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The comprehensive guide to outdoor coverings

Posted inStyle Tips

The outdoor areas of a home can be a beautiful space to enjoy throughout the year, but can often be overlooked through lack of protection from the elements.

A lack of shade in summer can make an area unbearably hot, and conversely the risk of rain in winter can render areas unusable without proper waterproof overhead covering. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of outdoor covering options so you can choose the one that suits you, your lifestyle and your outdoor space!

Patios or pergolas

Patios and pergolas are a great solution if you are looking for a permanent outdoor covering. They can be made from a variety of materials, from timber to steel, and can include a range of coverings from waterproof to purely sun shading materials. They can be costly to install but should last for many years and will provide a permanent solution to outdoor entertaining. If you are looking for a sturdy, solid, and permanent solution, and have the funds available, then a patio may be the way to go.


Umbrellas are a great way of providing shade from the sun or protection from the rain in small areas. They are available in a large range of sizes so you can choose one depending on the space you wish to cover. They are portable and versatile, so you can move them around wherever you wish, and take them with you if you move house! If you are looking for an inexpensive, portable solution that is flexible, then an umbrella could be the perfect solution. However, if you are someone who is not good at putting things away then an umbrella may not be the best choice for you, as they may not withstand harsh weather conditions.

Awnings (and the retractable kind)

Awnings are a covering that is attached to your house but is less permanent than patios or pergolas. They are a good way of adding cover to an area without blowing the budget. They are made from material which varies in water and sun resistance, from non water-proof cotton to water proof acryclic-coated polyester. It’s important to choose a material based on your local climate, and the purpose of the awning.

Retractable awnings are a version of awnings that, quite simply, retract! They can be easily attached to the side of your house, and can retract on good weather days when you want some sunshine. They tend to last well because you can put them away to protect them from the harsh elements.

Shade sails

Shade sails are a great solution for modern homes with large areas that need to be covered from the sun. They are not water proof, but do provide good sun protection. If your home is a more traditional style then they can look out of place, but for the modern home they can look artistic and elegant. Shade sails can be taken down in winter to allow winter sun, and prevent damage to the sails. These are a perfect solution over swimming pools or large backyards. They can be quite costly, but can look great and last for a long time.


What is a gazebo? An eight-sided structure with a roof, and partial wall coverings. This is a great feature for a backyard if you want to go all out. However it is suited to large backyards where the gazebo can be located some distance from the house. There is no point squeezing a gazebo into a small backyard where you can’t appreciate its beauty from a distance. They are perfect if you want a protected space away from the house, and have a decent sum of money to invest in your new structure.