Patio Awnings and Canopies
If putting up a garden building isn't a possibility where you live, have you considered putting up a patio awning or canopy?
Garden Building not an Option?For many people there aren't the funds for a garden building, conservatory or extension at the back of the house. Or perhaps the house is rented, so it doesn't make sense investing your hard earned cash in it.
If that's the case there is a way that you can make more use of the garden without having to put a whole garden building on the side of your house, and that's to put up a patio awning or canopy. One of the confusing things about choosing one is that there's no common terminology, so an item that one company calls a canopy could be called an awning by another.
Canopies and AwningsStill, what we're thinking of is the type of canopy or awning that retracts into the wall. If you are renting a property this will only leave a few screw holes in the wall above the patio doors, which can easily be filled and disguised. The simplest mechanisms have the canopy rolling up into a cassette that fixes to the wall, a bit like a roller blind on its side.
Others, often referred to as 'dutch' canopies, fold up concertina-style, a bit like a pram hood. These need the sides supported too, so will leave more holes in the wall if you have to remove them.
Automatic or Manual?The cassette type are easier to automate if you fancy an easier life. Awnings aren’t that hard to move in and out, most of them have a winding ratchet mechanism. But this can get hard to operate so an automatic one, with an electric motor to do the winding for you, might be a good option. This does of course mean that you will have to get an electric supply to the canopy mechanism as well.
The most luxurious option is to have a fully automatic awning. These are motorised but also linked to a light sensor. The canopy will then retract and extend as the sun moves around the garden, giving you automatic shade when you need it. Some top of the range models can even change angle as the sun moves around the house.
Placement of Canopies and AwningsThis brings us neatly to the placement of canopies or awnings, although there may be little choice. If you have a patio at the back of the house, right next to the patio doors, then it doesn't really make any sense to put a canopy anywhere else.
But if that isn't the case, and you have a number of places where you can place an awning, then the key is to watch where the sun goes throughout the day and throughout the year.