Covered Patio Designs

covered patio
How to Install a Patio Roof

A good covered patio design extends the time you are able to comfortably use your patio. Patio roof designs range from expensive and complex to modest and affordable. They can be made of cloth, wood, fiberglass, or composites. Some covered patio designs incorporate vines and other plant life. While some can be installed by a careful homeowner, many designs will require a contractor and a building permit in order to complete.

Common Covered Patio Designs

There are four common covered patio designs that will have you enjoying the shade as you sit on your patio.


An arbor provides the least amount of protection from sun and rain. Often as much of an aesthetic choice as a practical one, arbors come in a variety of different designs. Even if you know how to build an arbor, many homeowners consider arbor kits for convenience. These kits come complete with all the required materials.

Even with an arbor kit, homeowners are often surprised at the difficulty involved in constructing an arbor. For this reason, you may want to consider hiring a professional for this project. After the structure is complete, the homeowner can paint or stain the arbor, or otherwise modify it to suit their needs.

Sun Shade

A sun shade provides protection from the sun. This patio covering is the easiest to install and often requires minimal work on the part of the homeowner. While there are many sun shades available, in a wide variety of prices, it is best to consider spending a little more on a sun shade so you can enjoy it for several years.


build a patio

A patio awning is made of a solid cloth that provides full protection from the sun and some protection from the rain. There are both temporary and permanent patio awnings, and a well-made covering should last for several years.


If you live in a particularly hot or rainy area of the world, knowing how to install a patio roof can increase the usefulness of the patio. A simple roof made of metal roofing panels is a reasonable task for those homeowners who are inclined to construct it themselves, but more complex structures may require a contractor. A roof can also be constructed over an existing arbor, if you find that the arbor does not provide enough protection.Professionally designed and built roofs can be very complex and convert a patio into a true outdoor room. Roofs may also be constructed if the patio is adjacent to the house in order to help shade part of the house as well as the patio itself. If you are interested in a patio roof, it is best to at least discuss your options with a professional who has experience with outdoor planning.

Installing a Covered Patio

The difficulty of installing a covered patio will vary widely depending on the type of cover you have chosen. Sun shades and most awnings are normally designed with the do-it-yourself homeowner in mind. They seldom require more than installing a few posts for support. Interested homeowners should buy a kit with detailed instructions that includes all of the necessary items to complete the job. Most of these kits should be fairly inexpensive when compared to other options.

Arbors and roofs, on the other hand, almost always require the help of a contractor or other professional. Although the designs for many of these patio covers are easy to construct, many homeowners underestimate the difficulty of working on a ladder for long periods of time. Also, depending on the size of the structure and the laws in the area, the homeowner may be required to submit plans for the cover and obtain a building permit. A licensed contractor can help with some of these difficulties and can often get material discounts unavailable to homeowners.

Final Considerations

The cover appropriate for your patio will depend on your budget, climate, and the time spent outdoors enjoying the space. If you are unsure how much you will use a covered patio, consider using a less expensive cover for a year, and then reevaluating your needs. Some homeowners have found success by constructing an arbor, then adding a sun shade, awning, or roof as their budget allows.

More Information

For more information about patios and patio design inspiration, check out the following LoveToKnow articles.

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Covered Patio Designs