HomeOutdoor Living Ideas21 Covered Patio Ideas for Fun Out of the Sun

21 Covered Patio Ideas for Fun Out of the Sun

January 23, 2023
A deck seating and dining arrangement is protected by a pergola next to an inground pool with creative light fixtures overhead.

Patios and decks extend your living space into the great outdoors so you can enjoy fresh air and sunshine with breakfast or a book. Changing seasons and harsh weather can limit how you enjoy your space, or worse — damage your deck or patio furniture. 

These covered patio ideas range from easy-to-install shade sails to permanent pergolas with motorized functions, so you can choose what works best with your space and geographic location. If you’re considering how to make the most of your new covered deck or patio, we also highlight great ways to use your space.

In This Article:

1. Embrace your garden as cover

Plants have a lot of versatility and can grow as tall as your home, scale walls and railings, or spread far and wide as ground cover. A well-planned garden is a good opportunity to cover your patio or deck while enhancing the look and feel of your yard.

You can start small with a nice flower bed including tall shrubs and flowering bushes to provide some privacy. If you’re looking to cover your patio from above, consider an arched trellis or pergola with vining plants to provide natural shade. 

A collage-style moodboard shows a dining set under a pergola with a garden trellis, lounge chair, and statement light featured as inspiration.

2. Go Mediterranean with a simple pergola

A nice pergola can elevate your garden design, providing cover and shade wherever you install it. Add a few vining plants, your favorite ceramics, and a beautiful table for dinner with guests, and you can lean into a little Mediterranean flair on your patio.

3. Go green with reeds

If gardening isn’t your thing, you can still harness the power of plants with dried reeds or bamboo. You can buy them in rolls or panels that can be installed as a light privacy fence or above your patio to add some texture to your roof. 

Real reeds and bamboo are organic and renewable materials, so they’re more sustainable than some covers, but they may need to be replaced over time. 

4. See the sky with clear covers

Transparent covers made of plastic or vinyl allow you to watch the sky without getting rained on. Some tinted products can even provide protection against the sun while you’re enjoying your back deck. You can install clear sheets like a canvas cover, or place them in an existing frame to create a solid cover that doesn’t obstruct the view. 

5. Keep it simple with canopies

Canopies are a simple and affordable option to cover your patio or deck, and they come in a number of shapes and sizes to meet your specific needs. Canopy sails can be installed to provide shade exactly where you need it, while a pop-up tent can cover you from above and all sides so harsh sun or winds won’t disrupt your time outside. 

6. Enjoy the best with modern pergolas

Modern pergolas offer great perks, like smart motorized screens and louvers you can adjust with the moving sun. There are also more style options than ever before, so you can choose the color, installation, and features that provide the most comfort and elegance to your outdoor space.

A pergola covers a seating area with a modern light fixture, pergola curtains, and illustrated water fountain shown to personalize the space.

7. Illuminate the night

With a roof over your patio, you have the option to install beautiful light fixtures for a cozy and welcoming space. String lights are a popular choice, while something more ornate like a hanging glass lamp or small metal chandelier creates a unique charm. Patio or deck lighting is a great addition to your design while providing safety and ambiance. 

8. Get creative with outdoor fabric

Outdoor curtains can create a glamorous and breezy look while blocking excess sunshine and weather. Fabrics rated for outdoor use can also be draped over a pergola or frame to cover your patio or deck from above. It isn’t the most durable option against harsh weather, but it is a beautiful addition for spring and summer days.

9. Build a pitched cover

A-frame roofs add height to a space and allow heavy rains or snow to roll right off the top. You’ll also likely make yours of wood or metal, so it’s more durable than some temporary enclosures. This provides nice coverage without making your outdoor space feel too small. If you do want to cover some of the open sides, you can install other options like curtains or motorized screens.

10. Stay modern with metal

Metal features and finishes provide a contemporary or industrial look, depending on your preferred style. It can also easily be mixed with wood and stone to add texture and color to your design. A simple metal overhang is easy to DIY or find prefabricated, so there are plenty of options for a sleek and affordable patio or deck cover.

11. Consider a cabana

Poolside cabanas can protect you and your guests from the sun while you hydrate and rest between swims. It also provides some UV relief for your furniture to prevent sun damage or fading. Optimize your space with some built-in storage for pool toys and towels, or even a bar so you always have everything you need for the perfect pool day. 

This moodboard leans into the classics with white railing, a color palette featuring neutral and blue hues, and a cozy outdoor living area.

12. Get a gazebo

Gazebos are standalone structures that may not cover your whole patio, but they can provide a safe place to relax out of the sun. There are several options for prefabricated designs, from simple structures to intricate craftsmanship, so you can find the style that best suits your home and garden. 

13. Extend your roof with a simple overhang

For a simple DIY cover, you may be able to extend an overhang from your roof. Metal overhangs are easy to find and install, or you can customize a wood frame to fit your specific space. Consider how you can match your home’s colors and roofing for a seamless cover that looks like it was always part of your house.

14. Install prefabricated covers

As we’ve mentioned, there’s no shortage of prefabricated covers available to purchase and install relatively cheaply. You need to know the size of the space you’re covering, the pros and cons of your material options, and what you want to protect against — snow, sun, rain, or wind. Then, you can compare products and reviews from retailers and manufacturers to find what best fits your style. 

Sunrooms, pergolas, gazebos, and trellises are just a few of the products you might consider. 

15. Consider craftsman coverage 

A simple wood frame can easily hold fabric or curtains to add some light coverage for your deck or patio. If you’re really handy, you can even install wood slats or a full roof for more durable coverage. Exposed beams are a great aesthetic choice that adds a craftsman’s finish to your garden design. 

16. Try a retractable awning

Retractable awnings give you the best of both worlds since they’re easy to put away when you’re not using them. They can also be fit to your space so you can have coverage from above, or you might even add removable panels for sun and wind protection from all sides. 

Ideas to make the most of your covered patio

A well-covered patio opens up opportunities for how you use your outdoor space. Whether you’re looking for a patio kitchen or a space to relax and unwind, here are some ideas to make the most of your patio or deck.

17. Dine outside

Outdoor tables are a go-to for patio and deck furniture, and are especially comfortable with a nice patio cover. Your new cover may block the wind from blowing napkins or bugs from bothering your guests, so even summer barbecues aren’t interrupted. 

You can even take it up a notch with a patio grill or kitchen to do all the prep work and cooking in the fresh air. If you’re looking to upgrade your deck, be cautious that you don’t place any grills or stoves on composite decking. 

18. Enjoy an outdoor living space

Elevate your living space with an outdoor couch and chair with speakers, party games, or a little library. When the weather isn’t a concern, you can really level up the entertainment features of your deck or patio without worry. Just be sure there’s plenty of space for all your guests.

19. Create a play space for kids

A covered patio allows you to keep an eye on the little ones so they can play outside safely and out of the direct sunlight. Consider safety items you may need to child-proof the space, like rolls of netting for railings or a gate for the deck stairs. Then, you can add furniture and toy storage just for them to enjoy the fresh air with a little independence. 

20. Relax in a personal oasis

Time in the sun and nature can have huge benefits for our mental well-being and overall health. A covered patio means you can enjoy time outside no matter the weather, so personalize your space to create the perfect oasis to unwind after a long day. 

Lounge furniture and curtains create a cozy environment, while water features can help you de-stress and meditate. If you enjoy a good book or journaling for mindfulness, include a table and pens for you to practice every day. Whatever you need to relax is a great addition to your deck or patio. 

21. Go high tech

If you love watching sports with friends or playing video games all night long, a covered deck may allow you to bring your favorite gadgets outside. You can install a movie projector and speakers to bring home the big screen or host monthly music video dance parties. Just be sure anything you install is properly protected from the weather and maintain the noise level to keep your neighbors happy. 

The chance to spend more time outdoors can improve your mood and health, and these covered patio ideas can help you do just that while doubling as a great home improvement project

If you want to extend your outdoor living space, consider installing a new deck to boost your home’s curb appeal and value. Compare deck designs and styles to see what your backyard could be. 

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