dji 0129 1570560756

Ah, a gorgeous patio just beckoning you and your family outside… so you invite some friends and throw an impromptu party. But just before dinner, there’s a cloudburst that ruins your plans. Has that ever happened to you? Let’s face it, we live in PA. Recent summers have been both hot AND wet, and that often affects our plans to entertain outside!

What’s the solution? Besides moving to California? A covered patio can solve many of these issues, but what’s the best way to cover it? Here are several options, from least to most effective!

#1. Temporary shade structures

Temporary shade structures, such as shade sails, retractable awnings, or oversized umbrellas, provide a quick solution for shade. Sails and umbrellas do not typically cover the entire patio and are best used for shade only. Retractable awnings cover more of the patio. However, they are best attached to a two-story house, as a single story often doesn’t have enough height for the awning to be at a comfortable height above your guests.

hardscape patio in downingtown

#2. Pergolas

Patio with Pergolas can have a huge visual impact. From modern, simple lines to oversized rough timber construction, outdoor pergolas are available in many styles! While wood may be the most popular, they are also available in PVC and aluminum. They provide some shade from the overhead structure, and latticework may be added to create even more shade. Pergolas also offer some creative lighting opportunities. Consider adding up/down lights on the post, or a string of café lights to add the perfect ambiance. Pergolas don’t, however, offer any protection from the rain! You can add a retractable canopy to most pergolas; this allows you the best of both worlds! You can extend the canopy on a hot or rainy day, but retract it if you want to enjoy the sunshine! People also complete their concrete patio with pergolas to add a space to relax and unwind throughout the day.

patio fire pit with pavilion

#3. Pavilions

Outdoor pavilionsshare many characteristics of pergolas. The same styles, colors, and materials are also available in pavilions. However, backyard pavilions offer a solid roof. These provide a more permanent, effective solution for both shade and rain! If you’re dreaming of an outdoor kitchen, this is the perfect location.

Beyond protection from inclement weather, pavilions also extend the season you can use the patio. Consider adding a fireplace or an infrared heater, and you might find yourself on the patio for Thanksgiving instead of the house! Patios with Pavilions also provide an ideal location for amenities like entertainment systems.

What are factors to consider?

pavilion pergola foundation

#1. Foundations are critical for pergolas and pavilions. It’s a lot easier to build them at the same time as a new patio. However, it is possible to install one over an existing patio. It requires removing a section of the patio, excavating to frost level, and pouring footings for each post.

adobestock 250671781

#2. Plan the size carefully. What furniture do you want there? How will you use it? Do you want a kitchen? If so, plan for the extra space that will be required for appliances and work areas.

#3. Think about all the utilities that you may need to run. This may require electric (light up your outdoor structure), gas, cable, water, and drain. Plan where these utilities will be located so they can be hidden.

#4. Don’t forget the permit! Outdoor structures typically require at least a zoning permit, and depending on local codes you may need multiple inspections while building your pergola or pavilion.

side view of the pavilion in new holland pa

Finally, you may enjoy your new and improved backyard patio with a pergola or pavilion. Invite family or friends over for some memorable times beneath the beautiful outdoor structure. Check out our featured project of an outdoor patio with a pavilion that was done in New Holland, PA!