Your patio should be the signature piece of your entire backyard. Not only does it provide outdoor entertaining space, but it also provides a fascinating contrast to your lawn and gardens, and provides a subtle transition from the inside world to the outside. However, as every Calgary resident knows, the summer months can be brutal; day after day of high temperatures and strong sunshine can make it hard to truly make full use of your patio. At this point, you need to be considering some sort of covering for your patio, but it can be hard to know what route to take.
The first option you have is to buy a patio umbrella. This is a simple standalone piece of patio furniture that looks like a regular umbrella just on a massive scale. There are plenty of pros for getting a patio umbrella:
- They are retractable – not every summer is scorching hot, and having the ability to pick and choose if you want shade that day is a reason why many people choose patio umbrellas. Many designs also allow you to rotate and twist the shade so that you have a great amount of flexibility over the sun protection.
- They are cheap – most patio umbrellas fit into the lower end of any home improvement project’s budget. As with any type of patio furniture, you can spend any amount of money that you want, and the usual rule of getting what you pay for holds. You need to be careful not to go too cheap, however, as you’ll find the quality of the material loses its protective qualities.
- They are portable – finally, patio umbrellas can be moved wherever you like. Even if you have to fill base bags full of sand to weigh them down, you can always reposition the umbrella or even take it out into the garden for special events.
The other option for sun protection is to buy a patio cover. A patio cover is a permanent structure that sits over your entire patio and has a solid roof. They can either be free standing or attach to the external wall of your house. Some of the benefits of a patio cover include:
- Total protection – unlike patio umbrellas, a patio cover gives you full coverage from sun, wind and rain all season long. They’ll also help keep the snow off your patio during winter, which as every Calgary homeowner knows is a great saving when it comes to your spring clean off. Your patio is subject to ice wedging and erosion just like any other stone surface, so getting a patio cover allows you to provide year round protection.
- Longer lasting – you can expect the roof on a patio cover to last for many years as it will be made from plastic, vinyl or metal, as opposed to the fabric of a patio umbrella.
- They add value – installing a patio cover effectively turns your patio into another room in your house, which will instantly add value if you ever try to sell up. By paying attention to the materials used for the posts and beams, you can transform the outside area of your house to give it a truly luxurious feel.
Patio Cover Choices
It’s clear to see that for most Calgary homeowners, there’s much more to be gained from installing a patio cover than purchasing a patio umbrella for the season. As you start to plan your patio cover adventure, there are some key choices that you’ll need to think about:
- Attached or supported – the biggest decision that you’ll need to make is whether to choose a supported patio cover or one that attaches to your home. A supported patio cover stretches out from your home with the weight being shared out across supportive beams. Not only does this take the weight off the external wall of your home, but it also helps to define your outdoor space with corner posts for your outside room. An attached patio cover is one that is securely fastened to the external wall of your home and extends out as far as you want it. There are no posts to install onto your patio, and you get a much more flexible feel to your newly shaded patio area.
- Materials – the next decision that you’ll be asked to think about by our experts here at Desert Sun Patios is what you want your patio cover to be made out of. The most common material for supported structures is wood, and this can lend a classic style to your patio area, especially if you choose an open lattice style that will feel more like a pergola than a patio cover. For attached patio covers, your support structures will likely be made from aluminium as it’s lightweight but also strong. You’ll then choose whether you want an aluminium covering, which again will be lightweight, but a little weaker if you get a lot of snow and ice falling from your roof, or acrylic, which is even lighter, but the corrugated design gives it extra strength. Your choice will be based on your budget and your aesthetic preferences, and our team of experts will work with you to make the best materials choice for your project.
- Hybrid options – finally, here at Desert Sun Patios, we have a range of hybrid patio cover options. These designs mesh together a fully closed patio cover with a series of beams that create a lattice structure. The benefits of choosing a hybrid patio cover option include a greater control over where the shade and sunlight falls on your patio area, as well as being able to set up distinct areas if you want to use your patio for both eating and relaxing. A great hybrid option is to put a full patio cover over the area where you want your dining table to be to protect your food and drinks, and choose a lattice cover over your seating area to keep the air circulating.