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Best Shade Structures for Outdoor Living

| Scott Prunty | ,

When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, there’s nothing quite like spending time in your outdoor living space. However, too much sun and heat can quickly make your time outdoors uncomfortable. That’s where shade structures come to the rescue. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the top shade structures for outdoor living spaces, including:

  • Pergolas
  • Pavilions
  • Shade Sails
  • Cabanas

Solid Structures designs and builds all types of custom shade structures and also a wide variety of manufactured items to completely transform your outdoor living space in the Coastal Virginia area. Our headquarters is located in Virginia Beach and we extend operations to Chesapeake, Norfolk, and other surrounding cities. For a professional design consultation for anything that’s outdoor living, please Contact Us to get your project started.

Check out our dedicated Shade Structures page for more information and also our Shade Structures Gallery for pictures and samples of our quality work,


Pergolas are a timeless choice for providing shade in outdoor spaces. They give the feel of a separate outdoor room to arrange furniture or other outdoor living essentials. They can either be freestanding (4 legs) or tied into an existing structure as shown below. These structures consist of vertical pillars supporting an open lattice or grid of beams on top. Pergolas offer a touch of elegance and charm while allowing dappled sunlight to filter through, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere. You can customize your pergola with outdoor ceiling fans, lights, sound systems, and even water misting systems to stay cool.

Here’s a couple examples of our pergolas:

A Cozy Pergola Built by Solid Structures
An Outdoor Kitchen Pergola Built by Solid Structures

Solid Structures is a certified dealer and installer of “StruXure’s Pergolas and Cabanas.” These state-of-the-art shade structures are designed with smart technology that allows it to open, close, pivot, and slide according to your needs.

This brand is not just a pergola, it’s a lifestyle upgrade. It offers unmatched functionality and superior quality, making it the perfect addition to your outdoor space. Whether you’re looking to create a cozy residential patio or a spacious commercial outdoor area, Struxure has got you covered.

For more information, check out the examples on our Shade Structures page!

StruXure Pergola


For those seeking a more solid and substantial shade structure, pavilions are an excellent option. Pavilions feature a complete roof, providing comprehensive protection from the sun and rain. They come in a variety of styles and sizes, making it easy to find one that complements your outdoor space. You can furnish your pavilion with comfortable seating, lighting, and even an outdoor kitchen for the ultimate outdoor living experience.

Here’s a couple examples of our pavilions:

A Poolside Pavilion Built by Solid Structures
A Relaxing Pavilion with Firepit Built by Solid Structures

Shade Sails

Shade sails have gained popularity in recent years due to their modern and minimalist design. These tensioned fabric canopies come in various shapes and colors, allowing you to add a contemporary touch to your outdoor area. Installation is relatively simple, and you can create unique configurations to fit your space. Shade sails are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, making them a stylish choice for those who want to make a statement.

Here’s a couple example of our shade sails:

A Shade Sail Over Outdoor Kitchen Built by Solid Structures
A Pavilion with Shade Sail Built by Solid Structures


Typically found by the pool, cabanas offer a private and cozy retreat where you can escape the sun’s intensity. These small, freestanding structures often come equipped with comfortable seating, curtains for privacy, TVs for watching the big games, frozen drink machines, and a mini-bar. Cabanas provide a slice of resort-style relaxation right in your own backyard, making them a popular choice for those who love to unwind in style while enjoying the great outdoors. They typically have the ability to close up for protection from the elements.

A Poolside Cabana Built by Solid Structures


No matter which shade structure you choose, the goal is to create a comfortable and inviting outdoor living space where you can relax, entertain, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without worrying about the sun’s harsh rays or unpredictable weather. With the right shade structure, you can transform your outdoor space into a sanctuary of comfort and style.

We’d be happy to meet you and design a custom outdoor living area transform your lifestyle. Start Your Project by Contacting Us today!

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Written By Scott Prunty

Scott Prunty is the president of Solid Structures. Throughout his 15 active years in the Design-Build Outdoor Living industry, he has earned various certifications in the areas of ICPI Residential, ICPI Advanced Residential, ICPI Commercial, PCIP, and is an ICPI certified instructor.

  • 15 years actively in the Design-Build Outdoor Living industry
  • ICPI certified Instructor
  • ICPI Residential, ICPI Advanced Residential, ICPI Commercial, and PCIP certified
  • Imagine Pools certified installer
  • Fluidra certified installer
  • Trex Platinum Pro
  • Avid saltwater person, boating, diving, surfing, fishing
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