Smart Ways to Cover Your Patio

Having a great patio is a blessing in disguise, due to the fact that it gives you a completely new and unique space to use your outdoor. First of all, you get to use your backyard as the secondary living room, thus spending more time in nature and saving money on your AC unit. In some scenarios, it may be a place where you construct an outdoor kitchen so that you can make the process of food preparation much easier to bear in the summer.

Smart Ways to Cover Your Patio

Now, in order for your patio to be effective, it needs to contain three major elements. First, it needs to have a surface or a deck. This surface can be made from gravel, concrete, timber, concrete pavers, bricks, stone pavers or any other similar material (like asphalt). Second, it needs adequate seating, which means investing in outdoor furniture. Finally, it needs a cover from the sun and/or rain in order to serve its purpose. Keep in mind that resolving this last issue isn’t nearly as simple as it may seem at the moment, so, here are five smart options that you need to consider and transform your patio into an oasis.

Making a pergola

A simple wooden pergola can be an amazing way for you to provide some shade for your patio, however, it’s a method that has its flaws and advantages. First of all, it requires a complex wooden construction which means that you have to invest in materials and workforce. Timber is far from easy and setting it up on your own isn’t as simple as it looks. Keep in mind that in order to achieve this, you’ll need at least some basic carpentry skills. Even if you did manage to construct it on your own, how safe would this structure be. Also, the last thing you want is to make the construction feel like it was made by a layman.

The best thing about a pergola is the fact that it provides you with some shade, while still allowing the warmth of the sun to seep through. The problem with this, however, lies in the fact that it doesn’t provide you with any protection from the rain. On the other hand, this was never its purpose, to begin with. Also, it’s possible to cover your pergola, while some may claim this solution to be unaesthetic and defeat its purpose. Speaking of which…

As far as the aesthetics and decoration goes, you have so many options. First, you get to choose the color of the pergola by choosing the nuance of the finish used. Second, you have a chance to integrate this structure with your landscaping efforts and have the vine slowly creep up the construction. In time, the effect that this will have on the patio as a whole can be quite staggering. In fact, it may even be enough to fully cover the patio area, thus solving your rain protection issue, at least partially.

Shade sail

Another option that you should take into consideration is the patio area. The reason why this is so important is due to the fact that it gives you a simple, elegant and cost-effective solution to your problem. As far as the installation goes, you would either have to set up the poles (still a simpler process than making the entire construction) or use existing structures to fasten the sail. You can attach it to your home, backyard structures (like a shed).

The biggest advantage of a shade sail is the fact that it also protects you from rain and is fairly easy to dismantle. This means that you can just take it off during the winter and place it somewhere for safe storage. While such a thing might not be entirely necessary (due to the fact that the materials used for this are quite durable, as well as weather-resistant), it’s always good to have this option available. In order to take it down, you can use a simple pole, thus avoiding the need to climb and gaining the advantage of being able to dismantle it in a matter of minutes.

Another advantage lies in the fact that you have so many options to choose from. First, you get to choose the color and transparency. Then, you get to choose the shape and size of the shade sail. Unlike with parasols that come in several shapes and sizes, it’s quite easy to customize all the features of your shade sail. Moreover, you also get to choose the height at which you’ve set the shade sail (without spending too much effort or material on construction), thus also setting the amount of space that this seating area (thematically) occupies. Keep in mind that while it’s outdoors, the patio space acts similarly to your living room.

Retractable awning

Previously, we’ve mentioned that one of the biggest advantages of a shade sail is the fact that you have the chance to remove it in order to protect it. With the concept of retractable roof systems, you will make this even simpler and more effective. How? Well, instead of using poles, ladders and similar methods, you’ll have a pre-installed mechanism to retract the roofing system at your own behest. Ideally, you can even install a system that will make this retractable awning remotely controlled. This would allow you to retract or expand it without having to move from your hammock or patio chair.

The downside of this method, however, lies in the fact that the mechanism is so complex that any DIY method is out of the question. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that this could also act as a blessing in disguise. You see, due to the fact that the installation is so complex, people won’t even try to do it on their own, unlike with the previous two methods, where setting up seems a lot simpler than it really is.

Same goes for the maintenance, even though this is the problem that should have its own solution. Namely, the company that installs your retractable awning should also be the one taking care of its repairs and maintenance. Just keep in mind that when properly installed and when the right system is used, these awnings seldom ever malfunction. The mechanism itself is quite simple and reliable, which is just the thing you need.

Partial pergola

One of the more interesting partial solutions that you should consider is the partial pergola. The reason why this method is so interesting is due to the fact that it protects the seating area while requiring minimal work to set it up. The way it works is that you install a smaller portion of the pergola roof alongside your home, thus not having to invest time, effort and resources in a more demanding self-standing structure. 

The downsides of a partial pergola are the fact that it A) still demands quite a bit of effort to set up (unlike shade sails) and B) the fact that you may lack the adequate spot for it. Apart from this, you also don’t get that much space, seeing as how placing the seating right next to your home might not be what some people had in mind. Keep in mind that while this method can be quite interesting and effective, it’s highly situational. This means that while there are some scenarios where it may work flawlessly, there are other scenarios where it might not work at all.

Umbrella parasol

Speaking of parasols, the majority of people immediately envision the notorious beach type which may appear both simplistic and… well, cheap (to be completely honest). However, this is far from being your only option. For instance, you can buy a huge patio umbrella with a construction that stands at the side of your seating area, hovering over it, instead of sticking from the place where your coffee table should be at.

Needless to say, this solution is easy to set up (albeit not so easy to move) and even easy to retract. By investing in a parasol that’s large enough you can cover the entire area, regardless of what time of day is it and what direction the sun is facing, at the moment. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this particular method is the fact that the construction itself doesn’t take much room. Instead of having to build a construction around the entire patio (like it would be the case with a pergola), you have a singular pillar holding your roof construction. In fact, the retractable awning solution is probably the only one that takes less space than this method.

In conclusion

As you can see, the options that you have available differ in effectiveness, aesthetics, the ease of installation, as well as several other factors. They also differ in price, however, due to the fact that none of them is incredibly expensive, as well as the fact that it’s something that you have to install only once, this shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Lastly, keep in mind that every patio is unique and that you need to pick an option that works best in your particular case.

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Article Author Details

Ron Wolf

Ron Wolf is a hobby designer and a DIY enthusiast, and, above all, a very blessed father of two. Besides that, he has a strong passion for writing. He is a featured blogger at various blogs and magazines in which he shared his research and experience with the vast online community. If he is not working he enjoys being outside with his family. Hiking, bike riding, and BBQing are always a thing for him. In the evening, he likes to watch documentaries or build something with kids in their lego corner.