A great patio awning can turn a scorching hot outdoor space into a cool, comfortable retreat.
Enjoying your patio or deck all day requires some type of patio cover to shield you from the sun’s intense rays. If your outdoor space doesn’t have a built in covering, you have many shade idea options to choose from. A classic patio awning is one of the most popular patio shade ideas.
An awning is a sheet of canvas or another type of shade cloth stretched on a fiberglass, metal, or aluminum frame. Not only will a patio awning protect you from the sun, it will also protect your outdoor furniture from rain, hail, and other natural elements.
Check out our favorite patio awning ideas and learn more about which type of patio cover will work best for you.
Some homes have a canopy awning over each window, in both the front yard and the backyard. This type of canopy is usually a design element, common on older bungalows and cottage-style homes. However, it’s most common to see window and door awnings in the backyard.
A patio awning is most likely a backyard element, as a patio usually opens out into the outdoor space behind the house. If your patio, deck, terrace, or other outdoor living space is uncovered, you can install a retractable patio awning. For a more permanent backyard awning, build a permanent frame to support your awning fabric.
It’s common to interchange the words “awning” and “canopy” but the two sources of outdoor shade actually have some differences. While both are often made of a durable, waterproof material, an awning is thought to be more permanent. Stationary awnings prevent light from entering inside windows and doors and protect an outdoor area from the elements.
On the other hand, a canopy may be a completely freestanding source of shade. In that regard, a patio umbrella is a type of retractable canopy because it can be moved around your outdoor space as needed. A patio canopy isn’t a substitute for a permanent patio awning, but it’s great for extending an awning’s shaded area.
In snowy, icy climates a canopy or retractable awning is preferred over a permanent metal awning structure. This is because harsh winter weather can easily damage simple porch awnings. It’s better to have a patio cover that can be stored away along with your patio furniture at the end of summer.
While a patio is usually a ground-level slab of concrete, a deck is an outdoor living area that’s raised above the ground. A deck needs a source of shade if it is used often. Because it is usually made of wood or a composite material, it is common to build a wood, composite, or metal awning frame that permanently attaches to the deck. This structure supports an awning made from fabric, durable plastic, or wood.
A small deck can benefit from a simple manual retractable awning attached to the side of your home. If you prefer a temporary way to shade the deck, purchase an inexpensive shade sail that can be put up and taken down daily. If you need a larger area of shade, get a pop-up pergola to shade your deck during events without the commitment or expense of building a full awning structure.
If you rent your home and aren’t allowed to make any structural changes to your patio or deck, you’ll have to get creative with DIY patio awning ideas. One of the best options for a DIY patio cover is a pop-up canopy, such as the ones you see at arts and crafts festivals or campgrounds.
These portable structures should be taken down at the end of the day. But they are a handy way to obtain sun protection without building a shade structure.
If you have above-average DIY skills, consider building your own aluminum pergola. A lattice patio cover kit is easy to find online, and you must follow the directions for the exact kit you purchase.
If you spend a great deal of time in your garden or simply enjoy outdoor living, an awning is necessary to provide shade on sunny days. If you have an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor living room, you will undoubtedly need an adequate patio cover to protect your investment.
Today’s modern garden awnings aren’t the classic striped canvas structures from years gone by—although those awnings still look great on some traditional style homes. Covers for your outdoor living areas come in a range of solid fabrics in natural shades that blend into the landscape.
When choosing a color for your awning material, remember that darker colors trap heat while lighter colors tend to show dirt and stains more easily. Therefore, a medium shade is best, or choose a printed fabric that can hide dirt well.
A pergola is a freestanding structure built outdoors from columns or beams supporting a roof. The roof is sometimes left open in a beam or grid pattern. Other times, it is covered in awning material that may be retractable. Sometimes, the roof is solid to provide the best protection against the elements.
A beautiful pergola cover can grow over time when vines or trailing plants are allowed to grow over an open grid roof. Pergola roofs are usually flat, unlike the arched or curved roof on a classic garden gazebo. A flat roof makes it easier to DIY a pergola awning solution yourself.
Retractable patio awnings are the most popular type of awning used in the United States today. Motorized awnings allow you to cover your patio when you want shade and retract the cover when you want an open living space. A manual retractable awning may be fine if you have a small patio, balcony, or terrace. This type of awning can be extended and retracted by hand.
A motorized retractable awning is preferable if you have a large deck or patio. Operated by a simple switch or remote control, these types of awnings are more expensive than stationary or manual retractable awnings. However, most homeowners find them well worth the investment.
8. Roof Extension
Sometimes the simplest way to get a solid patio awning is to hire a builder to extend your roof over your porch, patio, or terrace. The most stable of all awning ideas, these roof extension awnings can be made to look as though they were always a part of the original structure.
A roof extension patio awning is a great place to add a creative design element to your home. Cover it with tin or copper sheeting and use decorative wrought iron supports. If you decide to use a metal roofing material on your patio awning, make sure it is well insulated. If not, bare metal baking in hot sunlight can create an oven-like effect for those sitting beneath it.
Classic wood patio awnings look inviting behind almost any style of home. Keep the wood structure simple on a modern home or go crazy with gingerbread and other embellishments on a Victorian or traditional style house. A wood patio awning is easy to paint yourself and change the look of your patio every few years.
A basic wood patio awning is the perfect cover in a casually styled backyard. Hang light strings from the beams and enjoy an open, airy space on warm evenings. Plexiglass panels provide rain protection but allow the sun to shine in through an open wood grid awning.
A glass or glass-like plastic patio awning is a good choice if you wish to create a covered patio that feels more like a sunroom than a backyard patio. Glass panels come in clear or opaque finishes to provide different levels of sun protection. A certain type of pergola kit has retractable patio doors enabling you to control how open or closed you wish your outdoor space to be.
Glass patio awnings are good in climates with a lot of rainy weather. Simply close the glass panel doors and you create a solid gazebo type of structure that enables you to stay dry while enjoying the outdoors. A glass-top awning is also a good type of cover for an apartment or condo balcony. The simple lines of a metal and glass gazebo is the perfect garden accent on a modern, minimalist, or contemporary home.