Patio cover ideas: 21 stylish ways to shelter a backyard seating space

Looking for stylish patio cover ideas? Our mix of pergolas, gazebos, parasols and more will have you inspired

modern patio cover with outdoor dining area and sofas underneath
(Image credit: SUNS Lifestyle)

The right patio cover ideas can provide all the shelter you need to enjoy your space come rain or shine. Plus, they're a simple way to transform a lacklustre stretch of paving into a chic and cozy zone. It's no surprise that we think they're a must-have for any of our patio ideas. And, as it turns out, there are tons of gorgeous designs to choose from. 

Patio covers also help us to make the most of our gardens, all year round. And, with their help, we can create intimate, sheltered spaces to spend quality time with those that matter the most. 'We are also more mindful of our mental wellbeing and there is a growing awareness of the health benefits of being outside,' says the team at SUNS Lifestyle. If we've got somewhere sheltered to retreat to, getting out in the fresh air is much more enticing, even in the colder or rainier months.

Patio cover ideas: 22 stylish looks for your space

If all the benefits of patio cover ideas sound tempting, then these looks are sure to inspire. From contemporary structures with adjustable roofs to hand-painted parasols and much more, you're bound to find the perfect style for your plot below.

1. Shelter an outdoor living space with an ultra-modern cover

modern fireplace on patio with pale pergola overhead

Bring pale hues and sleek lines into your patio cover ideas

(Image credit: Davide Lovati/Future)

This chic, adjustable pergola perfectly demonstrates how patio cover ideas can complete a scene. Connecting seamlessly to the feature wall, it provides all the shelter needed for the modern seating below. 

When combined with an outdoor fireplace, a cozy living room feel is created that will tempt everyone out of the house, no matter the weather. Opt for pale shades for your patio flooring and throughout the set-up for a restful tone.

Our pergola ideas feature is full of stunning designs if you want to discover more.

2. Hang plants and lighting from a patio pergola

summer patio scene with large pergola overhead

Pergolas are a wonderful choice for patio cover ideas

(Image credit: Future)

Giant pergolas are a great choice for larger gardens and families who love to entertain outdoors. This wooden design is certainly striking, but its ample height keeps the space feeling welcoming and airy.

Not only will a structure like this provide cool relief from the hot sun, but it will also come in handy for decorating your seating set-up. Here, hanging patio plants and a gold-toned pendant light offer extra visual interest to the vertical space, but you could also try festoon lights, or even bunting, to take your patio decor ideas to the next level. 

3. Protect a strip of patio with a neat awning

small awning along patio

This awning complements the house and provides a perfect slice of shelter

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Have you taken a look at our awning ideas yet? They're a great choice for patio covers if you want to offer just a bit of shelter close to the house. This makes it quick and easy to pop in and out for extra drinks or snacks when you're relaxing outdoors. Plus, awnings can also deter the sun from glaring through your windows if you're busy working inside.

There are lots of retractable options for maximum versatility, but more permanent structures have their place too. This style above works beautifully with the exterior of the house and, due to the central transparent panes, will keep the space feeling light and bright.

4. Adorn your sheltered zone with colorful accessories

patio cover ideas for white awning with colorful furniture and climbing plants

Add vibrant textiles and mix and match your furniture for a laid-back, summery look

(Image credit: Chris Everard/Future)

For the ultimate outdoor chill-out zone, treat your covered patio space like you would a room in your house. We're talking the best garden furniture, outdoor rugs, tactile textures, and bold patterns for a dose of summery fun.

This set-up provides a lovely indoor-outdoor feel, complete with lamps to bathe the scene in cozy patio lighting once night falls. Training the best climbing plants up your patio cover structure will soften the look and add a soothing touch of green. 

Meanwhile, a hammock strung up beneath the canopy offers a laid-back spot to while away an afternoon. Want to recreate the look? Our best hammock buying guide has lots of great styles.

5. Opt for something different for your patio cover

round patio shelter from Lime Lace

The Wheel Bench Garden Shelter from Lime Lace is a great choice if you're after patio cover ideas with a twist

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

Fancy something a little different for your patio cover ideas? This pressure-treated timber structure is ideal for providing a cozy patio space out of the rain. 

With its playful design, it complements the shape of the circular patio. It's bound to be a conversation point, however, the natural materials keep it cohesive with the rest of the patio landscaping. Set up against a fence, it offers an extra dose of privacy to your plot, too.

There's enough room for six, so it's the perfect spot for evening drinks or an alfresco breakfast with loved ones. Just add a few colorful cushions to up the comfy factor – it'll be your new favorite spot in no time.

6. Add a hanging chair for ultimate comfort

awning over raised patio with hanging chair

Stone steps lead to a relaxing summer scene

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson/Future)

Sturdy covers provide an opportunity for the must-have patio furniture idea of the season – a hanging chair. We love how this design complements the white-washed surroundings, rattan garden furniture, and wicker baskets, to curate a sophisticated yet relaxed vibe.

Plus, the panes of glass above will allow you to sit back and watch the clouds drift by, or the rain patter peacefully.

7. Brighten up a patio with a white parasol

white parasol over paving and white outdoor table and chairs

This modern space feels bright and welcoming

(Image credit: Nick Pope/Future)

A white-toned parasol adds the perfect finishing touch to this calm and contemporary scene. And, its clever design means the support won't block your view when you're catching up with friends alfresco, so it's ideal for small patio ideas.

Pair with pale walls, eye-catching furniture and sleek patio paving for a chic style.

8. Create a canopy of lights for a romantic look

gazebo with fairy lights from Lights4fun

A romantic set-up by Lights4Fun

(Image credit: Jake Seal/Lights4Fun)

Using fairy lights en masse is one of the easiest ways to up the ambience of a plot. They will add a romantic edge to any of your patio cover ideas – just take a look at how they elevate this rustic gazebo, for example. 

The combination of wooden beams and glowy lights results in an atmospheric canopy, providing a lovely spot for evening entertaining. You could opt for festoon lights too, for a more contemporary vibe. 

9. Go for a sleek look with an adjustable gazebo

modern black gazebo from SUNS Lifestyle

(Image credit: SUNS Lifestyle)

If you're after a sturdy shelter for your patio, check out these gorgeous designs. These gazebos from SUNS Lifestyle can be used for a multitude of purposes – for alfresco dining spaces, hot tub shelter ideas, or to create shaded areas for garden furniture, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor bars

'These functional and ready-to-use terrace-coverings require no planning permission or hefty construction and can be placed freestanding or as an overhang from your home or garden building,' explains the SUNS Lifestyle team. The flexible louvered roof allows you to enjoy the sunshine when open, and is rainproof when closed, with an innovative drainage system. Adjustable side cassettes are available too, as shown above, which are perfect if you like the idea of an enclosed patio for extra shelter and privacy.

'The finished effect creates a distinct and contemporary look, and an intimate and modern space that can be enjoyed beyond our homes,' they add. We couldn't agree more.

10. Add pattern and color for a boho vibe

bright yellow patterned parasol on patio

Embrace vibrant color with your patio cover ideas – these Augusta round bamboo parasols are from East London Parasol Company

(Image credit: East London Parasol Company)

Looking to brighten up a dull patch of paving? Then this patio umbrella idea could be the one for you. This show-stopping parasol brings tons of glamour and fun with its hand-painted design and opulent hues. We love the tassel details and beading, too.

Surround with billowing borders and add a colorful cushion or two for a vibrant scene with a bohemian vibe. 

11. Opt for retractable awning for versatility

retractable Cuba awning from Caribbean Blinds

Patio cover ideas can be super versatile to match your needs, just like this Cuba patio awning from Caribbean Blinds

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

'If your outside space requires a quick yet effective transformation, retractable patio covers guarantee instant shade and shelter,' says Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director of Caribbean Blinds UK

It's a perfect solution for providing cover when needed, meaning you can make the most of indoor-outdoor living throughout the seasons. 

Opt for neutral hues for an elegant look, or go for funky patterns or bold colors – whichever suits your style best.

12. Go for a prettily-painted corner arbor

mini arbor with bench and trellis painted in green

This corner arbor is painted in Parlyte green wood paint from Thorndown Paints

(Image credit: Thorndown Paints)

Are you a little short on space when it comes to your plot? Don't worry, this corner garden arbor idea is just the ticket for a simple but effective patio cover. Painted in a gentle yet refreshing green, it makes a lovely feature for a balcony, terrace or courtyard patio. 

The trellis detail offers all kinds of opportunity to get creative and make it your own. Why not train up some jasmine or roses to surround yourself in their gorgeous fragrance whilst you relax, or hang up lanterns for an atmospheric glow?

13. Surround your covered dining zone with foliage

pergola covered in foliage over outdoor dining table

Blend your patio cover ideas with plenty of greenery, like in this set-up from John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Get back to nature with a canopy of lush green foliage. It will add a soothing touch to any outdoor dining space, whilst providing natural shelter from the midday sun. Use sturdy structures such as columns and pergolas to support your plants of choice, then sit back and enjoy the leafy view.

If you're after a bit of extra pizzazz for your patio gardening ideas, you could learn how to grow wisteria around your patio cover ideas instead – its elegant trails of flowers are a spectacular sight for all. 

14. Use clean lines for a modern patio cover

modern black pergola in garden

(Image credit: Caribbean Blinds)

This award-winning louvred roof pergola offers an open-air alfresco feel when left fully open. However, if the weather takes a turn, the roof can be closed, offering a completely water-, wind- and even snow-tight cover, as Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director of Caribbean Blinds UK explains.

It's a fabulous way to create your very own slice of paradise right in your own backyard. Plus, its sleek appearance makes it a perfect addition to our modern garden ideas.

15. Shelter a corner sofa from the sun

Bridgman parasol over corner sofa

This Marlow Modular Sofa Set B and 3.5m Siesta cantilever almond parasol and base are both from Bridgman

(Image credit: BRIDGMAN)

Does your large outdoor sofa need shelter, but you don't want to opt for a permanent structure? Then go for one of the best garden parasols instead. This jumbo-sized adjustable one above adds a touch of luxury and a big dose of versatility, and will look chic in any plot. 

It's a timeless look that'll never go out of style – a wonderful accompaniment to rattan furniture.

16. Go for a modern mix of materials

garden house design modern build

Go for an elevated style for your patio cover ideas, like this Maluwi canopy by Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

If you've got the space and the budget and are looking to go big when it comes to your patio cover ideas, then check out this solution. 

The durable aluminium structure makes a bold impact, and is clad in water-resistant panels, making it a smart choice for your pool patio ideas too. And you don't need to worry about keeping things cozy – both heating and lighting can be added to the build. It's a brilliant way to create an outdoor 'room' that can be used as an extension to the house (or swimming pool) all year.

17. Light up the scene from your parasol

patio parasol cover with hanging lights

These solar pendant lights from Ella James add a pretty and practical feature to this parasol

(Image credit: Ella James)

If you're set on a parasol as your patio cover of choice, then this is an easy way to give it an extra lift come nightfall.

By hanging decorative pendants beneath it, you'll cast a gorgeous glow around your evening set-up. Plus, by opting for the best solar lights, you won't need to worry about extra wires, or finding a plug.

Add one or two of the best outdoor rugs and you'll have a cozy outdoor living space in no time.

18. Choose a shelter with slatted sides for maximum light

modern slatted gazebo with seating

(Image credit: SUNS Lifestyle)

We love the slatted side panels on this impressive patio cover. They allow a summer's breeze to gently circulate your seating area whilst looking super stylish.

Of course, they're great for adding a touch more privacy too. And, due to their nifty design, they can be removed easily from the rest of the structure when not required.

Looking for more ways to make your plot feel more private? Our garden privacy ideas have you covered.

19. Choose sturdy materials for a temporary cover

outdoor dining area underneath a gazebo with curtains

This Palram Palermo polycarbonate garden gazebo in grey is from Wickes

(Image credit: Wickes)

The best gazebos are the ones that allow you to bring your outdoor living space ideas to life, come rain or shine. Go for strong, durable materials to ensure the structure can withstand wind and rain during fall and winter, as well as provide plenty of shade in summer. 

If you want to leave it up all year, it's a good idea to look out for designs that come with sturdy ground anchors to keep it firmly fixed to the ground. After all, no one wants to see their gazebo take flight during windy weather.

We love the curtain details on this design – great for an extra boost of privacy.

20. Keep the chef dry with a mini gazebo

BBQ area underneath a small gazebo

This view features the Rowlinson Roma BBQ gazebo from Cuckooland

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

Adding a small gazebo to your patio is ideal for creating a sheltered area for your best BBQ. That way, even if there's an unexpected rain shower the head chef can stay dry. No one wants to huddle underneath an umbrella whilst trying to grill burgers!

Need somewhere for your snacks? Look out for designs with bar tables on each side to give you plenty of space to keep your sauces, food, and drinks close at hand.

21. Cover your dining set-up in style

gazebo attached to the house to create a sheltered dining spot

The Rowlinson canopy from Dobbies will keep your alfresco meals sheltered

(Image credit: Dobbies)

If you want to create sheltered outdoor dining ideas next to the house, choose a design that can be attached to the wall with secure fixings. With its elegant detailing, this sleek canopy would suit both modern and traditional homes. 

The whole structure is secured to the wall with fixing bolts and it's height adjustable, too. Meanwhile, the showerproof canopy is retractable, so you can pull it back to fully enjoy the sunshine during the summer months. 

The canopy can also be removed from the frame entirely, so you can store it away over winter if necessary. 

Which is the best patio cover for your plot? 

The best patio cover for your plot depends on a multitude of factors. These include the size and budget you have available, plus your own personal taste.

Large structures such as the one below make fabulous choices for bigger areas and create a permanent outdoor 'room' to be used whatever the weather. Of course, they're not really a viable option if you're searching for budget patio ideas, but they're made to last, and can transform how you use your garden.

However, a smaller solution such as a parasol has many benefits too. As the team at East London Parasol Company says, their designs are a low-commitment and minimal-effort solution, yet make a maximum style statement.

'You can be bold with a vast array of colors, which adds a pop of vibrancy to any outdoor space,' they add. 

adjustable pergola over paving

A gorgeous garden designed by Raine Garden Design

(Image credit: Ross Philips/Forest Eyes Photography)

What should you consider when choosing a fabric patio cover?

If you're opting for retractable option to cover your patio, London-based surveyor Frank Evans from Roché Systems has some advice on what to consider.

Colored or patterned designs tend to spring to mind when choosing a fabric patio cover, he says, but the type of material is equally important.

Our covers are made from a treated polyester fabric which is much stronger and more environmentally friendly than some alternatives, he says. The main difference with our fabrics is the nano coating applied during manufacturing, Frank continues. This helps to create a self-cleaning effect which helps it retain its appearance.

Frank also suggests to consider how much brightness you want for your space, as thinner weaves can allow more light through, whereas others are much thicker and block out light.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

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. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day.