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Backyard Patio Ideas: 100+ Tricks That Take Your Yard From Drab to Fab

A beautiful space is wasted if you can’t enjoy it. Adding an attractive cover to your backyard patio can be a smart investment to ensure you, your family, and your guests can enjoy the space no matter what the elements have in store. No one wants to sit in the scorching sun, so anything that creates shades is a win when it comes to patio design. What’s more, a shady spot is what makes relaxing truly possible. Just like you have a reading nook indoors, why not create a little alfresco nook. Constructing or adding a structure that boosts the shade factor will also protect furniture as the sun’s rays often bleach out wood and disintegrate plastics. Plus, no one wants to sit in a hot tub under the hot sun.

Designers know this, of course, and have shade solutions for any budget and space—from expansive overhangs to shade sails to whimsical outdoor umbrellas that would make Slim Aarons jealous. Adding a gazebo, domed ceiling, wood timbers, or prefab cover are other ideas that stretch the imagination. For a more Old World feel, choose a pergola, a lattice, or a trellis to create a structure for cascading plants—like Wisteria, grape vines, or climbing roses—to take hold.

Covered patios afford homeowners the opportunity to play around with materials and textures. Bamboo structures give your space a tropical vibe, but if you add touches of black paint, then you’ve got a modern spin. Affixing outdoor fabric and draperies can help an area feel more enclosed and secluded, thus creating an outdoor extension of your indoor living space. Some designers even use outdoor fabric on the ceiling to create an almost palatial aesthetic. This design can also provide protection from natural elements like rain and wind, which means you won’t have to rush inside when a few drops fall upon your soiree.

A covered patio can often provide a surface on which to affix creature comforts like a ceiling fan. Fans are also a great way to keep pesky bugs, like mosquitos and flies, away. The hum of the fan’s white noise can drown out disturbances like traffic, lawn mowers, and loud neighbors. A covered patio often allows for a greater variety of lighting options. Most designers agree that good lighting is essential for any space. Opting for lighting that doesn’t require wiring makes it renter-friendly, and it’s not something that should be overlooked outdoors. Use the patio cover as an opportunity to try something dramatic like a chandelier or a series of pendant lamps that can act as a focal point. Simple string lights add a bit of whimsy and a touch of festivities.

Covered areas help protect outdoor furniture like couches, chairs, coffee tables, and other pieces in your siting area from rain and other natural elements—and in turn, mold and mildew. This allows you to add nicer seating options, and gives you the opportunity to scout out the best outdoor furniture stores and shop for accessories that complement the backyard landscaping.

For those looking to save on makeover expenses, look no further than large outdoor umbrellas. They are a budget-friendly solution that doesn’t require a big investment, and actually give you more flexibility since these patio covers are portable. From a design perspective, you’ve got plenty of outdoor umbrella options that fit every style—fringe, tassels, canvas, even outdoor-proof lace—to dress up your patio space. Plus, unlike interior design, when you’re brainstorming for covered patio design ideas, the sky is literally the limit. So dream big.

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