Create a Backyard Getaway: Create Shady Spots. Even sun worshippers welcome a little shade. You'll enjoy your deck or patio more if you can provide relief from the sun. Choices for providing shade include mature trees, umbrellas, retractable awnings, or even pergolas and arbors planted with vines.
You don’t have to throw out an old patio umbrella — use it to support a vine! Just remove any fabric that’s left and replace it with chicken wire. Put it in the ground, or even a large container filled with potting mix, like the one at left that’s planted with a fast-growing Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). And if the post and ribs are made of wood, apply a coat of outdoor water-proof sealant to help it stand up to moisture from the potting medium, weather and watering.