Awning ideas: 11 retractable covers for patios, decks and outdoor spaces

Shade your space in style with these eye-catching awning ideas – from monochrome looks to pretty pastel stripes

awning ideas: white awning over patio from Caribbean Blinds
(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

Awning ideas are one of our favorite ways to provide shelter in the garden. Not only do they add instant style, but they're also super versatile – more so than many other patio cover ideas

This is because they can be retracted when needed, allowing you to control how much sun your patio or deck gets. That means, you can enjoy an alfresco meal in the cool shade, then wind back the cover to soak up the warm rays.

Sounds like something you'd like in your plot? We've brought together some gorgeous designs to suit every outdoor space for you to peruse. From pretty, pastel-striped awning ideas to sleek monochrome looks and even portable designs, you're bound to find a style you love. Keep scrolling to get inspired.

1. Go modern with monochrome

awning ideas: tiered garden with cover

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

All awnings make brilliant alternatives to pergola ideas, and are more versatile too. But if you've embraced a contemporary theme for your garden, then you'll want your awning ideas to match. So how about a sleek, monochrome version such as this?

The ample, cream-colored shade with black edging ties in beautifully with the surrounding details and exterior of the home. Meanwhile, clean lines mirror the hard landscaping nearby, such as the stone steps and edging.

What's more, the pared-back design allows the eye to be drawn to the nearby foliage, which adds a refreshing green pop to the scene. And when the sun goes in, it can be easily retracted, to let more light into the space.

2. Add a holiday vibe with pastel stripes

awning ideas: mediterranean patio styling

Add a touch of the Med to your patio space, complete with colorful awning ideas

(Image credit: Jake Curtis/Future)

Love our ideas for Mediterranean gardens? Then try opting for a little more color when it comes to your awning.

This pastel number adds a vintage vibe in its soft hues and striped pattern. However, when paired with terracotta walls, vivid cushions and playful furniture, the look feels totally on-trend. For the perfect finishing touch, add a potted citrus tree or two – you'll feel like you're in sunnier climes before you know it.

3. Double up the look

awning ideas: white awning on modern patio from Caribbean Blinds

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

A chic white design is perfect for modern garden ideas, and this is a lovely example.

Reflecting the hot midday sun, it provides a cool retreat with a luxurious feel. Here, its design helps to bring the whole plot together, as it complements the pale-hued paving, window sills, and nearby rose beautifully.

Double up the look to provide shelter across a wide space. That way, you can also keep things versatile and please both the sun-worshippers and the shade-lovers.

4. Shelter a sleek decking space

awning ideas: cover over decking on modern plot

Up the cozy factor with awning ideas

(Image credit: Westend61/Getty Images)

Decking ideas can be transformed with the help of stylish awning ideas. Great for creating a more intimate atmosphere, they'll shelter you from the sun's harmful rays as well as any unexpected spells of drizzle. 

This set-up above is given a cozy, indoor-outdoor feel thanks to the modern duo of awnings overhead. And good garden lighting is a great way to add drama to a scene – this illuminated central gravel garden makes a fabulous focal point.

5. Add charm to a doorway

awning ideas: cottage style garden with traditional awning

Create a shaded seating spot for your porch – awning from Caribbean Blinds

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

Even your favorite cottage garden ideas can benefit from an awning or two. 

A pretty striped number is great for covering a small porch area. In doing so, it will create a lovely shaded zone for sitting out with an impromptu cuppa and taking in the view of your garden. Invest in a foldable bistro set or chair for extra versatility points.

We particularly like how this example above provides a structural contrast against the clambering foliage and climbing wisteria nearby. It brings a sense of balance to the scene, as well as tons of charm.

6. Try a playful edge

awning ideas: yellow striped awning over patio

Sunny yellow brings a big dose of positivity to this scene

(Image credit: Dan Duchars/Future)

A scalloped edge is a simple design trick that instantly makes awning ideas feel playful. Combined with a yellow and white stripe, this look positively glows with cheer and is the perfect match for a summery patio scene.

Pair with bright accessories such as hot pink cushions or patterned outdoor rugs, and you can't go wrong with a set of rattan outdoor furniture (it's all the rage right now). Or, if you can't get enough of the vibrant hues, take a look at our colorful garden furniture ideas for lots more stunning designs.

7. Use awning ideas across levels

awning ideas: tiered awning in modern garden

A triple dose of awning feels smart and chic in this space

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images)

Have you been perusing our tiered garden ideas? Then why not bring some awning ideas into the mix?

For a pulled-together look across your levels, opt for a consistent design. A neutral palette of white and pale grey will add to the sophisticated vibe. And think about the details too – here, the awning's black edging complements the railings nearby.

A show-stopping modern sculpture, neatly-clipped evergreens, and a pair of the best sun loungers will finish the scene perfectly.

8. Shelter a balcony in style

awning ideas: small cover over balcony

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

If you've been looking for balcony ideas, then you might be pleased to know that awnings make great additions.

A small one like this adds a chic yet pared-back feature. What's more, it will provide extra privacy too, giving your space a more exclusive feel.

And don't forget, not only do awnings provide shade outdoors, but they will also keep indoors cool. So, they're great if you want to enjoy the view of your plot but don't want to be distracted by the sun's heat or glare whilst relaxing or working.

9. Try a portable option

awning ideas: portable awning on patio

Try a foldaway design for a less permanent solution

(Image credit: Tim Young/Future)

Maybe you love the sound of awning ideas but aren't sure if you're 100% ready to invest. Or, perhaps you rent your property, so fixing an awning to the exterior is a no-go. Well, a versatile design like this might be the perfect solution for your plot. 

A red, white, and green color scheme will give it a seaside feel that will jolly up even the drabbest of spaces. As well as providing shade, it'll double up as a wind break, too. And, if you're positioning it near your outdoor kitchen ideas, it can also be used as a nifty place to hang tea towels and aprons, just like in this example.

Look for collapsible designs which can be popped away indoors when the weather turns – they'll work well in small gardens too, where space is at a premium.

Looking for more suggestions? Head over to our garden screening ideas feature.

10. Provide extra privacy

awning ideas: town house with covered patio

Shelter your space from prying eyes with awning ideas – this one is from Caribbean Blinds

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

We've already mentioned how awning ideas are great for making a balcony more exclusive, but that goes for larger spaces as well. And this is a great feature, as for many of us, our neighbors are close by – especially when it comes to terraced or semi-detached builds.

So to shelter your patio space from the sun, the rain, and prying eyes from windows overhead, an awning is a simple solution. This green-hued design ties in well with the leafy surroundings, giving the raised seating area a soothing feel.

We've got plenty more garden privacy ideas in our feature, so head on over and take a look.

11. Go for supported designs

awning ideas: large neutral awning over patio with supports

Try supported awning ideas for larger spaces

(Image credit: Rosmarie Wirz/Moment/Getty Images)

To cover large, deep spaces, an awning can be combined with a support. This look is more reminiscent of a pergola, but one side will still be attached to the house, and you can close and open it to suit your needs.

A neutral canvas keeps the space feeling light and airy, whilst elegant metal details go together perfectly with a timeless garden dining set. Sturdy and supportive, it makes a great addition to a paved space, and you could also train a few climbers up the sides if you want to soften the look.

Fancy something a bit different? Learn how to build a pergola if you've got some DIY skills up your sleeve.

Do you need planning permission for an awning?

awning ideas: view from inside house looking out onto patio

You can can benefit from the shade of awning ideas from indoors as well as out

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images)

'In the majority of cases, planning permission is not required for patio awnings as they are not a permanent structure (like an extension),' says Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director of Caribbean Blinds. Therefore, they are generally considered a 'permitted development'.

'However, if you live in a conservation, green belt or area of outstanding natural beauty, you will most likely need to obtain permission,' Stuart continues. 'It is always recommended to contact your local planning authority (as the rules can vary) to check whether permission is required.' 

In the UK, you can also have a look on the planning portal website

If you're wondering about shed planning permission too, take a look at our guide.

How much clearance is needed for a retractable awning?

awning ideas: striped design on side of house

Awning ideas are a stylish and practical feature for the exterior of a home

(Image credit: Jon Lovette/Stone/Getty Images)

'The mounting height of a patio awning is determined by the required leadrail (walk under) height when the awning is fully extended, and the pitch (angle) the awning is required at,' explains Stuart Dantzic of Caribbean Blinds. 

'The optimum pitch for an awning is 14 degrees in order for it to be used in rain showers, but also because at this pitch awnings visually look correct – not too steep or not too shallow.'

'Based on a typical 3m projection (depth) awning, with a leadrail height of 2m when extended, this would mean the awning is mounted at 2.75m on the facade (from ground to underside of cassette),' Stuart continues.

'Obstructions and limitations on the facade such as protruding pipes, Juliet balconies and single-storey buildings will also impact the mounting position, meaning it is not always possible to obtain a 14-degree pitch.'

What angle should an awning be?

'The pitch (angle) of a patio awning is set at manufacture/installation and can be as little as 0 degrees (completely horizontal) and up to as much as 45 degrees (dependent on model),' explains Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director of Caribbean Blinds. 

'The pitch is determined by the leadrail (walk under) height when the awning is fully extended and the mounting height of the awning on the facade. The higher the mounting height and lower the leadrail height, the steeper the angle, subsequently offering greater sun protection to both the area beneath the awning and adjoining internal room when the sun is overhead.' 

'To guarantee rainwater runoff, patio awnings must be set at a pitch of 14 degrees or more,' he adds. This means that awning ideas set at this angle can be used during rain showers without water collecting and pooling on the material.

Looking for more versatile covers for your plot? Take a look at our best garden parasols buying guide.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.