A cover over the patio is one of those magical things a homeowner can do relatively cheaply that makes a million bucks of difference. It can transform this part of the great outdoors into a space that’s almost a bonafide room. There’s just something special about serving a meal or hosting a party under the shelter of a beautiful canopy.
But before construction starts, you of course want to make sure that the right cover gets constructed. Sure, almost any cover might improve things–but just a little thought beforehand can make something merely nice into something amazing that friends will be talking about until the next gathering.
The first choice to make is usually between an open cover or a solid one. An open patio cover is the coolest option, though it won’t protect against rain. A solid cover largely takes care of the rain problem but–perhaps counterintuitively–traps heat in the summertime and could make the whole affair swelter. Finally, a sail shade is a sometimes overlooked covered patio idea that partially combines the best of both worlds.
Below, we’ll look at one idea for maximizing the beauty and effectiveness of each.
A classic covered patio idea is the open cover with vines crawling up, over, and all through it. Visually, it’s one of the most appealing options imaginable. Practically, it’s perfect for dry, hot days.
Of course, no open patio cover will protect against rain. This is the tradeoff to consider when you choose between an open and a solid cover. But if you anticipate more heat than moisture, an open cover with vines hugging it may be the perfect covered patio idea for you.
There are ample crawling vines to choose from as well. Honeysuckle may be one of the easiest, fastest-growing options. Its red-orange color provides a striking contrast against its green leaves, and the scent is unforgettable. It’s especially fragrant around sunset which is perfect for late-afternoon and evening gatherings.
Grapes are another great idea. The shade and cool of a creeping vine over the patio cover is the same as with honeysuckle and the edible fruit practically dripping off the vine imparts a feeling of abundance like few other things can.
Like we said above, a solid patio cover will trap heat on those hot days without rain. If you’re not prepared for this, the high temperatures could end up being as uncomfortable as getting rained on.
Therefore, if you opt for a solid patio cover, you’ll most likely want to install at least one ceiling fan. More than one if you’re looking at a lot of square footage. But don’t worry; ceiling fans don’t all look the same anymore and just like crawling vines, there is a plethora of beautiful choices to shop through. If you pick the right fan, it can make your patio area absolutely pop.
Another benefit to opting for a solid cover with ceiling fan(s) is the light that often comes built into the fan. This prevents you from having to worry as much about how to light an evening party!
Having a ceiling fan with various speeds also affords more control over the temperature of the area than other options. Whereas an open cover causes the patio to stay around the same temperature as the rest of the yard, a solid cover with an adjustable fan might just enable you to make the patio area even cooler than the rest of the yard.
A less permanent but more organic and visually fascinating covered patio idea is a sail shade. Just imagine a literal ship’s sail stretched between trees or support posts, say seven to ten feet above the ground. You can arrange them at angles to guide rainwater to the areas you’d like it to end up in; many sail shades are waterproof.
And because an arrangement of sail shades lets air pass through and around it, this covered patio idea may even keep your party cooler than a solid patio cover. It will at least save the cost of running fans. Imagine how fun it could be to set up a pattern of brightly colored sail shades and some tiki torches–you could have your own luau right in your backyard!
Fun Covered Patio Ideas
Introducing a cover to your patio area is one of the best steps you can take to make everything feel more luxurious outside. It protects partygoers from rain and/or excessive heat while simultaneously seeming to section off the space as a designated area for comfort and relaxation.
Open patio covers provide shade and cooling for those really hot days when being away from an air conditioner might deter people from coming to your outdoor gathering. They’re even better with lush vines growing and crawling up their sides and around their tops.
Solid patio covers are perfect for those hosts who live in wetter regions and want to be able to keep the party going, at least for a while, in the event of that inevitable summer rain. Just make sure to prepare for when you get heat instead of rain, probably by mounting some ceiling fans.
Meanwhile, a system of sail shades is for everybody who likes less orthodox covered patio ideas and wants to experiment with the best of both worlds. This can be as visually interesting as–or even more interesting than–an open cover with vines. Raise the sails!
Just remember it’s all about creating a space that you enjoy relaxing in. When your friends come over, it’s not to impress them with “what you’ve done with the place”; it’s to share the space you’ve created with loved ones. (Of course, if you do that effectively, it will probably impress many of those who show up!)
Have fun working through all your covered patio ideas and, sometime in the near future, using your covered patio! See you out there!