Great Patio Cover Ideas to Spruce up Your Outdoor Space

People love gathering in their outdoor spaces and these outdoor havens in our backyard have been more useful than ever during the past couple of years, or so.

Turn your backyard patio area into an oasis you can use all year round with clever patio cover solutions. Create an outdoor living room and enjoy natural light and fresh air, or perhaps a simple bistro table with a couple of chairs for your morning coffee is more your style.

In this post, we'll answer some common questions and provide some great tips and tricks so you can enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your stunning covered patio.

What kind of patio cover is best?

Patio covers come in all types of structures and options are plentiful. Some provide enough protection from the elements for year-round use. Others are more seasonal and are as light and wispy as cotton fabric.

  • If you're planning on your patio being an outdoor room for a regularly used outdoor dining area, a permanent structure with a solid roof is a good consideration.

  • Are you wanting to embrace the midday sun but still need a little shade? Installing a shade sail for seasonal use is a great way to have both.

  • A separate structure such as a gazebo is another wonderful option for a covered patio. It's possible to buy kit sets and put them together yourself.

  • An outdoor kitchen space might be your motivation for your patio cover. In this instance, you may wish to install a more permanent enclosed patio cover.

How do I begin a patio cover design?

Patio covers are the perfect solution to creating additional space. Indoor/ outdoor flow and multi-use spaces are high on the list of 'wants' for homes these days. But where to begin?

Patio cover ideas are broad, so the best starting point is to decide what your patio's main function will be.

  • Do you need an enclosed patio?

  • Is a permanent patio cover going to be useful?

  • How much sun do you want?

  • Do you need protection from the rain and inclement weather?

Once you've established its primary function(s) you can move forward from there. Ideally, you'll figure out where the sun comes in and at what time of day you need shade. This will likely determine how you'll plan the design.

It could be as simple as investing in a giant outdoor umbrella. Or, a comprehensive wooden structure with a roof and ceiling fan.

How do you cover an existing patio?

Gladstone Long Wool

Gladstone Long Wool Shaggy Bag / Gladstone Long Wool Footstool

For a more filtered shade option, a fairly basic wood frame and shade sail might be enough.

If your patio cover ideas include versatility and a flexible option, consider a retractable awning or electric louvers that are fixed to the house.

Other than a large patio umbrella, a pergola is a relatively easy way to provide shade and somewhere to hang lights. A pergola can hold a canopy of sorts; fabric for seasonal and summer use, or even a thatched roof cover for a more cosy and beachy vibe.

Can a wood pergola create a patio cover?

Absolutely! If the primary goal is to provide shade, think about planting climbing vines at the base of the support beams. Train them to grow up the posts and along the top of the pergola. Over time they'll establish themselves and be a seasonal focal point for your patio. Enjoy the scent of jasmine or honeysuckle as your patio garden flourishes.

A pergola patio cover can also be the vehicle for string lights. Add a chic element of elegance with festoon lights strung above your furniture.

A pergola offers the option of an open plan for warm summer evenings, yet allows you to cover it during the rain and offer shade.

Do I need building plans for a patio roof?

Some patio cover ideas involve a lot more planning than others. If you're planning to build something more permanent and it requires wooden beams and a comprehensive framing system, it's obviously a lot more in-depth than a water-resistant fabric option.

If you're considering something that really is an extension of your home or a larger cover that will be attached to your house, we recommend consulting with a builder or planner. Safety is a key priority so take care, do some research and get the right advice.

How do I make a simple patio cover?

  • If you're blessed with trees near the house, then simply string lights from trees to the house. Drape into a criss-cross shape to create an open design style patio cover.

  • Or, poles in planters can also offer a space for string lighting and/ or a shade sail style cover. Use rocks in the base to secure the poles, fill them with soil, and plant flowers or herbs around the base of the pole.

  • An open-plan pergola is another great addition to any backyard patio space. With the right know-how and a few handy skills, it's a good option that provides the flexibility of use. Hang lights or fit a fabric canopy and light curtains for a more enclosed and cosy patio.

The best patio cover ideas on a budget:

Double Pisa

Pisa Short Wool Double Sheepskin Rug

The most affordable option for most people is likely the use of an umbrella. There's no doubt you can spend top dollar on pivoting, oversized, and cantilever-style umbrellas, but there are also simple styles available for a song.

Another cost-effective and casual patio cover idea is to install beautiful shade sails. Usually shaped in a triangle, it's possible to place these so that you get equal parts sun and shade at certain times of the day.

A pergola doesn't have to be costly, especially if you're handy. It's a wonderful way to hang lights. Solar lighting in the garden will have your backyard twinkling after dark as well.

How do I create a farmhouse outdoor space?

Bring a touch of warmth and relaxed sophistication to your patio design with a farmhouse home decor aesthetic. It's easy to extend your home décor style to your patio.

Find a large rustic wood dining table that can handle the elements if your patio has an open roof, the kind that could tell stories if it could talk! Thrift stores and flea markets are good for this type of thing.

Outdoor furniture should be simple and fairly streamlined. Add a throw blanket or two and when the weather allows, add sheepskin cushions to the patio area for added elegance and warmth.

Bring candles and wooden trays to your outdoor table and freshly cut flowers will add to a wonderful farmhouse aesthetic.

How can I make my outdoor living space cosy?

Matuki Cushion

Matuki Sheepskin Cushion / Matuki One + Half Sheepskin Rug

Add outdoor rugs to your space for an instantly transformed look and feel. Create a seating area around a fire pit if you have room for one.

Don't skimp on lighting - fairy lights twinkling on your patio will add an ambiance and glow that draws you in.

Place some solar lights in the garden or around your backyard to have your spaces twinkling in twilight.

Add warmth and visual interest with sheepskin, wool throw blankets, and colorful pillows. Upholstered furniture will offer comfort and cosiness at the same time.

Grow a small garden on the patio with potted plants and flowers in containers.

In conclusion:

Turn your patio cover ideas into a reality and transform your own backyard into a functional room or an oasis for a hot tub, living area, morning coffee spot, or evening reading spot.

Whether your cover ideas are grand or budget conscious and straightforward, it's not hard to create privacy, shade, shelter, and style for your patio spaces.

If a fixed structure isn't your thing, or if it simply isn't an option then start with a large umbrella - it's that simple! String some lights underneath and add a chair or two with a small table and a potted plant.

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