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Patio cover ideas: 22 stunning designs to keep your outdoor seating space sheltered

gardening etc. logo gardening etc. 5/7/2021 Holly Crossley
a chair sitting in front of a building: patio cover ideas: SUNS Lifestyle pergola © Provided by gardening etc. patio cover ideas: SUNS Lifestyle pergola

The right patio cover ideas can provide all the shelter you need to enjoy your space come rain or shine. Plus, they're a simple way to transform a lacklustre stretch of paving into a chic and cozy zone. It's no surprise that we think they're a must-have for any of our patio ideas. And, as it turns out, there are tons of gorgeous designs to choose from. 

Patio covers also help us to make the most of our gardens, all year round. And, with their help, we can create intimate, sheltered spaces to spend quality time with those that matter the most. 'We are also more mindful of our mental wellbeing and there is a growing awareness of the health benefits of being outside,' says the team at SUNS Lifestyle. If we've got somewhere sheltered to retreat to, getting out in the fresh air is much more enticing, even in the colder or rainier months.

So if all these benefits of patio cover ideas sound tempting, just keep scrolling. From contemporary structures with adjustable roofs to hand-painted parasols and much more, we've got all the inspiration you need.

1. Shelter an outdoor living space with an ultra-modern cover

This chic, adjustable pergola perfectly demonstrates how patio cover ideas can complete a scene. Connecting seamlessly to the feature wall, it provides all the shelter needed for the modern seating below. 

When combined with an outdoor fireplace, a cozy living room feel is created that will tempt everyone out of the house, no matter the weather. Opt for pale shades throughout the set-up for a restful tone.

Our pergola ideas feature is full of stunning designs if you want to discover more.

2. Hang plants and lighting from your pergola

Giant pergolas are a great choice for larger gardens and families who love to entertain outdoors. This wooden design is certainly striking, but its ample height keeps the space feeling welcoming and airy.

Not only will a structure like this provide cool relief from the hot sun, but it will also come in handy for decorating your seating set-up. Here, hanging basket ideas and a gold-toned pendant light offer extra visual interest to the vertical space, but you could also try festoon lights, or even bunting.

3. Protect a strip of patio with a neat awning

Have you taken a look at our awning ideas yet? They're a great choice for patio cover ideas if you want to offer just a bit of shelter close to the house. This makes it quick and easy to pop in and out for extra drinks or snacks when you're relaxing outdoors. Plus, awnings can also deter the sun from glaring through your windows if you're busy working inside.

There are lots of retractable options for maximum versatility, but more permanent structures have their place too. This style above works beautifully with the exterior of the house and, due to the central transparent panes, will keep the space feeling light and bright.

4. Adorn your sheltered zone with colorful accessories

For the ultimate outdoor chill-out zone, treat your covered patio space like you would a room in your house. We're talking comfy garden furniture, outdoor rugs, tactile textures, and bold patterns for a dose of summery fun.

This set-up provides a lovely indoor-outdoor feel, complete with lamps to bathe the scene in a cozy glow once night falls. Training the best climbing plants up your patio cover structure will soften the look and add a soothing touch of green. 

Meanwhile, a hammock strung up beneath the canopy offers a laid-back spot to while away an afternoon. Want to recreate the look? Take a look at our best hammock buying guide.

5. Opt for something a little different for your patio cover ideas

Fancy something a little different for your patio cover ideas? This pressure-treated timber structure is ideal for providing a cozy shelter out of the rain. 

With its playful design, it's bound to be a conversation point, however the natural materials keep it cohesive with the rest of the garden. Set up against a fence, it offers an extra dose of privacy to your plot, too.

There's enough room for six, so it's the perfect spot for evening drinks or an alfresco breakfast with loved ones. Just add a few colorful cushions to up the comfy factor – it'll be your new favorite spot in no time.

6. Add a hanging chair for ultimate comfort

Sturdy patio cover ideas provide an opportunity for the must-have seating solution of the season – a hanging chair. We love how this design complements the white-washed surroundings, rattan furniture, and wicker baskets, to curate a sophisticated yet relaxed vibe.

Plus, the panes of glass above will allow you to sit back and watch the clouds drift by, or the rain patter peacefully.

Looking for more lovely designs? Check out our garden furniture ideas.

7. Brighten up a space with a white parasol

A white-toned parasol adds the perfect finishing touch to this calm and contemporary scene. And, its clever design means the support won't block your view when you're catching up with friends alfresco.

Pair with pale walls, eye-catching furniture and one of our modern paving ideas for a chic style.

8. Create a canopy of lights for a romantic look

Using fairy lights en masse is one of the easiest ways to up the ambience of a plot. They'll add a romantic edge to any of your patio cover ideas – just take a look at how they elevate this rustic gazebo, for example. 

The combination of wooden beams and glowy lights results in an atmospheric canopy, providing a lovely spot for evening entertaining. You could opt for festoon lights too, for a more contemporary vibe. Head over to our patio lighting ideas for more inspiration.

9. Go for a sleek look with an adjustable gazebo

If you're after a sturdy shelter for your patio, check out these gorgeous designs. These gazebos from SUNS Lifestyle can be used for a multitude of purposes – for alfresco dining spaces, to cover hot tubs, or to create shaded areas for garden furniture, outdoor kitchen ideas, and outdoor bar areas. 

'These functional and ready-to-use terrace-coverings require no planning permission or hefty construction and can be placed freestanding or as an overhang from your home or garden building,' explains the SUNS Lifestyle team. The flexible louvered roof allows you to enjoy the sunshine when open, and is rainproof when closed, with an innovative drainage system. Adjustable side cassettes are available too, as shown above, which provide extra shelter and privacy.

'The finished effect creates a distinct and contemporary look, and an intimate and modern space that can be enjoyed beyond our homes,' they add. We couldn't agree more.

10. Add pattern and color for a boho vibe

Looking to brighten up a dull patch of paving? Then this patio cover idea could be the one for you. This show-stopping parasol brings tons of glamour and fun with its hand-painted design and opulent hues. We love the tassel details and beading, too.

Surround with billowing borders and add a colorful cushion or two for a vibrant scene with a bohemian vibe. 

We've got plenty more designs in our best garden parasol buying guide.

11. Opt for retractable awning for versatility

'If your outside space requires a quick yet effective transformation, retractable patio awnings guarantee instant shade and shelter', says Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director of Caribbean Blinds UK

It's a perfect solution for providing cover when needed, meaning you can make the most of indoor-outdoor living throughout the seasons. 

Opt for neutral hues for an elegant look, or go for funky patterns or bold colors – whichever suits your style best.

12. Go for a prettily-painted corner arbor

Are you a little short on space when it comes to your plot? Don't worry, this corner arbor seat is just the ticket. Painted in a gentle yet refreshing green, it makes a lovely feature for a balcony, terrace or courtyard. 

The trellis detail offers all kinds of opportunity to get creative and make it your own. Why not train up some jasmine or roses to surround yourself in their gorgeous fragrance whilst you relax, or hang up lanterns for an atmospheric glow?

Head over to our best exterior paint buying guide and get stocked up for your next painting project. Our garden arbor ideas feature also has lots of inspiring designs.

13. Surround your outdoor dining zone with foliage

Get back to nature with a canopy of lush green foliage. It will add a soothing touch to any outdoor dining space, whilst providing natural shelter from the midday sun. Use sturdy structures such as columns and pergolas to support your plants of choice, then sit back and enjoy the leafy view.

If you're after a bit of extra pizzazz, you could learn how to grow wisteria around your patio cover ideas instead – its elegant trails of flowers are a spectacular sight for all. 

14. Use clean lines for modern plots

This award-winning louvred roof pergola offers an open-air alfresco feel when left fully open. However, if the weather takes a turn, the roof can be closed, offering a completely water-, wind- and even snow-tight cover, as Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director of Caribbean Blinds UK explains.

It's a fabulous way to create your very own slice of paradise right in your own backyard. Plus, its sleek appearance makes it a perfect addition to our modern garden ideas.

15. Shelter a corner sofa from the sun

Does your large outdoor sofa need shelter, but you don't want to opt for a permanent structure? Then go for jumbo-sized parasol instead. This adjustable one above adds a touch of luxury and a big dose of versatility, and will look chic in any plot. 

It's a timeless look that'll never go out of style – a wonderful accompaniment to rattan furniture.

Head over to our outdoor seating ideas for more stunning designs.

16. Go for a modern mix of materials

If you've got the space and the budget and are looking to go big when it comes to your patio cover ideas, then check out this idea. 

The durable aluminium structure makes a bold impact, and is clad in water-resistant panels. And you don't need to worry about keeping things cozy – both heating and lighting can be added to the build. It's a brilliant way to create an outdoor 'room' that can be used as an extension to the house all year.

17. Light up the scene from your parasol

If you're set on a parasol as your patio cover of choice, then this is an easy way to give it an extra lift come nightfall.

By hanging decorative pendants beneath it, you'll cast a gorgeous glow around your evening set-up. Plus, by opting for solar varieties, you won't need to worry about extra wires, or finding a plug.

Add one or two of the best outdoor rugs and you'll have a cozy outdoor living space in no time.

18. Provide shelter with slatted sides

We love the slatted side panels on this impressive design. They allow a summer's breeze to gently circulate your seating area whilst looking super stylish.

Of course, they're great for adding a touch more privacy too. And, due to their nifty design, they can be removed easily from the rest of the structure when not required.

Looking for more ways to make your plot feel more private? Our garden privacy ideas has you covered.

19. Try a stylishly scalloped design

The waterproof canvas of this octagonal parasol is printed in a beautiful William Morris print. Meanwhile, the scalloped edges add a lovely finishing touch. 

It's the perfect summery focal point for any patio – we simply adore it.

20. Choose sturdy materials

The best gazebos are the ones that allow you to bring your outdoor living space ideas to life, come rain or shine. Go for strong, durable materials to ensure the structure can withstand wind and rain during autumn and winter, as well as provide plenty of shade in summer. 

If you want to leave it up all year, it's a good idea to look out for designs that come with sturdy ground anchors to keep it firmly fixed to the ground. After all, no one wants to see their gazebo take flight during windy weather.

We love the curtain details on this design – great for an extra boost of privacy.

21. Keep the chef dry with a mini gazebo

Adding a small gazebo to your patio is ideal for creating a sheltered area for your best BBQ. That way, even if there's an unexpected rain shower the head chef can stay dry. No one wants to huddle underneath an umbrella whilst trying to grill burgers!

Need somewhere for your snacks? Look out for designs with bar tables on each side to give you plenty of space to keep your sauces, food, and drinks close at hand.

22. Cover your dining set-up

If you want to create sheltered outdoor dining ideas next to the house, choose a design that can be attached to the wall with secure fixings. With its elegant detailing, this sleek canopy would suit both modern and traditional homes. 

The whole structure is secured to the wall with fixing bolts and it's height adjustable, too. Meanwhile, the showerproof canopy is retractable, so you can pull it back to fully enjoy the sunshine during the summer months. 

The canopy can also be removed from the frame entirely, so you can store it away over winter if necessary. 

Which is the best patio cover idea for your plot?

The best patio cover for your plot depends on a multitude of factors. These include the size and budget you have available, plus your own personal taste.

Large structures such as the one above make fabulous choices for bigger areas and create a permanent outdoor 'room' to be used whatever the weather. Of course, they're not often cheap, but they're made to last, and can transform how you use your garden.

However, a smaller solution such as a parasol has many benefits too. As the team at East London Parasol Company says, their designs are a low-commitment and minimal-effort solution, yet make a maximum style statement.

'You can be bold with a vast array of colors, which adds a pop of vibrancy to any outdoor space,' they add. 

What should you consider when choosing a patio awning?

If you're opting for retractable awning to cover your patio, London-based surveyor Frank Evans from Roché Systems has some advice on what to consider.

Color or patterned designs tend to spring to mind when choosing an awning cover, he says, but the type of material is equally important.

Our covers are made from a treated polyester fabric which is much stronger and more environmentally friendly than some alternatives, he says. The main difference with our fabrics is the nano coating applied during manufacturing, Frank continues. This helps to create a self-cleaning effect which helps it retain its appearance.

Frank also suggests to consider how much brightness you want for your space, as thinner weaves can allow more light through, whereas others are much thicker and block out light.

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