Everything You Need to Know about Patio Covers

Does your backyard need an upgrade? Do you find yourself hanging out inside all day because there's too much sun on your patio?

When it comes to upgrading your backyard, patio covers are an excellent option for providing shade and comfort while also improving overall appearance.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about choosing the best patio cover for your backyard!

Things to Consider

Do You Want A Permanent Or Temporary Addition?

Patio covers come in permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary varieties. Your decision will be determined by a number of things, including:

  • How much money you want to spend

  • How much time you spend on your patio

  • How long you plan to stay in your home

  • How much effort you want to put into building and assembling a cover

How Much Coverage Do You Want?

If you're looking into purchasing a patio cover, it's safe to say you want some shade for your backyard. How much shade do you really want and need, though?

If you have just a small patio, something like a large patio umbrella might be sufficient. It will also be more affordable. However, if you need to cover a larger area, something like a pergola or a canopy will be more effective, even though it will cost more to install.

Be sure to measure the area you want to cover before making any purchases. That way, you don't have to worry about returns if the cover you purchase isn't the right size for your patio.

Can Your Patio Cover Handle Sun Exposure?

No matter what kind of patio cover you choose, don't forget that it will need to withstand years of sun exposure.

The type of material your patio cover is made from (discussed in more detail below) will have a big effect on how it holds up under the sun. If you're not willing to do touch ups or repairs, you'll need to make sure you choose a material that is extra durable.

Does Your Cover Match The Rest Of Your House?

It's important to think of a patio cover as an extension of your home. Whether you go for something small like an umbrella or build a fully integrated addition, it should match your house.

Is Your Patio Cover Functional?

The main goal of patio covers is to, of course, shade your patio. At the same time, you also need to make sure the cover you buy doesn't interfere with anything else in your backyard.

For example, do you have plants that won't be able to get direct sunlight? Do you still want to have a view? Be sure to take the answers to these questions into account when you're buying or building your patio cover.

Patio Covers

Types of Patio Covers

Popular Materials


Cloth patio covers, from umbrellas to fabric awnings, are simple to install and can add some color to your backyard. Cloth doesn't last as long as other materials, so it will need to be replaced more often. But, a lot of people still like it for its versatility and more affordable price.

Make sure the cloth you use is UV and water-resistant and is designed for outdoor use. If you're simply suspending the cloth from poles around your patio, you'll also want to make sure you hang it so that rainwater can drain away and does not collect anywhere on the cloth.


Wood is another material that is popular for patio covers because of its beauty and timelessness. Many people also opt for wood over other materials because it comes in a variety of colors and textures, so it's easy to match to their homes.

The only downside to wood is that it requires quite a bit of upkeep. Wood needs to be sanded and repainted regularly in order to look its best. It is also prone to warping, peeling, and rotting.


Vinyl is great because it is a low maintenance material. It doesn't need to be sanded or repainted, and it is highly durable.

However, vinyl doesn't have the same wow factor as wood. It also may fade over time and comes in a limited number of colors. Since you only have a few color options and vinyl can't be painted, it can be difficult to find the right match for your home.


Aluminum is highly durable, environmentally friendly, requires minimal upkeep, and is more affordable than other materials. It also provides a lot of protection from the elements, and you don't have to worry about a lot of maintenance.

At the same time, aluminum does retain a lot of heat. Because of this, you may be uncomfortable hanging out underneath it in the middle of the day.

Popular Styles

The materials listed above can be used to construct many different styles of patio covers, including the following:

  • Screens and shade sails:

    If you want something more integrated than a simple umbrella, cloth can be used to make screens and shade sails. These patio covers will limit sun exposure and add style to an otherwise boring patio.

  • Pergola:

    A pergola is an attractive and interesting addition to any patio. They also allow you to decide how much sun or shade you want on your patio. Pergolas are usually made from press-treated wood, cedar wood, vinyl, or fiberglass.

  • Lattice:

    A lattice is more contemporary than a pergola, and it features thinner and more simple pieces. Lattices are often made from durable woods like cedar, redwood, or teak, and the boards are placed closer together to let in less sunlight.

  • Integrated cover:

    An integrated cover is attached to your home and gets rid of exterior walls. It's obviously the most expensive option, but it can be useful and satisfying if you spend a lot of time outside. If you opt for an integrated style, it is extremely important that it matches your home exactly, otherwise, it will look out of place.

Looking for More?

You know more about your options when it comes to covering your patio. But, you also need to think about how you're going to add some extra style to the area to really take your patio to the next level.

Check out our blog

for great tips on decorating your patio and maintaining it as the seasons change.

About the author


I'm a lover of the little things that make life beautiful. And I love to share them with the world!


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