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Considerations When Planning a Patio Cover

Pergola Patio CoverAs with any home improvement project, the more planning you do when choosing a patio cover, the better the final outcome is likely to be. If you’re only familiar with the tin-roof patio covers of yesteryear, you may not realize how many different options you have. Today’s patio covers may be clear, completely roofed like the rest of your home, or even retractable, as in the case of pergola covers.

Before choosing a patio cover, we recommend that you consider the following questions:

Why do I want a patio cover?

 If there is a clear answer to this question, it can guide you in choosing the right material. For example, if you’re looking for a shady place throughout the year, a solid patio cover will fit your needs nicely, providing year-round shade. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to create a covered spot while preserving the natural light around your home, an aluminum patio cover with transparent, 98 percent UV-proof polycarbonate panels might work better.

How do I envision using my new covered area?

Take some time to daydream about how you would use your covered area. Will you be using your patio cover for entertainment, retreat or playing with children? Again, if you can define your goal in building a patio cover, you can select the best material to fit your needs. For example, pergolas with retractable or natural patio covers (in the form of grapes or hops) make wonderful locations for outdoor entertainment.

What style of patio cover will fit best with the rest of my home and neighborhood?

Exterior home improvement projects can impact your home’s curb appeal, which realtors will tell you is one of the most important ingredients in selling a home. Design your patio cover to match both your home’s exterior and the neighborhood’s general style. For example, if you’re surrounded by storybook Victorians, a pitch-black modern patio cover will probably not match the neighborhood.

Where should my patio cover go?

You may already have a pretty clear idea of where your patio cover should go. However, if you are adding a deck and a patio cover at the same time, it could be challenging to settle on a good location. Watch the sun moving across your property to understand which parts of your yard are most appealing to you. As an example, if you’re the type of person who “lives on your deck” in the summer, an Easterly-facing deck and clear patio cover could be your best bet. If placed on the east side of your home, your deck will offer summer sun and afternoon shade. Of course, people often consider privacy, landscaping and protection from the wind, along with many other factors, when placing their decks and patio covers.

How might my gutters and landscaping interfere with the installation of a patio cover?

Walk around your property to discover any potential impediments to your patio cover installation plans. Your existing gutters may not fit well with your new patio cover – if this is the case, you (or your contractor) will need to figure out how to reposition them. Additionally, you may need to prune back landscaping before your patio cover is installed.

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you can shop for patio covers with your most important criteria in mind.

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