Every terrace, balcony or garden needs an element of shade here in the UAE, but the days of a basic awning or parasol erected purely for practical reasons are long gone: now architects may integrate a covered space within a high-end house design that seamlessly merges indoors and out while providing shelter; landscape gardeners will incorporate a shaded structure or area within a design that is as much about creating a strong visual element as a necessary feature, while garden companies offer a range of sophisticated shade options that work beautifully with existing homes and established gardens.

Casting shadows

The concertina design of this awning erected over a sunny wooden deck not only allows the odd breeze to ripple through, but casts intriguing shadows throughout the day.

Leading on

There are any number of ways to add a shady structure directly to your home – a good choice for those who have limited outdoor space, or want to add interest to an otherwise bland exterior. The stylish Bio-Climatic range from La Veranda (above) includes a wide variety of slick options, while a simple wooden framework – such as the pergola below – is easy to construct: dressed with floating fabrics or lush trailing plants, it provides a cost-effective, informal shady feature.

Image: Istock

Keeping it cool

This smart, boxy cabana looks fantastic in a structured garden space; canvas panels stretched taut across the sides and top ensure a sense of privacy while still allowing air to circulate, and the zesty lemon upholstery looks fresh and cool, and can easily be changed to update the look.

Image: Getty

Easy Living

When the weather permits, nothing beats entertaining outdoors, so areas especially designed for the purpose are well worth incorporating if you have the space. The simple seating area, above, with its generous curved banquettes arranged around a circular wooden table, has been finished with a relaxed sail-like awning across a simple black frame. Below, an informal outside living room has been instantly created under a shady pergola with piles of brightly coloured cushions.

Image: Shuttestock/Istock

Merging the two

If space and budget permit, the trend for creating living spaces that flow seamlessly from inside to out – thanks to retractable doors, open sides or integrated terraces – are a fabulous shade consideration. Ideal for both relaxing and entertaining, the feeling of being outside whilst enjoying every home comfort is surely irresistible.

Image: Getty/Phocal Media

Outdoor dining

Separate covered areas especially designed for eating – and cooking – in the garden provide what designers call ‘destination points’: this casual roundel (right) is perfect for lazy breakfasts or dinners, while the fixed structure from Milestone Gardens (below) stylishly defines this outdoor kitchen and dining space.

Image: Istock