Canadian Cancer Society logo
You are here: 

Make your own shade

Getting too much sun can happen when you least expect it. You can still be exposed to UV rays even if there are scattered clouds overhead. You could be sitting in your backyard, gardening or watching your kids playing.

Trees and hedges provide excellent shade around your house. How much shade will depend on the how thick the leaves grow.

Planting deciduous trees that are native to Canada will provide excellent sun protection during the summer months. Be sure to select types of trees that provide large thick coverings of leaves that will block UV rays. For year-round protection, consider planting coniferous trees like hemlock, pine, spruce, cedar, larch and fir. But remember, these types of trees do not have natural canopies that provide midday shade, like deciduous trees do.

  • Planting trees

    Think about how you use your space to decide which types of trees will grow best and provide you with the shade you need. When planting trees, think about:

    • the way the sun moves around your home – remember UV rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
    • the time you spend on the deck or patio
    • the location of the swimming pool or sandbox
  • Building your own shade

    Structures, like a garden tent, are an easy and cost-effective way to add shade to a garden area. Garden storage or tool sheds can also be placed to give partial shade to a deck or a sandbox. If you have space in your backyard, a gazebo can provide excellent shelter from the sun. Do-it-yourself kits can be bought at hardware stores and garden centres.

    Attached structures and awnings can keep your home cooler because the sunlight will not directly hit windows and doors.

    Adding a retractable awning or canopy to the side of your house is also an easy way to add shade. This allows you to adjust the protection you want depending on the sun’s location. The colour and thickness of the awning material is important to consider. Thick, tightly woven material in dark colours provides the most effective protection. Awnings can be used year-round, but many are easily removed and stored away during the winter.

    Installing a porch roof or backyard patio roof offers more permanent sun protection. Remember to check the sun’s path around your home before building it to make sure the structure will provide effective shade coverage.



Rose-Marie LeBlanc If I can help even one individual in my lifetime, it is worth the effort.

Read Rose-Marie's story

A home away from home

Illustration of house

For cancer patients who must travel a great distance to get to treatment, Canadian Cancer Society lodges offer a welcoming place to stay.

Learn more