Patio Cover Ideas: 15 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Space Protected (2023)

Make the most of your outdoor space with smart patio cover ideas that extend use all season long.

Whether you have a small patio, a compact patio or a large spacious patio, thisgarden ideasfor added protection it can make your outdoor space fully usable come rain or shine.

Patio covers can range from simple to more elaborate. An extra large umbrella or folding canopy provides shade in a small space and can be stored in a shed when not in use.

Or consider a fixed structure like a pergola or awning if you want more permanent protection from the elements.

patio canopy ideas

Over the past few summers, we've spent more time than ever in our outdoor spaces, improving and investing in ourterrace ideasand gardens to become an extension of our homes. Adding extra shade from the sun (or protection from the rain) helps maximize the time we spend in our gardens, allowing them to be used beyond the summer.

"Government guidelines recommend that the walls of the safest outdoor shelters be at least 50% open," says Ginevra Benedetti, deputy editor of Ideal Home for the Elements, Outdoor Shelter.'

1. Create a compact, covered living area

Patio Cover Ideas: 15 Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Space Protected (1)

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Make your outdoor space more usable by installing a wooden pergola covering a patio seating area. A wooden structure provides shade from the sun and shelter from the wind, and with vines trained to grow over it, the added vegetation will provide additional protection over time.

Add wow by painting a wooden pergola dark gray or black. The dark colors contrast with the greenery and foliage, making the living area a focal point. Treating the wood also helps protect it from the elements for a longer-lasting finish.

2. Oversize a pergola to cover a large patio

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

To supplygarden shadeand protection over a larger area, consider increasing the size of a pergola so that it covers the entire patio area. A simple wooden pergola combined with lush greenery helps enclose the space and adds extra privacy when overlooking a garden.

(Video) Patio Cover Ideas (Everything you need to know)

Using a suspended structure can also be a smart device, helping to divide a large outdoor area into smaller, more intimate zones – for cooking, dining and relaxing, for example. Hanging outdoor lighting and hanging greenery from the ceiling joists creates a natural separation that visually divides the space.

3. Keep it compact with a simple outdoor umbrella

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Nick Pope)

For a simple and hassle-free way to create patio shade ideas, opt for an easy-to-set-up parasol. Choose a design that complements the size and shape of your patio table - square or round - and make sure it's large enough to provide shade for everyone seated.

The height of the bar must be high enough that people do not have to bend down to sit under it, while a cantilevered design with a side bar does not obstruct the view of the table and can be used independently of the table, although it requires a taller base. heavy, to keep it stable.

4. Train the green to provide additional coverage

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Marianne Majerus)

Give a patio pergola extra protection by training vines to grow over it. Opt for fast-growing vines that establish quickly and provide coverage in less than two years.

A climbing rose is an ideal choice for growing over a pergola. It normally blooms once a year to provide a blanket full of color and sweet fragrance. As an alternative to an uncomplicated plant that does not require pruning, the Virginia Creeper is ideal. This flowering vine grows quickly and offers a splash of bright color. Wisteria is another successful choice for a pergola.

5. Be smart with your plant selection

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Alasdair McIntosh)

When replanting a decking area from scratch, it always pays to plan some shaded areas with taller plants and trees strategically placed around the space to provide shade from the sun at different times of the day.

Adding shade to an existing patio is easy with large potted plants or small patio trees that can be positioned to provide shade in areas where shade is lacking. Planters on wheels are a great option on paved patios, as they allow plants to be moved when they are in bloom or not, or moved to provide extra shade in sunny locations.

6. Expand the outdoor protection with an awning

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(Video) Best Outdoor Patio Covers (Top 7 Design Ideas)

(Image credit: Hillary's)

Provide shelter where you need it most with a retractable awning that can be installed on the side of a property to cover a patio or patio. A brilliant option for spaces where permanent coverage is not required. With the push of a button, it can be shown or hidden to provide instant shade when the sun is at its hottest, or hidden when protection is not needed.

A retractable awning like this one is controlled via a handy remote control, with added extras like built-in electric heaters and stylish light strips to light up the patio area after dark. Intelligent built-in vibration sensors automatically retract the awning in case of wind.

7. Keep it chic with a coordinated design

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(Image credit: Thomas Sanderson)

For larger patios and terraces, an outdoor awning will provide more coverage than a standard-size sunshade. Choosing a project that fits the style of the property and the look of the garden is essential, as it will be used and seen for years to come.

"The awnings come in a variety of fabrics, allowing you to find the color, pattern and texture that works best for you," says Lisa Slack, Head of Product atThomas Sanderson(opens in new tab). “So it's worth thinking about what you like. Want a color that complements your interior design to make your patio feel like an extension of your home? Or do you prefer something different to give your outdoor space its own identity?”

“Awning fabrics are available in a variety of solid colors, stripes and patterns. And you can also choose from a selection of support colors to ensure your awning matches your window and door frames for a cohesive look,” adds Lisa.

8. Enjoy a clear view outside

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(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

A covered pergola at the back of a property is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors while remaining covered. The option of transparent panels on the roof allows maximum light to enter, while protecting against direct sunlight or heavy rain.

Look for panels with built-in UV protection, which will help filter out the sun's harmful rays and keep patio furniture from fading in bright sunlight.

9. Create shelters in different parts of the garden

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(Video) 15 Shade Ideas For Your Outdoor Space 🛋️

(Photo credit: Caribbean Blinds UK Ltd)

Use a large garden to create different outdoor spaces to enjoy the sun or escape the sun if you prefer. A freestanding pergola can be installed in a suitable location, either directly in front of the house on a terrace or in a paved area further down the garden.

A rotating slatted pergola like this one offers protection from the sun or rain, as well as the ability to fully open the slats when you want to catch some rays. The slats are motorized for easy operation and the aluminum design means maintenance is minimal.

10. Opt for an easy-to-mount shade sail at the end of a garden

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(Image credit: Dobbies)

For a semi-permanent option that can be installed on a patio or deck at the end of a garden, consider a simple shade sail. A rainproof fabric shade sail offers protection from the sun, wind and provides an extra level of privacy when an outdoor space is overlooked.

Quick and easy to set up (and take down), shade sails are attached using tensioned anchor points to keep them taut. They can be anchored to the side of a property, garden shed or conveniently placed tree or alternatively a freestanding structure or mounting posts can be used to allow a shade to be positioned remotely from the house if desired.

11. Try a pop-up party canopy

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(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

For non-permanent outdoor shade that's perfect for parties and gatherings, try an easy-to-install sun canopy that's a roomier, more stylish alternative to the regular garden parasol.

Easy to install on grass or soft ground, its center pole unfolds like a regular sunshade or parasol, but fabric side panels at each corner add protection, making it feel more like a mini gazebo. Striped fabric and elegant fringes add an airy nautical feel.

12. Install a mini outdoor dining area

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(Image credit: Cuckooland)

If outdoor space is tight and the shade of the patio right in front of the house isn't an option, move further into the garden and create a shaded, secluded spot where space allows.

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This compact, turnkey cabin sleeps four (or six if things get tight) and is an ideal spot for a quick cup of coffee or a bite to eat with friends. A wooden frame helps any garden structure blend in with trees and greenery. While a stainless steel ceiling reflects heat, it doesn't get hot and stuffy inside. This cabin comes complete with built-in table, benches and cushions.

13. Use a shady location

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(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Place the table and chairs in a shaded area so you can escape the heat of the sun when it's warmer. Encourage low-lying plants like wisteria, honeysuckle and clematis to spread over a pergola and provide extra coverage. And all while creating an intoxicating scent that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors.

Ideas for climbing plantsnear the base of each wooden pillar, angled toward the support, using small sticks to fill in the gap. To cover the canopy quickly, pull the shoots over the posts, using vertical wires or wire mesh as support if necessary. Tie new shoots to the rafters and side branches as the plant grows.

14. Add some glow to a patio after dark

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(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Extend your time outdoors on summer nights by illuminating the terrace with garlands and fairy lights. A wooden pergola or outdoor shade is the perfect place to hang string lights and create an illuminated canopy that makes the room magical after dark.

Use hooks to attach lights to each corner of a pergola by hanging strings diagonally in a cross formation. Or, alternatively, use individual strings on each vertical to provide additional lighting for outdoor summer dinners or late-night parties.

15. Create a shady spot for two

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(Image credit: Dobbies)

If a full-size shed isn't an option, scale it down and create a shaded patio with room for just one or two people. A gazebo makes a charming addition to a patio area or can be positioned lower in the garden to create a focal point or nestled in the garden as a retreat.

What types of patio covers are there?

There are many different types of patio coverings to protect the area from the elements and ensure it is usable come rain or shine. Patio canopy ideas can range from simple to more robust. An extra-large sunshade or folding canopy offers protection in a small space - and can be tucked away when not in use. While a fixed structure such as a pergola or awning offers more permanent protection from the elements.

How can I cover my terrace cheaply?

An inexpensive and effective way to cover a patio is with a parasol or a simple awning - both are functional yet portable.

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What is good to cover the patio? ›

What can I use to cover up my patio? There are various types of materials that you can use to cover your patio. These range from outdoor fabrics, shade sails, wood pergolas, as well as aluminum and steel structures. You can also use awnings, canopies, retractable covers, and even create cabanas.

How do you cover outdoor space? ›

To get you started, we've rounded up the best patio cover ideas for creating shade, adding intrigue and providing shelter in your garden.
  1. Build a pitched roof. ...
  2. Use a pergola to define a space. ...
  3. Choose a floating roof in a modern space. ...
  4. Add a pergola with lights. ...
  5. Enhance your outdoor ambience. ...
  6. Install a barely-there pavilion.
May 25, 2022

What is an outdoor covered patio called? ›

A freestanding covered patio is called a pergola. Unlike gazebos, which are round or octagon-shaped garden structures, pergolas are structures with a square or rectangular shape.

What is the longest lasting patio cover material? ›

Aluminum Louvers Outlasts Other Patio Cover Materials

Extruded aluminum far outperforms patio covers manufactured from other materials prone to cracking, warping, rust, mold, and general wear and tear. Aluminum is lightweight yet exceptionally strong, weather-resistant, long-lasting, and virtually maintenance-free.

What is the most cost effective patio cover? ›

Vinyl is among the most cost-effective patio cover materials; it can range from $5 to $13 per square foot (or anywhere from $2,520 to $6,300, Howard notes) and is durable and low-maintenance.

How can I make my outdoor space better? ›

Landscaping around a stone walkway, planting tall shrubbery, or creating visual appeal with a dry stream are all simple DIY landscaping ideas. Bedazzling garden stones, hanging plants, and installing a garden arbor can transform your backyard living space into a secret garden that fits any budget.

How can I make my outdoor area look better? ›

Read on for more small patio ideas and easy outdoor DIY projects.
  1. Hang Curtains. ...
  2. Make a Statement With Lighting. ...
  3. Provide Extra Seating. ...
  4. Include a Place to Lounge. ...
  5. Choose Multifunctional Furniture. ...
  6. Bring in Greenery. ...
  7. Think Vertically. ...
  8. Design a Cozy Dining Nook.

What is the cheapest way to enclose an outdoor area? ›

The cheapest way to enclose a patio is by making use of existing structures like walls, fences or sheds. What is this? You can also make do with a temporary option such as a tarp.

What is the difference between patio and patio cover? ›

A patio is usually a cement slab in the backyard right up against the house. A porch is most commonly a covered deck with screens for walls. A Covered Roof (or sometimes referred to as a hard cover) is a shade covering for a deck or concrete patio and is commonly made from the same roofing materials as the house.

What is the difference between a covered porch and a covered patio? ›

A patio is usually found in the backyard. It's often made from poured concrete or stone pavers. On the other hand, porches are usually attached to the front of a house and covered by a roof or awning. They're usually built onto the house and considered an architectural feature of the home.

What is a solid patio cover? ›

Solid patio covers are essentially a roof that provides shade and shelter, making it great for hosting parties, enjoying family meals outside, or simply ready a book in the shade.

What is the most maintenance free patio? ›

Install porcelain paving

Whether you are swapping out your old slabs or paving over a grass lawn, porcelain pavers are the ultimate low maintenance patio solution.

What is the best roofing for a patio cover? ›

Wood, aluminium and steel are commonly chosen for patio roofs thanks to their durability and insulating properties. Other materials such as polycarbonate, vinyl and canvas are favoured in different circumstances for their ease and speed of assembly as well as affordability.

What type of patio is easiest to maintain? ›

Go for hardwood as they're durable, minimal maintenance and last for years. They also look better than softwood ridged decking, which needs more work as debris accumulates in the grooves.

How much does it cost to build a 10x10 patio cover? ›

Prices stretch from $5,355 to a very custom $8,785 to get a basic, fully-covered 10 x 10 vinyl patio cover installed. DIY Solid roofed patio cover kits range from $2,520 to $6,020. DIY lattice patio cover kits range from $1,384 on the low end to $4,480 for a custom-cut cover.

What is the cheapest patio method? ›

Gravel is the cheapest option when looking to create a patio on a budget. Otherwise, pebbles or reclaimed materials are also good options. If you're set on laying paving slabs, concrete is one of the cheapest materials, and when installed and maintained correctly, it can hold up well and last for years.

How do you create a cozy outdoor space on a budget? ›

To furnish your backyard for less, rely on DIY outdoor furniture, such as benches, chairs, and tables. One of our favorite budget backyard ideas uses low-cost concrete blocks, dry-stacked and covered with a foam pad. The DIY bench offers lots of seating in a high-traffic spot outside the home's back door.

Is it a good idea to enclose a patio? ›

Enclosing an existing porch or patio is the perfect way to add year-round functionality, value and space for what matters most to you. And doing so is more affordable than you might think, costing a fraction of what a new addition to your home would and adding just as much to its value.

What is the best material to enclose a porch? ›

Tempered glass panels are by far the best option for enclosing your porch.
The most important factors to consider are:
  • Curb appeal.
  • Durability.
  • Your budget.
  • Amount of maintenance.
Dec 20, 2021

Can you enclose a covered patio? ›

Typically, if you live in a single-family home and your patio is already covered with a roof, chances are, you can enclose it. However, if it isn't currently covered, then an architect may need to verify if enclosing it would violate required setbacks or lot coverage. These setbacks will vary per zone and jurisdiction.

How do you build privacy on a patio? ›

Patio privacy ideas – 11 ways to turn your outdoor living space into a private oasis
  1. Add a curtain to your pergola. ...
  2. Install a patio privacy screen. ...
  3. Surround your patio seating with tall planters. ...
  4. Increase audio privacy with a water feature. ...
  5. Opt for a parasol. ...
  6. Use levels in your backyard's layout to create tucked-away patios.
Mar 27, 2023

What is the best material for a privacy screen? ›

Steel screens

This material is non-porous and water-resistant, thus making it an excellent choice for ensuring your privacy. Colorbond steel fences, in particular, are designed to resist corrosion, cracking, peeling, and chipping.

How do I keep strangers off my porch? ›

Get a roll of yellow caution tape and run it all around your porch. Install a motion activated double bulb flood light. Install a sound alarm sensor too. Legally it is trespass and the police could be called, but it would be low priority if there is no danger or threat.

What is a patio attached to a house called? ›

A porch is an outdoor structure attached to a house and built near an entryway like the front or back door. They are often part of the home design and an extension of its architectural style, matching interior design elements like wood floors.

How big should a covered patio be? ›

We recommend a minimum of 25 square feet per person. So, if you plan to host 15 people- plan for a space around 375 sq. ft. We recommend a patio around 550 square feet for comfortable entertaining.

Should patio covers touch the ground? ›

Did you know that outdoor furniture covers are intended to not touch the ground so air can properly circulate underneath the cover to prevent mold and mildew?

What type of patio is best? ›

The best material for patios is paver. The different types of pavers are concrete, clay brick, and natural stone. It's the best patio material due to its strength, ease of repair, and material options.

Is a covered patio a good investment? ›

A covered patio not only looks good, but it also makes a good investment. If you plan to sell your home in the future, your improved patio design will help it sell at a higher cost. Since the patio does not have direct exposure to sunlight, it does not degrade fast.

Can you walk on a patio cover? ›

Insulated patio cover

Yes, you can walk on the Insulated covers for maintenance purposes or for an Emergency Exit. However, it cannot be used as a deck. If there is going to be a ladder used on top of the cover it is advised that you use a 4′ x 4′ or larger piece of plywood down first to disperse the weight.

How long does a covered porch last? ›

So, on average, how long do screened porches last? The general average that does not take into consideration materials, age, and quality of materials of frame and screen, estimates screened porches last roughly six to eight years before needing repair.

What is a lattice patio cover? ›

Lattice patio covers provide partial coverage from the sun and the elements. They work exceptionally well in Arizona, where rain isn't really a concern. These shade covers have evenly spaced slats or beams along the roof section that allow light to filter through.

Why are patio covers so expensive? ›

The expense for vinyl patio covers is higher because of the need for supporting materials, whereas wood and aluminum can work on their own. It is the least popular material for this reason. A 10 x 10 fully-covered patio cover made of vinyl costs between $4,000 and upwards of $6,000.

What is a lean to patio cover? ›

Depending on your needs, a Lean To Patio Cover could be anywhere from 10′ – 14′ in dimensions and have a mild slope to a steep pitch for the roof, allowing rain and snow to slide off in the winter months and provide adequate protection in the covered area for year round barbecue and family events.

How can I make my outdoor patio look better? ›

Read on for more small patio ideas and easy outdoor DIY projects.
  1. Hang Curtains. ...
  2. Make a Statement With Lighting. ...
  3. Provide Extra Seating. ...
  4. Include a Place to Lounge. ...
  5. Choose Multifunctional Furniture. ...
  6. Bring in Greenery. ...
  7. Think Vertically. ...
  8. Design a Cozy Dining Nook.

What material is used for covered patio? ›

While wood, aluminum and vinyl are the traditional choices for patio covers, you have another option: alumawood. This material has the beauty of wood but requires little maintenance. It can also withstand the elements, including termites. While it's durable and tough, it does cost more than wood.

How can I make my patio look nice in the winter? ›

11 Ways to Enjoy Your Patio During the Winter
  1. Bring the Heat. It's the most obvious idea on the list, but it's also the most important one. ...
  2. Hot Tub. ...
  3. Patio Roofs or Enclosures. ...
  4. Light It Up. ...
  5. Keep It Cozy. ...
  6. Plants. ...
  7. A Grill or Outdoor Kitchen. ...
  8. Fun for The Kids.
Mar 5, 2021

How do you make a budget patio nice? ›

Gravel is a terrific choice for affordability and ease of installation. Start by marking the area for the patio and digging out the grass. Make sure the base is level and compact using a tamper. To keep grass from encroaching on the patio, you can use landscape edging, treated wood or bricks as a border.

How do I protect my patio from debris? ›

Invest In An Umbrella. Even if you have a balcony or back porch with an overhang, an umbrella will give you an extra layer of protection. When you're not using your set, you can angle the umbrella to cover the balcony opening, stopping some of the debris from falling into your space.

How do I keep my patio dirt free? ›

To maintain your outdoor space, sweep the deck weekly to minimize buildup. “Try sweeping with a stiff broom and spot cleaning with a long-handled scrub brush as needed,” Barnard says. “Always scrub with the grain to avoid scratching or damaging the surface of your deck,” she adds.

What makes a patio look bigger? ›

Maximize patio space with your furniture layout

Use modern smaller scale furniture to make your patio appear larger. Light colors such as pale gray, white or driftwood for furniture and hard landscaping gives a more expansive feel.

What is the cheapest option for a patio? ›

Concrete is one of the most popular patio materials and the cheapest material you can use to build a hard-surface patio.

Is it worth covering a patio? ›

A cover will protect your deck from rain and potential debris, and it will keep the sun off of it on hot days. This will be a sure-fire way to keep your deck protected. Plus, if you have any outdoor furniture, a cover will keep it protected as well.

What makes a patio cozy? ›

Add Cozy Cushions, Throw pillows, throws, as well as an Outdoor Rug. It does take a bit of work to keep an open outdoor area clean all the time, but so worth it for outdoor relaxing and seating for a group. Cushions and pillows add that soft goods factor that you definitely want when you're outdoors relaxing.

How do I keep my patio decor from blowing away? ›

7 Ways to Keep Outdoor Furniture From Blowing Away
  1. Clear QuakeHold! Gel. ...
  2. Plant a Windbreak. This may be another excuse to plant some extra greenery for the garden fanatics out there. ...
  3. Furniture Covers. ...
  4. Stack Furniture in the Corner. ...
  5. Wrought Iron Frames. ...
  6. Bungee Cords. ...
  7. Use Outdoor Furniture Indoors.


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