While it's enjoyable to lounge on a patio, your use of the space can be limited without any shade. You might wear a hat and sunscreen, but that won't stop you from getting hot in direct sunlight. Roofing options include a retractable awning or a permanent roof structure. Another possibility that you may not have considered is shade sails. Consider the ways this option beats the rest.
Preserve the Outdoorsy Feeling
Some people address the shade issue by building a permanent roof. However, these roofs are often relatively low and solid, and they can create a closed-in feeling. Shade sails, though, will preserve the open, outdoorsy feel of the patio.
The poles that hold the sail corners are set at different heights to allow rain flow, and they're often higher than a permanent roof. Plus, the sail fabric itself helps maintain lightness, not being solid and heavy. They allow you to enjoy the patio with the whole experience of being outside. You'll have plenty of colour options too. For a classic backyard and house, you could choose beige or navy to blend with the environment.
Use Versatile Options
You can vary the shaded area with your choice of sail size and shape. Opt for a massive square to shelter a large area. Or fit a smaller triangle shape that leaves a part of the patio in direct sunshine. You can position the shade on the east side of the patio to protect it from the morning sun or place it on the west side to block the afternoon heat.
A retractable awning doesn't offer as much versatility, as they're typically square or rectangular. Plus, they're attached to the house, so they can't be placed so freely in relation to the sun. Nor does a permanent roof offer as much flexibility in adjusting its size, shape, and position. It may look odd to build a triangular roof or offset it to one side of the patio, for example.
Move It Around
A shade sail is a semi-permanent structure that allows you to move it around to a different spot in the yard in the future. You might decide to reposition your patio to a place in the garden away from the house. In that case, you could move the shade sail to the new area. A retractable awning has limitations, as it can't be removed from the house.
While you can relocate a permanent patio roof, it takes more construction work. The old roof has to be pulled down and the new structure rebuilt. Shade sails are simpler, though you need to do some work to shift them. The poles are usually set in concrete footings, and it'll take some effort to extract them and set them in cement again. However, the work required will be less, as shade sails are semi-permanent rather than permanent.
Even if you didn't want to move the shade sails, you could replace them with a new fabric and colour. That way, you can give your yard a facelift with minimal effort and expense when compared to the cost of rebuilding a permanent roof.