Urban Porch Privacy + Comfort with Exterior Solar Shades

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home
exterior shades | tables | porch swing | outdoor rug | llama planter

This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds.

We fell in love with our home for many reasons, but one of the biggest was the beautiful tree-lined street where it resides. Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer hit our block hard and we lost more than a handful of trees to this tree-devouring pest. Luckily, the tree directly in front of our house was spared! The city was, however, forced to remove the trees on either side of it. It was a total bummer that left our front porch completely exposed to the harsh afternoon sun. During the late summer days, it was often too hot out front for us to relax and greet the neighborhood dogs as they passed by. CC was not pleased, and you can imagine how her mood set off the rest of the house – ha!

But! With the help of our friends at Bali Blinds, we gave CC (and ourselves) some much needed shade from the afternoon sun with a pair of handsome exterior solar shades. Exterior shades for our front porch has been on our list for years, and now that they’re in place, we’re wondering why we waited so long. (Isn’t that always the case?)

Note: You can also watch this video on YouTube


Beyond handling the physically large size of the shades, the installation process was very similar to many of the other Bali Blinds in our home. Large L-shaped brackets are screwed securely into the vertical surface, and the blinds clip right into the brackets. To start, we determined the mounting height at one end and leveled the remaining brackets from there.

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home

We opted to order our shades as an outside mount so that we could tuck it up into the fascia board, making them invisible from the street. There’s a sturdy 2″ x 12″ beneath the thin metal sheet, and our brackets were drilled directly through the fascia into the lumber.

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home

Once all of the clips were in place and level with one another, we snapped the shades into the clips. The process is very straightforward, but a second set of hands is definitely recommended due to the length of outdoor shades.


We chose Frostine fabric in 10% openness for our shades. As you’re ordering shades, you’ll notice that fabrics are available in a range of percentages, typically anywhere from 1-14%. Think of openness like this: the higher the number, the more open the weave of the fabric. This allows more light to pass through, and a more clear view to the outside, which is what we were looking for. Simply put, we can see out, but during the day, passersby cannot see in. Perfect! ​​​​​​​

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home

The white fabric and large cassette valance match the existing trim work on our home and tuck nicely inside the horizontal porch support beams. When not pulled down, they’re tough to detect from the sidewalk in front of the house!

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home

Tip: Although the solar shades look mostly opaque looking in, all solar shades are see-through, and it’s important to keep in mind how this will impact your privacy at night. For example, if your lights are on in the evening, this will give others a view into your home. So although the see-through weave of solar shades offers you a brighter outdoor view from your dark(er) interior during the day, the opposite is true at night.


The shades open and close with a few quick pulls of the looped stainless chain. Operation is smooth and simple with very few moving parts.

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home
How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home

Since exterior weather conditions can vary widely than interior conditions, the blinds include a reposition-able hook and ball system. This helps to keep the shades from blowing excessively in the breeze. Regardless of weather, these shades will stay where they’re supposed to!

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home

Shade. Glorious Shade!

And about that shade that CC (and the humans of the household) so desperately desired? It’s absolutely perfect! Perhaps one of our biggest concerns – and a reason we put this project off for so many years – was the fear that it would feel too closed in. We’re happy to report that it’s quite the opposite! Because we chose a 10% openness (therefore, the weave of the fabric is more ​​​​​​​open), we still have a good view of the outside beyond the shades. It’s actually quite cozy, and we’re now able to enjoy our front porch all through the afternoon without the harsh sun sending us back inside! CC is quite happy, and so are we.

How we installed solar shades on our urban front porch. Via Yellow Brick Home
exterior shades | tables | porch swing | outdoor rug | llama planter | buffalo check throw

With a few pulls of the looped chain, our porch becomes a shady, private outdoor oasis in just a few seconds. CC is happy and so are we! This project was our first foray into exterior shades, and we’re officially huge fans. Down the road, we plan to give the front porch a massive overhaul that will include a tongue and groove ceiling as well as recessed lighting and a ceiling fan. We cna’t wait for that day, but until then, this is a huge step towards keeping this space comfortable all day long!​​​​​​​

This post is sponsored by Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Our front porch is outfitted with Exterior Solar Shades in FrostineFabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly. (PS: Did you know that Bali Blinds has a selection of custom Roman, Solar, Wood and Cellular Shades available at West Elm? Check those out here!)

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  • lak6.24.19 - 9:33 AM

    oh your porch looks so comfortable, makes me think of coffee and good book on a lazy afternoon.  I love the shades!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.24.19 - 9:34 AM

      And that’s exactly how I spent my Sunday afternoon! :DReplyCancel

  • Sally6.25.19 - 10:29 AM

    Front porches are honestly one of my favourite things about American houses (that and the usually far more generous sizes), they just aren’t something you see here in the U.K.  This looks so beautifully relaxing and inviting. ReplyCancel

    • Scott6.25.19 - 10:39 AM

      Thanks Sally! It was one of the features that drew us in to our home to begin with. We truly love relaxing out front and watching the world go by!ReplyCancel

  • Amy K S6.27.19 - 2:45 PM

    Can I ask you how wide your shades are? We are in the market for some solar shades for our kitchen sliding doors,which open onto a covered deck.  The windows are about 125 inches wide and I am now thinking that exterior solar shades might be the solution because they wouldn’t take up amy space inside my kitchen. Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated it.
    Thanks, AmyReplyCancel

    • Kim6.27.19 - 3:02 PM

      Oh, that’s a great idea! The longest one is 9’+, and there was an option to go even wider if needed. I think you’d be golden!ReplyCancel

      • Amy K S7.5.19 - 5:37 PM

        Thank you, I ordered some swatches, now to figure it all out.ReplyCancel

  • meredith7.18.19 - 5:25 PM

    I love the new shades on your front porch and also had a quick question about measuring – I am hoping to add one to our porch as well! Did you measure flush to the side of your house/porch post for the width? And where did you stop the measurement for your height? Also wondering whether Bali makes any adjustments to the measurements you provide. Thanks! ReplyCancel

    • Scott7.19.19 - 9:16 AM

      Hi Meredith! Bali has a fantastic ‘how to measure’ guide here (featuring a cameo by the back of my head!). Bali’s customer support is also fantastic and can be reached at 1-877-792-0002.ReplyCancel

      • Kim7.19.19 - 9:57 AM

        Meredith, to follow up Scott’s comment, Bali does NOT adjust measurements when you choose outside mounts. You get to measure the exact width and height and they cut the shades to that – exactly. For inside mounts, you give them measurements based on the guide that Scott shared, and they will subtract the appropriate amounts to that it fits your window perfectly.

        All this to say, if you’re also doing an outside mount for the exterior shades like we did, measure the exact width that you want it to span. For the height, we added about 6″ extra so we had some wiggle room when pulling down. It’s better to have more height!ReplyCancel

        • meredith7.22.19 - 8:19 AM

          Thank you for this! Makes perfect sense :)ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer9.11.20 - 3:35 PM

    Thanks for this info, guys! I’ve had this post saved for over a year, as we planned our porch renovation. Well, the porch is finished and we hung the shade today! It’s perfect! Just what we needed to filter the setting sun on the west side of the porch so we can comfortably sit out there in the late afternoon. Now we just need some sunny days to break up this week of rain and clouds so we can really take it for a test drive. Thanks again!ReplyCancel


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