Looking for a way to stay protected from the sun without having to worry about your sustainability? When we think of products we put in our backyards and gardens, it can be easy to assume the majority of them are eco-friendly. A garden is a place where you shouldn’t really need any products which contain plastics or are harmful to the environment. 

It isn’t always simple to be so eco-friendly, though. Some of the products many of us have in our garden are actually quite harmful, and you may not even realize it. Our simple tips for a more eco-friendly garden certainly help, but canopies and other shades can provide a challenge.

Choices of Eco-Friendly Shade

Choose Permanent Structures (If You Can)

Undeniably, one of the best ways to provide shade in your garden is with a gazebo. These can provide rigid structures, and though you can choose portable options, many gazebos are permanent fixtures.


A permanent gazebo will commonly be made out of wood. As long as this wood comes from a responsible source then you can rest assured that your environmental damage is being kept to a minimum. Other permanent fixtures include pergolas and pavilion style gazebos which are also often made out of wood. If an outdoor pavilion is made of stainless steel, it is also pretty eco-friendly according to this article about how to choose the best gazebo.

Steel gazebo

If you do need to go for portable protection such as a pop-up canopy, then do your best to ensure that it is made in a sustainable way. PVC and other plastic-based products are not the best. Steel frames are environmentally sound but look for covers with both high SPF and sustainable fabrics. This can, unfortunately, mean sacrificing any waterproof abilities.

Choose the Right Cover Materials

A flimsy and cheap gazebo may well use low-quality materials and probably won’t prioritize the eco-friendly aspect of design. By ensuring a quality gazebo made out of wood and eco-friendly fabrics such as bamboo fabric can provide a more sustainable method of staying in the shade than plastic-based materials or PVC. Dr. Tarannum Afrin from Deakin University has even done an extensive study on the great UPF of this fabric.

Opt for a Sail Shade Shelter

Sail shades can be made almost exclusively out of fabric. As long as you opt for sustainable fabrics then you can keep your conscience clear. Sail shades have actually only become popular in recent decades. They are a great way to protect a seated area of your garden and give you shade from the sun whenever it gets too much.

A sail shade can take a little effort to hang up, and when the weather gets bad then you will need to take it down to avoid it becoming wet and even damaged. Fortunately, as these are just one large piece of fabric, it isn’t too much effort to remove them when they’re no longer needed and store away for next year (or just when the sun comes back out!)

Plant Your Way to Shade

This is requiring you to do some forward planning. Plus it isn’t something you can necessarily do in one summer. However and in the long term, the most eco-friendly shade may be under a tree. Also it can be a large archway with climbing plants around it.

Willow tree for shades

Nobody can create this overnight, but fast-growing trees such as Willow Hybrid can grow many feet per year. They can eventually provide you with at least partial garden shade. Naturally, whether this technique is available to you depends on your space. That’s in addition to where you are in the world, as weather conditions will play a part.

Therefore combining climbing plants with pergolas, gazebos, and other permanent fixtures can look wonderful. Also, being extremely useful for staying out of the sun’s rays for too long. You can even create a vertical garden around your gazebo or pergola and benefit from saving space in your backyard and growing vegetables at the same time.


In conclusion, have you enjoyed our post? Hopefully, we’ve provided some inspiration for a shaded backyard area. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments section below. Also please share this post on social media if you think it could be beneficial to others.

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