Regardless of the climate, there are many reasons — ranging from style to function — to invest in a covered patio. These days, patio covers go by many names (pergola, trellis, and canopy, to list a few) and they all qualify as stylish options that will provide some relief from the sun's harsh rays. There is a wide array of price options when it comes to a patio cover. Some prefer to make it look like an extension of their home, constructing a roof complete with beams. It's an approach that designer Raili Clasen prefers. She says, "Make the patio area feel like a cozy extension of the house, complete with lounge furniture, a comfy dining area, and real artwork."
Others choose to go with a more economical route that won't be quite so time-consuming. Think: plastic or fabric pergola covers or a bamboo screen draped over a pergola. If you don't already have an existing structure, it's fairly cost-effective and straightforward to build a pergola yourself. Actually, if you want to go with the most budget-friendly patio cover option of all, it can be as simple as putting up a large umbrella. "The best thing for those small backyard spaces to get coverage economically with a big impact is obviously an umbrella," says Anne Hulcher Tollett, principal of Hanover Avenue. "If you're trying to do something where you can't invest in building a pergola or something covered, the best way to make it feel like a cozy environment, quickly and economically, is an umbrella."
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A good pergola cover will be water-resistant and provide anywhere from a little to a lot of shade, depending on your preference. The costs can also vary widely. If you purchase a cover to go over an existing pergola, you could spend under $100 for your new cover. But if you want to aim for an all-out remodel, complete with a roof, you'd of course be looking at spending thousands of dollars.
No matter how much you decide to spend on your new patio cover, always strive to make it blend into the natural setting of your property. "The trick is to figure out what makes you happiest in the space and then design to enhance the beauty with the essential elements that are inherently present in any outdoor design," says Caron Woolsey, founder and principal designer of CW Interiors. "Remember — Mother Nature is an expert designer and has already done most of the work for you."
Regardless of your #patiogoals, there are plenty of ways for you to be imaginative. Whether you're looking for complete shade coverage, full sun exposure, or something in between, get ready to be inspired by these 35 creative design ideas.
35 Best Patio Cover Ideas
1. Closed Roof With Exposed Beams Patio Cover
This covered patio idea by David Michael Miller is basically a living room with the exterior walls knocked out. Plus, it's the perfect spot for lounging by the fireside. The exposed-beam design creates a built-in look that integrates seamlessly with the rest of the house.
2. Narrow-Slat Pergola Patio Cover With Wraparound Screen
Well, it won't protect you from rain, sleet, or snow, but yes, this narrow-slat pergola belonging to Pencil Shavings Studio counts as a covered patio. Perfect for homeowners who enjoy basking in the sun's rays, the uncovered-covered patio option will create shade, still allowing you to soak up lots of vitamin D. We particularly like the semi-private cabana effect that results from the addition of a wraparound screen. And if you're ever in the mood for an ambitious DIY project, framing a patio roof may not be as hard as you think.
3. Modern Metal Canopy Patio Cover
This metal canopy spotted on Welke is reminiscent of a midcentury carport. It also makes a beautiful modern patio cover. The simple architectural framing provides a perfect complement to this modern outdoor veranda's minimalist color scheme.
4. Wood Slat Patio Cover
This wood slat patio cover by Robert Elliott Homes instantly creates a warm and rustic vibe. The light-colored wood finish and white brick outdoor fireplace are the ideal pair for super-hot climates, but that's not to say they can't work beautifully in cold ones as well. Just imagine curling up in front of that fireplace with some cozy blankets and a hot cup of cocoa as the temperatures get a little cooler.
5. Laser-Cut Metal Screen Patio Cover
Chances are this isn't your grandma's patio cover (but if it is, you've got one awesome grandma). Laser-cut metal screens are one of the most creative, not to mention visually interesting, ways you can cover your patio. Not only are the screens themselves beautiful, but they also cast incredible shadows with the changing sunlight. Due to the craftsmanship involved, it's not surprising that this particular option by Sanctum Screens is available at a higher price point than the average patio roof.
6. Wisteria-Covered Trellis Patio Cover
Take your patio to a whole new level by loading a trellis up with your favorite blooms or greenery until you've got a living canopy. This lush, floral-covered trellis belonging to Bonnie Christine is pure magic! Complete the look with a few simple pieces of furniture to balance out the wild verdure, and some outdoor string lights for a little added ambiance.
7. Sail Shade Fabric Patio Cover
Sun sail shades are an especially creative way to cover your patio because they provide endless possibilities. Depending on how you install them, you can reposition each sail shade at any time. You can even experiment with multiple fabrics, colors, and configurations to ensure you have the most original and unique patio cover on the block. Can you believe that Dana and Steve from House Tweaking actually DIYed this backyard setup?
8. Bamboo Reed Patio Cover
Already have a pergola, just need a patio cover? Take a page out of Sophie Carpenter's clever design handbook and use bamboo reed garden fencing. Not only is it budget-friendly (around $28 at The Home Depot), but it's also a fast and easy way to give your backyard patio a boho-chic makeover. Plus, this is a project you can absolutely tackle yourself.
9. Roman Sail Shade Patio Cover
Warning: Covering your patio with Roman sail (or wave) shades like this patio designed by Breeze Giannasio might tempt you to recline and indulge in a glass or two of wine. They can be retractable so that you can control the amount of sunlight you wish to enjoy, or they can be fixed. Roman sail shades work best in areas that aren't excessively windy. No one wants to see their perfectly styled patio cover fly away with a strong gust of wind.
10. Open Roof With Exposed Beam Patio Cover
The open design of this patio by Sabugosa Architecture is the definition of bringing the outdoors in. By simply opening or closing the large sliding glass doors, this space is instantly transformed from indoor to outdoor. A portion of the ceiling features a skylight divided by exposed beams, allowing natural light to pour in from above.
11. Wide-Slat Pergola Patio Cover
In case there's any lingering confusion about the difference between a covered patio and a pergola, this is a textbook example of the latter. A wide-slat pergola is the best way to go whenever there's a bit of distance between the patio area and your house. We love the way Brookes + Hill Custom Builders incorporated beautiful pendant lighting into this design, sure to create a bewitching ambiance perfect for those summer soirees.
12. Deck-Style Semi-Enclosed Patio Cover
We simply love the Miami Beach vibes of this swanky scene showcased on Lili in Wonderland. Reminiscent of an exclusive poolside cabana, this wood slat enclosure creates a shaded patio and adds an element of privacy. Pair the warm wood finish with some modern outdoor furniture, and your backyard will be the coastal retreat everyone flocks to.
13. Corrugated Aluminum Patio Cover
When it came to his patio remodel, Dabito of the blog Old Brand New went the cost-effective DIY route, using a corrugated aluminum cover. To dress up the metal roofing, he painted the surrounding structure in a chic matte black and brought it all together with boho flair. Now the outdoor living space is ready for lounging.
14. Awning Patio Cover
One of the most popular (and arguably most charming) patio covers is the awning that extends from the exterior of your home. Reminiscent of quaint sidewalk cafes, this option offers homeowners the opportunity to add a dash of color, pattern, or both depending on what material you chose. We love the black and white stripe design that Breeze Giannasio chose for this al fresco dining area.
15. Acrylic or Polycarbonate Patio Cover
In lieu of an expensive glass patio cover, opt for one made from acrylic or polycarbonate sheets. It'll still allow you to have a semi-opaque finish without breaking the bank. Follow the lead of this rustic outdoor scene. And if you want to up the cozy factor and inject some additional flair, hang some string lights.
16. Vinyl Patio Cover
Vinyl can be a relatively cost-effective alternative to traditional outdoor materials. If you're looking to achieve the look and feel of a minimalist patio cover — this dreamy spot from Chango & Co. hits all the right notes — then a weather-resistant vinyl structure is the way to go. Bonus points for the fact that it's easy to maintain and will never rust.
17. Geometric Patio Cover
The custom-built pergola outside this L.A. home is equal parts inspired and stunning. Its geometric design offers a refreshing take on the concept, proving that form and function can coexist. To take things a step further, note how the creatives behind the project went for a cohesive finish with matching outdoor furniture.
18. Reclaimed Wood Patio Cover
Reclaimed wood can add a warm burst of character to just about any spot. When it comes to an outdoor space, it's the perfect ode to nature. This California-cool setup spotted on Lulu and Georgia showcases the effortless feel of the material, via the patio cover, and its ability to organically fit into the tree-lined surroundings.
19. Glass Patio Cover
If your patio doesn't receive direct sunlight but you still wish to have some protection from the elements, consider a glass patio cover à la this tropical escape by architect Aamer Taher. There are a variety of glass options to choose from that offer different levels of opacity and UV protection. Then, you can create the outdoor paradise of your dreams in your own backyard.
20. Umbrella Patio Cover
Don't want, need, or have room in your yard or budget to build an actual structure to shade your patio? No worries. Follow the lead of this poolside refuge by Brooke Wagner and opt for an oversize umbrella instead. Cost-effective and stylish — that's what we call a win-win!
21. Dark Open-Slat Patio Cover
To allow in a bit of sun while communicating plenty of style, consider going with open slats for your patio cover. To make it look even more modern, embrace a dark stain, something that will make your structure pop against the sky. For example, the dark wood looks spot-on with equally modern artwork and outdoor furnishings in this Raili Clasen design.
22. Patio Cover With Light Fixture
A covered pergola will give you the option to enjoy your outdoor space in rain or shine. To make it seem even more like a living room, or in the case of this setup from Christina of Oh So Glam, a dining room, be sure to hang an outdoor-ready light fixture. For even more visual interest, plant vines that will wrap themselves around the pergola's columns and roof.
23. Reeded Screen Patio Cover
Looking for a patio cover that won't break the bank? Then consider a reeded screen, which can be picked up at most home improvement stores. As witnessed on this patio, belonging to Carole of Dear Designer's Blog, it provides a subtle dose of privacy and a little extra shade.
24. Patio Cover With Outdoor Curtains
If you have an existing pergola, you're in luck. You can simply pick up a ready-made fabric patio cover. For extra dramatic effect, and to dial up the privacy, you can opt for outdoor curtains as well — something that Rachel of Shades of Blue Interiors chose for her patio makeover.
25. DIY Pergola Shade Patio Cover
Want to give your pergola a little more personality? Then put on your DIY hat and make your own patio cover. This tutorial from Studio DIY will show you how to get the look, step by step.
26. Pallet Board Patio Cover
If your covered patio will be an extension of your home, turn the ceiling into a stunning design moment. This can be achieved with the help of pallet boards — the more knots and imperfections, the better — à la this setup belonging to Becky of Daly Digs. If we didn't know any better, we might mistake this charming scene for a flawless indoor living room.
27. White Open-Slat Patio Cover
Sometimes, a chic, white open-slat pergola is all you need to cover your patio. You can always choose to increase the shade by placing a fabric shade over it later, but for now, this modern beauty can stand all on its own. Molly of Almost Makes Perfect used a modern white pergola to transform her backyard into a cool, minimalist oasis.
28. Black Open-Slat Patio Cover
Or perhaps you'd prefer something a little darker for your patio cover. In that case, follow the lead of Shavonda from SG Style and go with a black hue, resulting in a contemporary feel. The rattan lanterns only add to the stylish vibe of this striking outdoor space.
29. Open-Slat Patio Cover With Beams
With a patio cover, you don't just have to go with open slats. You can increase the visual appeal by adding solid wood beams as well. Here, in this space perfected by Rebecca of Studio Plumb, the beams transition into columns, resulting in a symmetrical and visually pleasing design.
30. Vaulted Patio Cover
Perhaps with your patio cover, you really want to go for broke. If you have the budget, you can choose to build an open-air roof over your patio. Bonus points if it's vaulted and features an outdoor kitchen, two things that Cyndy of The Creativity Exchange included in her design.
31. Gazebo-Style Patio Cover
Whether you already have a gazebo or want to create a gazebo effect with your patio cover, you can use it to stylishly protect your outdoor space. Even when it's raining, you'll be able to sit and enjoy your backyard. So make it extra special by adding vintage hanging lanterns over a gorgeous tablescape, elements that Ashley from At Home with Ashley included in this Palm Beach-inspired design.
32. Patio Cover With Skylights
While shade does sound nice for your patio, you know that you'll miss the occasional ray of sunlight streaming through. So, why not give yourself the best of both worlds by installing skylights? That's exactly how Britt of My Daily Randomness simultaneously soaks up the sun and the shade.
33. Slanted Polygal Patio Cover
To make your patio cover look a bit more unique, consider a slanted style. That's what Olivia of LivvyLand did with her patio. She also added some rain protection with the help of a polygal cover — a type of plastic that keeps rain out while letting ambient light in.
34. Patio Cover With Ceiling Fan
Keep in mind that when you have a patio cover with a ceiling, you can add a ceiling fan. It's just the thing to make your outdoor space a little more comfortable and a tiny bit cooler. Hope of The Copper Rose opted for a fan with a light for their outdoor kitchen, which will come in handy as the sun goes down.
35. Patio Cover With Narrow Open Slats and Beams
To let in just enough sunlight while still benefiting from the shade, make the slats of your patio cover extra narrow. Adding wood beams will help support the weight of the slats, while also making the design even more pleasing to look at. It's a well-appointed patio cover idea that Cassie of Hi Sugarplum! used in her backyard.
Pros and Cons of a Covered Patio
There are a lot of good reasons to invest in a covered patio.
- It's a lot more economical than adding a three-season porch to your home.
- It will protect you, and your patio, from all kinds of weather.
- You can treat the space as an outdoor living room where you can entertain family and friends.
- Patio covers can also reduce the amount of sun exposure, which causes outdoor furniture and decor to age and discolor faster.
- It will increase your home's curb appeal.
As with all good things in life, there are a few cons to consider as well.
- If you go all-out with your patio cover — constructing a roof and adding other decorative touches — it could get expensive in a hurry.
- Covered patios will also require occasional maintenance to keep them looking nice year after year.
- If your patio is attached to your home, a cover might keep the sunlight from flowing through your windows, making your interior space feel a bit darker.
Covered Patio Costs
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of building a pergola can range from $2,139 to upwards of $5,961. A trellis can cost between $60 and $350 per linear foot. And if you want a patio cover that's more substantial, complete with a roof, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000, as Fixr.com reports. Factors that can increase the cost include more expensive materials, such as reclaimed wood, beams, or glass. Aesthetic accents, like a vaulted ceiling, can increase the bottom line as well.
Elements That You Can Add to Covered Patios
If your patio is somewhat protected from the elements, you can easily treat it like one of your living spaces — there are plenty of features that you can add to this area. For starters, you can install light fixtures, including outdoor-friendly chandeliers or pendant lights. An outdoor heater and an accompanying fire pit are always good ideas to help you and your guests stay warm and cozy on cool nights. Don't forget speakers so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while sitting under the stars. And if you really want to boost the luxe factor, you can build an outdoor kitchen or drop in a hot tub.