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6 Best Patio Awning Ideas

Make your patio more fun and functional by adding an awning. The protection and privacy make your patio everyone's favorite outdoor living space.

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awning over balcony window against blue skyronstik/Getty Images

What Is a Patio Awning?

A patio awning extends out over an outdoor living space to provide shade. Awnings ensure your cookout continues uninterrupted whether it’s hot or rainy. Plus, an awning can add privacy and prevent the sun from baking the inside of your house. Less heat from the sun means less work for your air conditioner, and lower energy bills.

When shopping for a patio awning, consider three things: its main function; your environment; and typical weather conditions. Awnings can be stationary or retractable. Retractable awnings are convenient because you don’t need to add a permanent structure to your home. Among retractable awnings, choose from manually operated, motorized or remote-controlled models.

Let’s look at patio awnings that provide shade and shelter while elevating your curb appeal and outdoor living spaces.

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red manual roll out patio awningRatchat/Getty Images

Retractable Patio Awning

If you’re looking for a little extra shade without adding a fixed structure to your home, try a roll-out patio awning (AKA retractable awning). They’re usually made of flexible materials such as canvas, cotton, polyester or vinyl that can be rolled up and stored.

These are mounted to a wall and extend over an outdoor living space to provide shade, shelter and privacy. Some roll-out awnings are manually operated with a hand crank, while others use a motor with a switch or remote. The advantage of manual operation? It doesn’t require electricity. Looking for a portable sunshade? Check out this Family Handyman approved Neso Sidelines 1, a light portable sunshade made of a water-resistant nylon and lycra fabric rated UPF 50+.

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Backyard Deck and PergolaRichLegg/Getty Images

Pergola Patio Awning

If you have a pergola over part of your patio, adding an awning will provide shade and privacy, unlike a standard pergola. Some pergola awnings are tied to the supports, while others are retractable, usually manually, using carabineers and a wire cable. Adding an awning to your existing pergola, or purchasing a pergola with an included awning, will make your patio even more usable.

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backyard patio with sun shade sailEirasophie/Getty Images

Sun Shade Patio Awning

If you’re looking for an affordable way to stay out of the sun, consider a sun shade awning. They are easy to install and low cost because of their simplicity.

Made from a mesh-like fabric that allows water to pass through, this thin, breathable awning features metal D-rings that can easily be hooked to existing or new support beams. This makes them a breeze to install and easy to take down if strong winds are expected. Extend a sun shade awning over your patio, pool, kid’s play area or driveway to make the outdoors more enjoyable.

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remote control awning on back of housePatryssia/Getty Images

Motorized Patio Awning

Transform your space with a motorized patio awning. Many come assembled, so all you do is install it on your wall, soffit or roof (or have a pro do it for you). These retract with the click of a remote.

These awnings are usually made with mold- and mildew-resistant acrylic fabric, plus strong commercial-grade aluminum or steel frames that can withstand wind. While these awnings are pricey, they make a space more usable, comfortable and luxurious.

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fixed patio awning on house patioU. J. Alexander/Getty Images

Fixed Patio Awning

If you like the idea of a rigid roof-like awning overhead, take a look at a solid, fixed patio awning. One with a clear polycarbonate roof panel, like the one shown here, provides UV protection while allowing 65 percent of the light to shine through.

This option is also designed for DIY installation. It’s backed by a 10-year limited warranty and U.S.-based customer support.

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portable pop up tent in backyardSerg_SSSR/Getty Images

Portable Patio Awning

A pop-up tent may not be what you picture when you think of a patio awning, but it offers many of the same benefits.

Unlike awnings that need to be mounted to a wall or fixed to a frame, a pop-up tent is easy to move and significantly less expensive. It provides shade and protection from rain or sun whether you’re taking on a family camping trip or tailgating with friends. This portable canopy sets up in seconds and collapses into a manageable roller bag that’s easy to take anywhere.

This type of awning is sturdy enough to leave up in your yard, much like a pricier fixed awning, but offers more flexibility and versatility.

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Mackenzie Edwards
In addition to her work with Family Handyman, Mackenzie is a contributing commerce writer for Bustle Digital Group's lifestyle sites. She also owns and operates a copywriting studio in Nashville, TN. Mackenzie is an avid DIYer, sharing her budget-friendly home improvement hacks with her growing social media and blog audience.