough people should the heavens open? Bear in mind too that most of these products will only provide shelter from light showers, not downpours.

Our top recommendations: waterproof shade sails, gazebos and Primrose awnings, which are all waterproof.

garden rain

Other ways to keep cool in the heat

If even the shade is leaving you in a sweat, what else can you do to keep cool? Luckily we’ve published a whole list of suggestions, from swimming pools to summer houses.

So throw some shade, escape the heat and embrace your summer in the garden!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Awnings, Dakota Murphey, Gardening Year, How To, Sail Shades

keep cool in garden summer

With the snow finally off the radar and spring beginning to warm things up, most of our minds have already drifted into making plans for the sizzling summer sun. Hot days on the beach, lazy weekend picnics and maybe even a nice cold drink in the beer garden of our favourite pub – right?

Getting out of the house seems ideal when you’ve been staring at the same four walls all winter, but don’t forget that everyone else will be thinking of doing the same thing. Why not go somewhere that’s free from people, free of charge and literally right on your doorstep?

Here are five ways you can beat the queues of people flocking to the beach this summer and stay cool (and smug) in your own back garden.


1. Grab some shaded lawn furniture

One of the quickest ways to get some shade in your garden is simply to put up some parasols, but you may as well do it in style. If your current patio table doesn’t have a hole to support a parasol you can either use this as an excuse to get a new set or opt for a free-standing design. Update the cushions on your seats to match the fabric of the parasol and consider treating yourself to a co-ordinated swing seat or loungers so that you have somewhere cool and comfortable to relax after lunch.

New lawn furniture is an effective way of giving your garden an instant makeover, making it feel like you’ve been transported somewhere exotic without ever leaving your home.

summer house

2. Treat yourself to a stunning summer house

Create an inviting, shady retreat in your own garden by building a summer house in a secluded spot, away from the house. A bit like a shed (only much, much prettier and devoid of muddy tools), you can get summer houses in all kinds of styles.

Whether you like the idea of just enough space for a comfy chair and a bookshelf, or a cabin that’s are big enough to double up as a home office or guest bedroom, there’s a summer house that is perfect for your garden. The only requirements are that it lets in plenty of natural light but has windows that open and shutters that close to keep you cool in the middle of the day!

swimming pool

3. Invest in a luxurious swimming pool

Building a pool is a commitment, but if you intend to stay in your home for many more years and have a big family, or love to host parties, it can absolutely pay off. Just imagine the joy of being at the beach or lido on a hot day, but with warmer water, cleaner toilets, zero crowds and no drive to get there – heaven!

Modern designs mean that you don’t even need a huge garden to accommodate a pool, with plunge pools, lap pools and hot tubs all being great pool options for a small home. Above-ground (rather than in-ground) styles will bring the cost down and choosing a modest size will be much easier to maintain, too.


4. Build a romantic pergola

Somewhere between a gazebo and a trellis, pergolas are great for providing cover over a patio or walkway. To get the most shade from a pergola you will need to surround it with fast-growing climbers and shade plants, which will wind around the beams to create a beautiful, natural rooftop.

Pergolas can make for a beautiful focal point in a large garden but are also ideal for more compact spaces, where having both seating and plants would be otherwise difficult. It’s the perfect spot for dining al fresco and enjoying your garden throughout the year.


5. Lay back in a breezy hammock

If these suggestions are sounding a little bit intense, there’s nothing simpler than stringing up a hammock and putting not just your feet, but your whole body up. Two sturdy trees should be able to support a hammock and provide plenty of shade, or you can use the beams of a pergola if you have one and don’t need the space for dining.

There’s something immediately relaxing about gently swinging above the ground, although the best part about a hammock might be how incredibly easy it is to pack up and put away once it gets colder. Between partners, friends, children and pets, your hammock will probably be occupied for most of the summer!

It might be a little bit more effort than grabbing your sunblock and heading to the local park, but if you get your summer shade plans in action now, your garden will be a veritable paradise in time for June.

Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.

Amie, Barbecues, Celebrations And Holidays, Clocks, Events, Garden Furniture, Gardening, How To, Sail Shades

Top Bank Holiday Gardening Products

With the bank holiday weekend just around the corner, and the sun set to shine down on us, we’ve highlighted a handful of products perfect for your garden this August.

Firefly­™ Black Lampshade Heater with Beech Wood Effect Stand
So you’re relaxing in your garden, but the sun is starting to set and you start to feel a bit cool. A perfect solution is a patio heater. Not only are they stylish and cheap to operate, but they will keep you and your guests warm long into the night.


Banquet™ Jamaica Masonry Charcoal BBQ
There is nothing better than serving up sausages on a BBQ for your friends, family or even yourself. What better feature for your garden than a masonry charcoal BBQ, ready to deliver you a delightful, authentic taste.

Wheel Metal Garden Clock by About Time
A brand new addition to Primrose’ clock range, this stunning clock will be the perfect focal point for your guests who need to tell the time. It’s very easy to lose track of time when you’re having so much fun.

Kookaburra™ Shade Sail Frame
Need a break from the sun? Perhaps you have had enough of putting a hat on. A shade sail frame, along with a shade sail can be set up almost anywhere, and fit a range of shade sail shapes and sizes to create an idyllic shady area.

PR-3196694 - OL0214 + OL0109SSS (1)

Tortola Nautical Outdoor Garden Hammock
For when you want to just laze and imagine you’re basking in the tropics of Hawaii, hoist up a hammock and shut your eyes, imagining the ocean is behind you. Read a book, listen to some music or just watch the clouds pass.

Outdoor Rugs and Carpets
Spread out for breakfast, lunch or dinner with this gorgeous all-purpose rug. Great for relaxing upon, or setting up picnic with the family, you don’t have to worry about an outdoor rug getting ruined.

Bruce the Bull Recycled Steel Cooler
What better way to keep your drinks cool than with a recycled steel drinks cooler. Bruce the Bull is a best seller, and it’s easy to see why. Ample space for beers, wine or soft drinks, and a stylish design.

No matter what you get up to this bank holiday weekend, we’d love to know so send us in your photos in the following ways;

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.

Amie, Events, New Products, News, Sail Shades

Primrose Exclusive: Brand New Rose Pattern Shade Sail Launch

Good news everybody, the sun is set to make a glorious appearance again this week. So what better way to create some garden shade than with a shade sail!

With over 300 shade sails in our extensive range, you’d be forgiven for thinking we had exhausted the options available to shelter you from the sun. However, we’ve recently launched a brand new rose-patterned shade sail, which will be a delight to any garden, and fit in any colour scheme you might have.


Available in 3m triangle, this shade sail will protect you from the sun all day long. Should the British weather change (which is always a strong possibility), then this particular shade sail has the added benefit of being waterproof.

AmieAmie is a marketing enthusiast, having worked at Primrose since graduating from Reading University in 2014.

She enjoys all things sport. A keen football fan, Amie follows Tottenham Hotspur FC, and regularly plays for her local 5 a side football team.

Amie also writes restaurant reviews on  Barnard’s Burger Blog.