10 Best Pool Shade Ideas

Pool Care Chapters

Owning a pool can provide plenty of relaxation, but not all that time should be spent soaking up UV rays from the sun. It’s necessary to make sure you provide areas of shade to shield you from too much exposure.

The good thing is there are plenty of pool shade options available. Below are some of the best ways to shade a pool.

1. Pergolas


A pergola is not only an aesthetically pleasing feature to add to your pool it can also increase the total value of the home when done correctly.

How much does a basic pergola cost?

This can vary greatly based on the material used and the contractor that you select. Generally, you can expect to pay between $2,000-$6,000 for the material and labor to install a Pergola. A couple of options to explore when considering a Pergola is a DIY kit that you can find on Amazon or using a trusted service like Home Depot to help guide you through the entire process.

2. Umbrellas

Pool Umbrella

There are a few benefits to using umbrellas to provide your pool with a shaded area. The first is that they offer great flexibility when it comes to placement and portability. The second is that they are very customizable when it comes to design and color pallets. You can almost certainly find a design that works well with your pool. The third benefit and maybe the most appealing is the cost of pool umbrellas.

Depending on your budget you can find pool umbrellas between $50.00-$500.00. Of course, the amount will go up based on the number of umbrellas you purchase.

3. Trees

Landscaped trees around inground pool

Using trees to provide your pool with shade can be a great option and can also be easy on the wallet. However, the type of trees you plant near your pool needs to be selected with caution. The wrong trees can create a maintenance nightmare due to tree leaves, branches, and birds. They can also damage your pool if you choose a tree with a large growing root system.

Make sure you speak with a landscaping specialist to get an understanding of what tree might be best for your pool. When choosing a tree type for your pool, consider the following:

  • Leaf size – Large leaves can easily clog essential pool systems and parts; skimmers, cleaners, and pool vacuums.
  • Climate – Just because a tree works great in the summer doesn’t mean it will work great in the winter. Be sure to choose a tree for your pool that works great for all times of the year that you plan to use and operate your pool.
  • Roots – Trees with large room systems can grow through the concrete causing costly cracks and leaks.
  • Debris – Certain types of debris can be more problematic than others. For example, some leaves and berries can create difficult stains on your pool and deck.

4. Shade Sails

shade sails covering a pool

If you’re looking for pool shade ideas you definitely need to consider shade sails. They provide a great modern look and can be customized to fit your needs. Most shade sails come in three standard shapes; square, triangle, and rectangle. Many places will also allow you to order custom shapes and colors.

The shade sails themselves are not too expensive, between $20 – $500 on Amazon (depending on the number of shade sails purchased). The majority of the costs will be spent on professional installation which can be pricey. Expect to pay between $15 – $25 per square foot (sq ft). Between $6,000 – $10,000. If you have the skills and are good at following directions you might consider making this a DIY project to save on costs. That being said, we typically always recommend a professional installation to make sure everything is done correctly.

5. Retractable Shade Canopies

retractable shade canopy

If you have a large budget and you don’t mind spending the cash, it might be good to explore a retractable pool canopy. Retractable canopies are probably one of the best all-around inground pool options for shade. They often cover the entire length of the pool with the canopy portion being suspended between posts on both sides of the pool.

The primary benefit of a retractable canopy is that it can offer as much or as little shade as needed. Similar to a garage door, you can start and stop the canopy at the desired point. Expect to pay between $10,000 – $25,000 depending on wood selection. This is simply an estimate. We recommend reaching out to a local contractor that specializes in pool canopies for an estimate on parts and labor. Prices can vary greatly due to fluctuating wood prices.

6. Cantilevers

cantilever over a swimming pool

Cantilevers are basically a hybrid between a pool canopy and an umbrella. They can either be a solid fixture which would preferably be done during the construction of the pool or you can purchase a portable Cantilever through places like Amazon or Wayfair. The price range for a Cantilever will range between $600.00 – $4,000.

7. Shade Pergola

shade pergola near a swimming pool

If you don’t want to shade the pool itself but are instead simply looking to create a relaxing shaded area near the pool a shade pergola might fit your needs. It also makes for a relatively inexpensive DIY project since many of the options you will find online will only require basic assembly. You can find a very budget-friendly option on Home Depot that is between $1,000 – $7,000.

8. Retractable Pool Enclosure

retractable pool enclosure

As the name implies, this structure encapsulates the entire pool. There are actually multiple types of retractable pool enclosures. The most common ones are nested structures that retract into one another and another where only the panels retract. This option will certainly provide you with ample shade options and there are quite a few companies that offer fully customizable solutions. Retractable Pool Enclosures will carry a wide price range. Expect the cost to be $15,000 – $100,000.

9. Retractable Awning

rectractable awning

Pool Awnings are great options if you’re on a tight budget. A basic awning will cost between $800 – $5,000. The cheaper versions will use a hand crank to retract the awning. There are also a large number of companies in the united states that provide awnings and can install them with minimal work. You can also find a few types that might be available online for an even cheaper price and can be installed yourself.

10. Basic Pool Enclosure

pool enclosure

A basic pool enclosure is probably the most common type of enclosure. They are very common in southern parts of the country and are great for keeping out unwanted animals and pests. They also shield the pool from debris. Depending on the type of material you use a basic pool enclosure can provide a degree of shade. Contact a local enclosure specialist to explore your options. The average price you can expect to pay for a pool enclosure is between $6000 – $20,000.

Pool Shade Ideas: Quick Comparison

Shade StructureLevel of DifficultyEstimated Price Range
PergolasHigh$2,000 – $6,000
UmbrellasEasy$50.00 – $500
Shade SailsHigh$6,000 – $10,000
Retractable Shade CanopiesHigh$10,000 – $25,000
CantileversModerate$600 – $4,000
Shade PergolaModerate$1,000 – $7,000
Retractable Pool EnclosureHigh$15,000 – $100,000
Retractable AwningEasy$800 – $5,000
Basic Pool EnclosureModerate$6,000 – $20,000
The prices above for the shade structures included can only be considered an estimate. Please speak with a local professional to get a true cost breakdown.

The Pool Care Handbook & Video Course

by Swim University
This is an illustrated e-book with detailed videos and step-by-step instructions on how to best care for your swimming pool. 
© 2023 Pool Care Guide. All rights reserved.