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Best Ways To Cover A Patio: Simple Ideas Guide

Patios are a great place to spend time in the summer. They are also where you can enjoy some of your favorite outdoor activities, such as barbecuing and playing games with friends. When it comes to year-round use and enjoyment, patios have one major drawback: they lack cover from the elements.

There are many great ways to cover a patio, but the best one depends on your needs. If you have a low budget, then the sail shade option would be best for you, but if money isn’t a problem, then you can take a look at the screened-in or gazebo options. These are only some of the possibilities.

If you are looking for a way to cover your patio, but do not know which one is the best, then look no further. Read on to find some of our favorite ways to cover your patio so that it looks great, while also helping you better utilize your space.

Sail Shade

A sail shade is a great way to cover your patio because it is relatively inexpensive and durable. It does not provide the best protection from the wind or rain by itself, but it does provide shade and an elegant, modern look. However, if there are trees surrounding your patio, these make for excellent wind-breakers and will even catch the rain before it falls onto you if tall enough.

  • Sail shades can be a relatively easy do-it-yourself project for homeowners who are willing to get down and dirty to add some shade and style to their patio.
  • The best part about sail shades is that they can be customized in any number of ways, which means you can find the one that matches your patio best with ease and will never tire of looking at them.

You can find all types to fit your style and needs online now and get them shipped right to your door. The most popular Sail Shades (link to Amazon) are generally around $40 with larger options getting up to $120.

The downside, though, is that they need to be attached to a building for stability. If you have a small budget and don’t mind doing a little handywork, then covering your patio with a sail shade is the option for you. This type of shade structure can bring new life into your backyard and make it more inviting for family gatherings or an afternoon nap by the pool.


Screened in patios can be a little more expensive to install because of all the materials needed and the time it takes for installation. Still, many people find it worth every penny. It also helps if you live close to water or other sources of mosquitoes— this is one cost-effective way of keeping those pesky bugs away.

It is also an excellent way for people with swimming pools to keep debris from flying into them.

Screens can come in fiberglass or metal materials and can be used to cover a new installation or added onto an existing patio. They also block out 30%-80% of UV-Rays (source) to keep you from getting sunburnt during the summer, but you will still get adequate sunlight on your patio.

This option is great for you if you want to enjoy your time on your patio without being eaten alive by mosquitoes, keep your pool clean, or want to be protected from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays. All things considered, screened-in patios are a great investment and offer more privacy and protection than an uncovered patio.

It can be a lot of work though. Watch this video to get a better idea of all that’s involved:


A pergola is a common choice for homeowners because it offers both shade and beauty to your patio. It can be a standalone structure framed around an existing patio or extend from the house and create what feels like an outdoor living space.

The options for decorating your pergola are nearly endless. You can hang plants or lights from its beams, add a pop of color to your backyard by painting it— the possibilities are limitless.

  • You can also get creative with the design of the pergola.
  • For example, whether you want many boards going vertically and horizontally to block out more light, or fewer boards in a certain direction, the design can be entirely up to you.
  • Covering your pergola with lattice is also a great design option.
  • It can make even more space for hanging plants or lights.

These Pergola Kits (link to Amazon) are probably the fastest way to get your pergola up. These kits can cost anywhere from a 300 – 1000 dollars, but come with everything you need to set it up.

Pergolas are often made of wood, so this is an area where you will want to consider upkeep costs for things such as repainting periodically. They also require installation by professionals, which will add on-site construction time, plus the cost of materials. All these factors can make pergolas more expensive than other options.

Canopy Awning

If you want a more permanent solution but do not want to make any major changes to the structure of your home, using a canopy awning to cover your patio might be the best choice for you. These are attached straight onto the wall or roof and can create instant shade while also offering protection from the rain.

Installation is a lot simpler than with other options, and the only major upkeep is regular cleaning. If you want to be protected from the elements and can deal with a quick installation process, then using a canopy awning to cover your patio might be the best choice for you.

Canopy awnings come in retractable and stationary designs.


Retractable awnings are a good option if you want to have your patio available on demand.In addition, a retractable awning provides an easy solution for shading your patio when you need it. There are retractable awnings that use a manual hand-crank method to retract the patio cover, and ones that are motorized where all you have to do is flip a switch or use remote-control.

These kinds of patio covers are also great if you don’t want to decorate your patio to avoid poles, as retractable awnings don’t have them.

Here’s a video showing the install process of a retractable awning:


If it makes sense for your home design to incorporate an awning that never moves from its location, then this is probably the best choice for you. Stationary awnings are great because they will provide constant protection from the sun and rain without you needing to retract or detract it before and after every use.

Patio Umbrella

Many people choose patio umbrellas because they are portable and can be placed just about anywhere. With these, you also get the option of a tilt-and-turn mechanism that will allow for more shade when needed.

Usually made from polyester or acrylic fabric with an aluminum pole, this is one of the cheaper options on our list. Still, it does require a regular cleaning to keep it looking its best. These also have shorter lifespans than other types of coverings, which means new ones need replacing once every few years at most, if not sooner.

Have a look through the different types of Patio Umbrellas here to see all the options available.

You should also consider the damage caused by wind when planning on purchasing a patio umbrella.


Gazebos, while expensive, are one of the most elegant options. If you have a bigger budget, you can get a permanent wooden or metal gazebo so you have a stable roof to cover your patio and protect you from the elements. Some ever come with electrical outlets so that you can enjoy some outdoor lighting at nighttime, as well!

For a cheaper option, you can get pop-up metal gazebos that can be put up or taken down in minutes. These are usually the best choice for those who like to change their decor often, as they are so easy to assemble and store away.

Several roofing options are available to give your patio the perfect cover up.

Hanging Lights

While this option does not protect from the elements, it is one of the most elegant.

Hanging lights are one of the best ways to create an ambiance, set the mood for your outdoors, and give them a bit more light at nighttime. This kind of lighting installation will suit anyone’s budget or requirement, available in all shapes and sizes with different types of bulbs available depending on what you would like.

If you would like to utilize your patio at nighttime, hanging lights are a great option and should be considered with many of the other options on this list.


If you want to make your patio the place to be in the summer, then a pavilion could be what you are looking for.

The cost of a pavilion will vary depending on size and complexity, but what you get for the price is worth it. You can essentially have your own outdoor living room.

If you plan on hosting parties with lots of guests, then this would be an ideal addition to your property because these outbuildings often offer plenty of seating as well as shade from the sun, so no one has to worry about being overexposed while they enjoy themselves outside.

Final Thoughts

It is important that you think about how much time and effort is involved in the upkeep of your patio cover so it will last years without needing any major repairs or replacements.

The idea behind many of these covers is to protect against rain, snow, bugs, and other outdoor elements while enhancing the look and feel of your patio.

All of these factors in what you are looking for as a homeowner, including budget are what determines which patio covering is the best option for you.

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