The back of my house faces west, and during July and August, the sun hits it directly in the afternoon through evening. On a warm day, this can cause the house to heat up quite a bit, so I'm making it a project to minimize the heat. One thing I'm looking at is being able to shade the windows from the sun. My neighbor uses awnings, but I'm not a big fan of the designs I've seen. I'm also considering shutters (as I saw on all buildings during a recent trip to Italy), but I'm not sure I'll find anything that suits the house. I'm also considering some simple roll-down blinds, maybe even something that I only attach during the warmest days.
My question is what are the design considerations I need to take into account for making sure I'm coming up with a solution that minimizes heat? Is anything that blocks/reflects the sun from the window enough? Are there other things to consider?
[Postscript: I'm also using landscaping to cut down on the heat, but it's going to take a while for some of the trees to grow into effective blocks.]
Update: Just came across this article, which doesn't go into a lot of depth, but does give a good overview of several options.