Exploring Patio Cover Designs

Spending time out in the yard can be a relaxing and rewarding experience, with the right patio cover designs added to the functionality of your home you and your family can enjoy your yard while avoiding some of the inconveniences of being outdoors. You can also do this without closing yourself off completely from nature completely by being forced inside.

Rain can ruin any outdoor activity without the proper preparation. Without the benefit of a cover to take shelter under, you would be forced inside. Good weather has it’s own problems as well, as the ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays can make spending too much time outside unhealthy. While you could cover yourself in sunscreen every time you want to go out to spend time on the patio, this can be very inconvenient and even costly over time.

There are many ways you can go with to address these issues. From completely enclosed patio designs which essentially extend your house in a manner which allows for great visibility still, to portable pop up tents that can be set up whenever and wherever they are needed, there is sure to be an option which offers the functionality you are looking for.

Modify Your Environment with Retractable Awnings

While protection from the elements is a great functionality to add to your patio, cover designs can be such that they get in the way when you’d rather to open things up. Whether it’s to enjoy the warmth of the sun on a cool day, or to lay back and watch the moon and stars at night, occasionally it’s great to be able to just look up at the sky.

When you have a permanent awning, gazebo, or other type of canopy, this can mean you have to move off the comfort of your patio, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With retractable awnings you have the ability to have the shade and protection from the elements when it is needed, and then to retract the awning when it’s not necessary to have that functionality. This gives you the ability to adjust to the changing conditions as needed.

There are a couple different types of retractable awnings to consider. There are manual adjustable awnings which just as the name suggests are meant to be rolled up by hand when not in use. This doesn’t take a lot of time and effort, but can be a nuisance if you have to modify it very often. On the plus side these types of adjustable awnings are rather inexpensive and also do not have a lot of complicated parts.

An alternative form of patio covering to manual adjustable awnings are motorized ones. These awnings have an electric motor that handles the task of rolling out the awning when you need the shade, and rolling it back up when it’s not in use. This can be very convenient of course, but involves quite a bit more expense. Installation of this type of awning is more involved as well, seeing as you will need to run an electric line to the motor. Over time, maintenance costs will be higher too. Still, the convenience can make it a good option to consider this type of patio coverings.

Flexible Use with Patio Gazebo Canopies

Another way that you can add adaptability to your covered patio designs is to make it a portable one. These are often referred to as pop up tents or gazebo canopies. They are generally very easy to set up and take down, and so offer you the ability to determine when you need it’s use and when you don’t.

The added benefits that these type of solutions have over retractable awnings are that they will be able to be used in multiple locations. Some gazebo canopies are quite heavy still, and so can only be moved around with quite a bit of work, but it can be done. Pop up tents on the other hand are generally very lightweight, and can be folded up and taken with you just about anywhere. They make a welcome addition to the yard, a day at the beach, or a camping trip up in the mountains.

Ensuring your Patio Cover will Really Protect

While the patio cover ideas you are considering may claim that they address all these issues, sometimes you need to examine the actual product specifications and reviews to make sure they are actually delivering what they claim to. Sometimes claims such as “weatherproofed” or “UV resistant” are made for products which really aren’t up to par in those regards, or won’t be true for long. Cheaper canvas patio covers are often marketed this way, but without careful maintenance they will quickly lose these properties and end up brittle and leaky in short order.

If the product you are looking at is suspect in these regards, you still could make use of them. Just be aware it probably isn’t a long term investment, or may require extra maintenance, so approach judging the pricing accordingly. Just because a cheaper cover is less expensive doesn’t mean it won’t cost you more to go that route in the long run. Though there still could be room for some good deals to be had with a relatively quick replacement schedule.

patio cover ideasCC Photo from JAGWired

Replacement Patio Covers

Whenever you are using lightweight fabrics for use as an overhead canopy, you are sure to have them degrade over time. The effects of ultraviolet light aren’t just damaging to your skin, but can also degrade the materials used in such covers. Add in the propensity for the patio cover to develop dry rot or to be torn by sudden gusts of wind, and it’s only a matter of time before you will have to look into replacement patio covers.

The good news here is that replacement patio covers can be rather inexpensive in comparison to most “fix it up” projects. The limited use of materials as well as the ease of installation makes them very efficient and inexpensive forms of protection. As mentioned before though, it’s important to make sure that the replacement patio covers you purchase are actually going to provide the functionality that you need from your patio cover. This means checking to make sure that it’s properly weatherproofed.

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