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Patio Covers: Reinventing a Boring Backyard

solid patio coverA patio cover—a  type of roof that defines, protects and enhances an outdoor space—can turn a mere slab of concrete into additional living space for your home. Installing a patio cover will create an official outdoor living space that will not only increase the value of your home, but add value to the time you spend in your backyard.

Materials Used to Make Patio Covers

Patio covers are typically made of fiberglass, plastic, aluminum or wood. When it comes to choosing a material, base your decision on your needs.

Aluminum, plastic and fiberglass. The low cost of these materials makes them popular with consumers. Plus, solid patio covers made from these lightweight materials are easy to install and maintain. Fiberglass and plastic are durable but can split or break with time, especially in areas that receive a lot of snowfall. On the other hand, aluminum is less likely to split, break, splinter or rot. Insulated aluminum covers, or two pieces of aluminum that sandwich a piece of foam, provide extra protection from heat. Aluminum, plastic and fiberglass come in a variety of colors so you can match them to your home.

Wood. Wood has the advantages of strength, a natural look and design versatility. Although they are harder to install, wood patio covers are available for all different budgets. If you want an outdoor living space with complete, year-round overhead protection from Mother Nature, consider installing a solid patio cover made of wood beams or slats. For a more airy feel, install a pergola-like cover on which vines such as Japanese wisteria can grow overhead and create natural protection from the sun.

Patio Cover Design Ideas

When it comes to deciding on a design, it’s important to choose a look you will be pleased with for years to come. The best design is one that fits the style of your home and provides the utility you desire.

Here are a few simple patio themes you can use for your own home without the need to hire a decorator:

  • Outdoor oasis. Create a luxurious look by hanging weatherproof curtains around the sides of your patio. Install a standing rock-wall water fountain, bamboo reeds and patio furniture with big, fluffy cushions to help complete the look.
  • Western theme. Create a modern Western look on your patio by hanging flameless lanterns from the patio cover’s posts. Add a wooden outdoor dining set, outdoor speakers and a weatherproof sectional that faces a fire pit.
  • Wine country. Escape to wine country whenever you please. Place lattice at each post of your patio cover and plant grapes at the base. Allow the vines to grow up the lattice and over the beams of the cover. Install outdoor lighting at the corners of your patio and use outdoor furniture made of wrought iron to bring the look of an outdoor winery to your home.

Investing in a patio cover will give you a new space to enjoy at home with family and friends for years to come.

~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2010

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