Summer means it’s time for shade! If you aren’t lucky enough to have a mature tree to shade your outdoor space, a pergola or pavilion might do the trick.

Open pergolas provide dappled shade, depending on the spacing of the overhead beams. Pavilions provide a structure with a roof for solid protection against sun and rain. Structures can come prefabricated or can be totally customized.

Looking to add some character to your landscape? Many built structures also provide more than shade by being a focal point for your garden and creating added living space.

The most simple, economical option — hanging a shade cloth, sail or tarp on posts or existing architecture. If you are looking for something more permanent, an all wood or metal pergola might be better.

With metal being able to span longer distances without support, it is often used in modern style projects, though it can also be very classic, formal or anything in between. Wood provides a softer, warmer look, but also must be sealed and/or painted regularly.

Pavilions are truly an extension of interior living — often combining comfortable seating and a fireplace, an outdoor kitchen, dining spaces or all of the above. The solid roof of a pavilions allows for use during most weather, especially with a fireplace.

Whatever shade option you choose, look at the maintenance each option requires. Maintenance should be a key deciding factor as you choose your structure as some need painted and sealed more often, due to exposure.

Choose lasting materials such as cedar, composite or powder coated metal.