Raindrops Keep Falling on Your Head? Install a Patio Cover

Often, life outdoors demands we seek shelter away from it - rain or intense sunlight can make being in the elements and entertaining outside a dicey situation. Patio covers are a delightful compromise when Mother Nature refuses to cooperate with ideal weather. From freestanding roofed structures to retractable awnings, there are several popular ways to add shelter to your patio for the convenient enjoyment of your garden and landscape.

You've just invited your boss over for grilled steak and drinks out on your new deck - you don't want to cancel just because of a drizzle. Or, you want to ride your exercise bike out on the patio every morning but are tired of drenching your fair skin in sunscreen. What to do? It really is as simple as installing a cover above your patio or deck. Patio covers allow you all the pleasures of outdoor living, plus adequate shelter from rain and intense sun. Reading, eating, relaxing will be considerably enhanced by the installation of this permanent feature.

Once you get beyond the impermanent fixtures of a backyard canopy or umbrella - which are temporary shelters at best - you will be considering a structure with a roof, possibly open lattice (a pergola, for instance) or an awning. A patio cover can be as simple and functional as a typical carport, only it provides cover for you and your guests as opposed to your car. Alternatively, wood and roofed structures can be as elaborately built as you wish with shingles, gutters and downspouts to boot.

Your home and current deck or patio may help you to narrow down your choice of covers. You will want to consider either attached or freestanding models. An attached pergola or retractable awning uses your house or possibly garage. These are popular features with many different styles that are widely available online or through traditional home-improvement centers. Retractable awnings are frequently made with aluminum frames - the cover itself might vary in color and material. They can be motorized or manually operated. They are often not as visually appealing as a freestanding structure or a custom-built pergola, so may not add as much value to your home as those features, but they will do the trick for a smaller patio or deck area.

On the other hand, a free-standing structure or even an attached custom designed pergola may be permanent enhancements for your home and may certainly increase its value just as they will increase the amount of time you enjoy life outdoors. A permanently built cover - and cover really is a loose term used to describe any feature that provides shelter from rain or sun - will allow for cooking undisturbed outdoors as well as simple protection from the elements while still remaining outside. You may choose to cover the entire patio or just a necessary portion of it.

Covering the patio will provide many more opportunities for outdoor enjoyment. A roofed cover with beams for hanging items like ceiling fans or hanging light fixtures will be wonderful patio features if you do any entertaining outside. In terms of décor and outdoor style, it's an elegant feature. Yet, even lower-end patio covers will afford enough shelter to remain outdoors when it rains - continue cooking, enjoying cocktails, repotting your plants and the like with an adequate roof over your head.

A patio cover will also do more than protect you, however. Move your container plants in and out of the shade at will. Keep your pets outdoors while giving them some protection from intense sunrays. Your furniture will be far less likely to fade with a cover above it. Many covers may also be enhanced with plant life for a great blend with the natural elements. Trailing roses or ivy may wind around wooden structures for unsurpassed visual effects.

If you are still in the planning stage of your patio or deck, you may also want to consider adding the cover feature at this point as well for a better blend between the two structures. The cost of adding a patio cover runs the gamut from moderately-priced to very dear depending on whether you do the job or hire a professional installer - not to mention the type of cover itself. If you want to add to your home’s value, consider a higher end option; you won't be disappointed if you love to be outdoors.