When temperatures rise, awnings are an essential weapon in the cooling arsenal—blocking direct sun and creating zones of shade. The best development we've seen in a while is the tensioned shade sail, a triangle or rectangular of UV-blocking fabric.
Above: A shade sail outside a house in France. Photograph by Verne via OWI.
Above: Whittier, CA-based Shade Sails offers an extensive range of sail shades in different configurations; prices range from $159.95 for a 12-foot triangle to $394 for an 18-foot square. Shade Sails from Backyard City.
Above: The 16-foot Coolaroo Shade Sail is made from a commercial-grade fabric that resists mold and mildew and blocks up to 90 percent of UV rays. Available in Desert Sand (shown), Brunswick Green, and Ocean Blue, it's $105.49 from Amazon.
Above: Coolaroo's Square Shade Sail comes in several dimensions, the 11-by-10-foot size is $147 from Amazon.