Finding the Perfect Patio Cover

Sunshine is a vital part of our lives; it helps plants grow, provides necessary vitamin D, and warms up our Earth. Many people enjoy going outside and feeling the sun on their face. Doing so can instantly brighten one’s day, especially if you have a nice patio and comfy chair to enjoy it in.

But, having the sun glare down on you for too long is not ideal, especially if you live in an extremely sunny area, such as Phoenix, Arizona. The glare of that big, beautiful sun can be brutal. To fully enjoy your patio in regions like this, you need some type of shade.

Patio coverings are a great option to provide shade and lessen the intense heat of the sun. There are several different types of patio coverings to suit your needs.

Keep reading as we discuss the four most common categories of patio coverings, plus a bonus category for portable options.

1. Shade Sails or Canopies

Shade sails or canopies are simply a piece of woven material stretched between multiple anchor points. The anchors are typically attached to a permanent frame, including beams and a permanent structure (such as the roof of a house).

The material for shade sails is removable and interchangeable. This makes it possible to easily change up your color scheme as often as you’d like. Shade sails are one of the most budget-friendly options for patio coverings, but they often don’t last as long as other coverings.

There are a few different types of shade sails. These include:

Fixed – This type of shade sail is a little stronger than other sails, as it has steel wire in the hems to help keep its shape. Fixed shade sails are usually permanently attached to a self-standing frame. But, they can also be attached using D-ring clips.

Attached – An attached type of shade sail is when 50 percent or more of the sail is attached to the house or other permanent outdoor structure.

Retractable – This type of shade sail allows you to adjust the coverage you want by opening and closing along a set of tracks. Retractable shade sails can be manual or motorized. These are typically attached to a house above patios, pools, or balconies.

2. Awnings

An awning is a panel of material stretched tightly within a frame. This strong material is angled downward, allowing any water or debris to slide off rather than accumulate.

Awnings are most commonly attached to a house or storefront and can be permanent or retractable. However, some awnings are not attached to a wall; these are known as free-standing awnings.

3. Lattice Patio Covers

More commonly known as a pergola or gazebo, a lattice patio cover consists of pillars supporting a roof made of equally spaced rafters.

The roof is often left open to allow in some sunlight and to help with air circulation. However, to help protect against the elements, some people opt for a material covering to go on top of the rafters. This covering can be permanent or removable.

Lattice patio covers are often made of wood but can be constructed using other types of materials. The ideal material for a lattice patio cover in Phoenix is known as Alumawood. With Alumawood, you get the benefits of both wood and aluminum, creating a durable, lasting product.

Lattice patio covers can be free-standing by using four support beams. Or, the cover can be attached to the home with wall mounts and usually a couple of beams for added support.

4. Screens

Screens are a type of patio covering that hangs vertically. Screens are retractable panels of fabric that limit the amount of incoming sunlight and provide a good amount of shade, especially in the morning and evening when the sun may come streaming in at an angle.

These retractable screens are generally used with another patio covering already in place, such as a pergola. For example, if used with a pergola, the screen would be attached to the top of the pergola and hang down on at least one of the sides.


For various reasons, there are times when a permanent patio covering isn’t an option or just isn’t doable. In this case, there are some portable patio covering options.

Umbrella – Possibly the cheapest option on our list is a patio umbrella. When used with a weighted base, patio umbrellas can be a simple way to get a little bit of shade when needed. The downfall is that if it’s windy, an umbrella isn’t going to do much good.

Portable Canopy – A portable canopy is similar to a tent. Attached to four posts, they are lightweight, easy to set up, and require minimal storage space. But, like an umbrella, this type of canopy may not hold up in the wind unless you have it staked into the ground.

As you can see, there are several options when it comes to providing shade to your patio area. Depending on your budget, style, and taste, there is sure to be a shade covering perfect for you.

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