There's nothing quite like reclining in a lounger and enjoying your patio when the weather allows it. But sometimes even the most sun loving amongst us need to catch some shade when it gets too hot to bear, so this needs to be kept in mind when you are designing, creating and enjoying your patio.
So it's essential then to make sure your patio area has some shade that you can retreat to when the sun really breaks through. If you are in the process of designing your patio area it's worth seeing if you can extend it to go under the cover of a tree if you have one nearby. View your garden from all angles during a sunny day to see where the sun gets to, and where the natural shade from your house falls as the sun moves round.
Of course, patio furniture will generally come with the option of a matching umbrella that can be used to provide shade when you are sitting at your patio table, and it can be moved and tilted to protect you as much as possible. This is an instant and affordable option for all patios.
A more permanent solution would be to install an awning or canopy which would be attached directly to your house. The more advanced options are retractable, offering you the most versatility without being an eyesore when not in use. You will also have a choice of natural shades and colors that can be chosen to fit in with the color of your garden furniture, for example.
Another possibility is to use a combination of hanging baskets to form a wall display that also provides some shade once the flowers are in full bloom. This will not provide as much shade as the other suggestions above, but it can help to improve the usability of certain areas as the sun moves round.
Another less well known way of creating a shady patio is by purchasing a sunshade sail. This is basically a big piece of material (usually triangular or rectangular) that is attached to whatever points you wish by cord and O-rings. This can be one or two points on your house, a tree branch, a fence, or whatever you wish. In this sense they are more versatile than an awning, as they can be used on a patio area in the middle of a garden, so long as you have places to string them up from.
However much you like to soak up the sun, it's important that you do not overdo it, and by using a combination of the methods above, you will always have a shady area to retreat to.