7 Different Sun Shelters for Your Deck in Calgary

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The sun’s warm embrace, the chirping of birds, and the soft breeze on your face – these are just a few joys of spending time on your deck. But it’s essential to strike a balance in a city like Calgary, where the summer sun can be both a pleasure and a scorcher.

Your deck, which serves as an extension of your living space, deserves to be as comfortable and functional as any room inside your home. One of the most effective ways to achieve this harmony is by incorporating sun shelters.

As Calgary residents know all too well, our weather can be unpredictable. While we cherish those sunny days, overexposure can damage our skin, fade our outdoor furniture, and make lounging on the deck less than ideal. Plus, the city’s sudden showers and hailstorms present another reason for suitable deck coverage.

But with so many sun shelter options available, how do you decide which is best for your space and needs? And where do you get started with the installation process?

This guide explores seven top sun shelter solutions catering to various aesthetic preferences, functionalities, and budgets.

From the elegance of pergolas to the versatility of retractable awnings, there’s a sun shelter solution tailored for every Calgary deck. Whether you’re seeking full protection or just a hint of shade, we’ve got you covered – quite literally!


1) Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are shade solutions that can be extended or retracted as per the user’s need. Mounted typically to the side of the house, these awnings consist of a metal framework covered with shade fabric. With manual or motorized mechanisms, homeowners can choose when to spread them out or pull them in.

The convenience of retracting an awning during harsh weather conditions and extending it during sunny days makes it a favourite. Moreover, its ability to instantly transform an exposed patio or deck into a shaded oasis is immensely appealing.


  • Flexibility: Adjust shade according to need.
  • Space-saving: Can be retracted when not in use.
  • Customizable: Comes in various styles, patterns, and materials.


  • Maintenance: Requires regular cleaning and checks to ensure the mechanism works smoothly.
  • Cost: Motorized versions can be pricey.
  • Durability: Not always designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.


2) Pergolas

Pergolas are open outdoor structures made from wood, metal, or vinyl. They usually consist of vertical posts supporting a lattice of beams. While they don’t provide complete shade, they are often adorned with climbing plants or draped fabrics for added cover.

Pergolas enhance the aesthetic appeal of an outdoor space. They not only provide shade but also serve as an architectural statement. Many Calgary homeowners appreciate pergolas for their ability to support climbing plants, creating a natural, living canopy throughout the seasons.


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Enhances the beauty of outdoor spaces.
  • Plant Support: Ideal for vines or hanging plants.
  • Versatility: Can be decorated or adorned in multiple ways.


  • Partial Shade: Doesn’t provide complete sun protection.
  • Maintenance: Wooden pergolas need treatment to resist weathering.
  • Installation: More time-consuming than other options.


3) Sun Sails

Sun or shade sails are fabric canopies stretched and anchored between several points, either on posts or existing structures. Typically triangular or quadrilateral in shape, these sails provide shade while maintaining an airy, open feeling.

Best of all, sun sails are a modern and chic shade solution. They provide efficient sun protection while adding a touch of contemporary design to outdoor spaces. Their ease of installation and the possibility of overlapping multiple sails for a unique look makes them a trendy choice for Calgary’s style-conscious homeowners.


  • Modern Look: Contemporary and stylish.
  • Easy Installation: Can be set up in varied configurations.
  • Ventilation: Provides shade while keeping the area airy.


  • Anchorage: Requires sturdy anchor points.
  • Snow Load: Not suitable for heavy snow or extreme weather.
  • Partial Coverage: Depending on placement, might not cover the entire desired area.


4) Gazebos

Gazebos are freestanding, often octagonal or round structures with a solid roof and open sides. They can be made of wood, metal, or vinyl and are frequently adorned with railings, curtains, or mosquito netting for added functionality.

Residents often love gazebos for their timeless appeal and ability to create a dedicated outdoor space protected from the elements. In some Calgary homes, they serve as focal points in gardens and spacious decks, offering a secluded spot for relaxation, dining, or even hot tub installations.


  • Complete Shelters: Offers protection from sun, rain, and even bugs if equipped with netting.
  • Versatile Design: Comes in various styles and sizes.
  • Added Privacy: Curtains or netting can create a private sanctuary.


  • Space Requirement: Needs a significant footprint.
  • Maintenance: Depending on material, might need regular upkeep.
  • Price: High-quality gazebos can be costly.


5) Umbrellas

Umbrellas, particularly the large patio or market varieties, are portable shade solutions supported by a central pole and ribs. They can be easily opened or closed and are often paired with outdoor dining sets.

Umbrellas are ideal for Calgary homeowners with limited space or those looking for an affordable and quick shade solution. They can be shifted according to the sun’s position, providing adaptable coverage.


  • Portability: Easy to move and adjust.
  • Budget-Friendly: Compared to other sun shelters, umbrellas are more affordable.
  • Variety: Available in numerous colours, patterns, and sizes.


  • Limited Coverage: Shades a restricted area.
  • Durability: Can be susceptible to wind damage.
  • Stability: Requires a sturdy base, especially in windy conditions.


6) Sunrooms

Sunrooms, or solariums, are home extensions with large windows, often encompassing three sides and the roof. They allow homeowners to enjoy natural light and the surrounding view while being shielded from adverse weather.

Sunrooms offer a bridge between indoor comfort and outdoor enjoyment, allowing residents to experience nature’s beauty in a climate-controlled environment. They also add considerable value to a home.


  • Year-Round Use: Protected from insects, wind, and cold.
  • Home Value: Increases property appeal and potential resale value.
  • Versatile Space: Can be used as a lounge, dining area, or even a greenhouse.


  • Cost: Building a sunroom can be an investment.
  • Construction Time: Requires planning, permits, and construction time.
  • Temperature Regulation: Might need heating or cooling solutions depending on the season.


7) Custom Shade Structures (e.g., louvered roofs)

Custom shade structures are tailored solutions that homeowners can modify for desired sunlight or coverage, often involving adjustable panels or louvers. These structures are designed to fit specific deck sizes, shapes, and aesthetic preferences.

Offering a blend of modern design and tailored functionality, custom shade structures appeal to homeowners looking for a unique, premium shade solution. The ability to adjust coverage throughout the day is especially valuable in a place with varying weather patterns like Calgary.


  • Tailored Fit: Designed specifically for the space.
  • Modern Design: Enhances property aesthetics.
  • Adaptable Coverage: Louvers or panels can be adjusted for desired sun or shade.


  • Cost: Can be pricier due to customization.
  • Installation: Requires professional setup.
  • Maintenance: Moving parts might need occasional upkeep.


Choosing the Right Sun Shelter for Your Home

The journey to picking the ideal sun shelter starts with understanding your space, needs, and priorities. In the vast realm of sun shelters, there’s a solution for every home and every desire. Here are a few guiding points to consider:

  1. Space & Size: Measure your deck or patio to ensure the shelter fits seamlessly. A vast area might benefit from a gazebo or custom structure, while smaller spaces can find solace in umbrellas or sun sails.
  2. Weather Conditions: Calgary’s diverse weather demands versatility. Retractable awnings or louvered roofs might be ideal for areas with changing conditions, as they can be adjusted based on the day’s forecast.
  3. Budget: Establish a budget early on. While custom structures and sunrooms offer premium benefits, more affordable yet effective solutions like sun sails and umbrellas exist.
  4. Aesthetic & Function: Visualize how the shelter will complement your home’s design. A pergola adorned with climbing plants might be your go-to if you lean toward a natural vibe. For those who value flexibility, retractable solutions take the prize.
  5. Maintenance: Consider the upkeep required for your chosen structure. Wood demands more attention than metal or vinyl, and moving parts in retractable solutions might need occasional check-ups.

The best sun shelters for your Calgary home are ones that align with your vision of comfort, function, and beauty. And if you’re ever uncertain about the best direction to take, remember that expert advice is just a call away.

At Maritime West Construction, we’re passionate about enhancing outdoor spaces and ensuring homeowners find their perfect shade solution. Our experienced team is here to guide, advise, and bring your sun shelter dreams to fruition.

Contact Maritime West Construction today, and let’s transform your deck into a sanctuary  – tailor-made for the Calgary sun.

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