Outdoor living is a luxurious part of home ownership. Having the ability to eat outside, enjoy a nice book on the patio, or watch the sunset is priceless.

Covering the patio allows you to enjoy the outdoors while shielding yourself from the heat, sun, and (in some cases), bugs and wind. There are so many ways to cover a patio. Umbrellas, awning, trellises, and pergolas are just the beginning.

Of course, you can spend thousands of dollars on professional installation of a covered patio, but there are several DIY options that look beautiful, function perfectly, and are significantly less expensive.

If you’re looking to cover your deck or patio without breaking the bank, we’ve got ideas to get you started.

trellis patio cover with redwood

1. Trellis

This modified trellis is one of the most popular ways to cover a patio. It creates shade, as well as a dry space when wet weather is constantly present. For this type of covering, spanning the entire space can be difficult if the area is large. In this case, the span was over 24’ in one direction, which required an engineered beam, but the other span was only 10’ so the project only required 2X8’s 12’ long set 2’ on center.

For a trellis, the type of wood you use is another important consideration. Cedar and fir are both great choices, but cedar is significantly more expensive. The next steps are all about squaring up the posts, reinforcing and bracing everything first, and then installing and stabilizing. It’s important to install the roofing adequately without skimping on screws, otherwise the structure can easily become a giant sail in the wind. Check out www.kenarry.com for full details to this patio cover.

fabric screen patio cover

2. Screened In Patio

A screened-in patio turns a patio or a desk into another room of your house. The screened-in patio option makes the space comfortable, clean, and covered. A screened-in patio won’t necessarily keep out the heat (or the cold), but it can be effective at blocking out the rain. This new screen room was constructed  high enough to preserve a pleasant view through the sliding doors and easy to remove in the winter. Of course, you could leave the awning on all year in many parts of the country, but it won’t support a heavy snow load.

This particular enclosure is 14×16-ft. It looks fairly simple, but it requires careful work to get everything square and plumb. These types of enclosures can take a couple of weeks to complete. Before beginning any work, be sure to have your local building inspector look at your plans. Even if it doesn’t require a building permit, it’s a good idea to ensure local requirements.

You can use quality cedar for the entire structural framework, with the exception of the laminated beam at the peak. You can substitute treated lumber for the framework, which will cut costs substantially, though the wood will show some imperfections. A full tutorial is available from FamilyHandyman.com

12 ft shade umbrella

3.Upgraded Umbrella

This DIY patio makeover is one of my favorites because it is truly something almost any homeowner can do on their own. Lizmarieblog.com started with a pre-made 10×10 pergola from Home Depot. This was the framework for the rest of the project. A light fixture and string lights were added to instantly add a homey feel to the outdoor space. From there, additional furniture, rugs, pillows, and textiles add such a comforting feel to create the perfect space for entertaining and enjoyment. The greenery creates the perfect blend of outdoor living.

metal roofing on wooden beams of patio cover

4. Metal Roofing

If you want a little more protection from the elements, you can add corrugated metal to your trellis or pergola. This option basically provides an extension of your current roof to create a truly covered patio. Details like this create permanent shade in the summer, and can preserve heat in the winter. It also allows you to entertain outside regardless of the weather.

wooden square patio cover

5. Pergola

This is a popular option to add a graceful style and architectural character to your home or garden. They can be made in any size or style. If you are considering a pergola, keep in mind that a standard 6′ x 8′ pergola has overhangs that extend eighteen to twenty inches beyond that, so plan accordingly if you choose to build close to your house.

One common mistake with pergolas is to think that your pergola is a shade structure. In reality, a pergola affords very little shade. They are best used as a focal point and setting for backyard dinners or quiet relaxation. Pergolas can be purchased pre-made or in DIY kits, or you can start from scratch and build the entire thing yourself.

white patio cover with timber

6. Pergola Canopy

A traditional pergola is not built to give shade because the slats are open to the elements. Sometimes you can use vines or trees to provide shade, but that’s your only option. A pergola canopy has a similar shape and style as a pergola with the added benefit of providing the shade you want. The pergola canopy is made of a durable outdoor fabric that is mounted to an existing pergola on the track. They can be retracted either by a motor or a hand crank. They are available in a variety of colors, but do come at a fairly steep price.

fabric shade for patio cover

7. Shade Sail

A shade sail is a simple 12-ft square piece of durable, knitted polyethylene fabric that allows you to create your own shade design. Shade Sails attach to any sturdy connection point to provide sun protection and a personal design element to your outdoor space. This is a great shade option if you’re not ready to commit to a permanent structure. They work for decks, patios, pools, camping, play areas, or anywhere you need a little extra shade cover. The fabric on this particular shade is a knitted style, which allows water to pass through. While this won’t protect you from the rain, it will prevent water from collecting or pooling on top.

patio with picketted fencing to block sun

8. Curtains

Curtains are an easy way to add shade to your space almost instantly. A nice aspect of curtains is that they do double duty in an outdoor space, providing both shade and privacy. Even if you don’t have anything to hang curtains from, you can use planters, trellis, or 2x4s.

deck with tree growing around wood

9. Mother Nature

Sometimes the best thing to use is exactly what is already there. Building a patio or desk around existing trees, or adding shade-giving trees strategically to your space provides everything you need. This existing lemon tree provides color, interest and Mother Nature’s favorite form of shade. You can find full-grown trees from most outdoor landscape companies, or replant trees that are already on your property.   

Keep these patio covered ideas for later and pin them!

DIY Covered patios allow you to enjoy the outdoors while shielding yourself from the heat, sun, and (in some cases), bugs and wind.
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