We have found retractable awnings to be a great source of shade and reduce the discomfort caused from intense sun. In addition, the awnings protect your furniture from fading from the suns ultraviolet rays!
The fabric available for awnings is terrrific in terms of quality and beauty. There are unlimited colors and range from solid to stripped. You can even get a different color trim to tie in the colors of your home. We (Archadeck of Charlotte) have been installing Aristocrat Awnings (http://www.craftbilt.com/) for over 13 years here in Charlotte.
We also find now the HOA’s (homeowner’s asscociations) are much more receptive to these products as they have vastly improved in appearance. We are installing them in country club communities and modest neighborhoods alike. Check out our web site to see more ideas on these and other shade options at http://charlotte.archadeck.acom