What is a Patio Canopy?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A patio canopy is a covering which is designed to extend over a patio, providing shade in a hot climate, or protection from rain and the elements. There are a number of different styles of patio canopy which can go with an assortment of decorating styles. Home supply stores and hardware stores are a good resource for patio canopies, and it is also possible to order customized versions from companies which specialize in patio furnishing and accessories.

A patio canopy extends over the patio providing shade and/or protection from the elements.
A patio canopy extends over the patio providing shade and/or protection from the elements.

The simplest form of a patio canopy is simply a shade umbrella which can be mounted on a table or in a stand to offer some shade and protection from the elements. Shade umbrellas can also be closed up and removed, which can be very convenient in an environment where people might want a mixture of shelter and full exposure. Canvas is a classic material for a patio umbrella, and it may be weather treated so that it can endure rainy weather.

It is also possible to find roll-out shades which attach to a structure and clip into a pole. These shades can be pulled out when a patio canopy is desired, and retracted when one is not. Retractable shades come in a range of shapes and sizes, from thin slices which offer a wedge of shade, to canopies which can cover an entire patio. In winter weather, the shade can be tightly bundled away in a protective housing so that it will not be damaged.

Movable patio canopies mounted on poles are also available. These are useful for patios and terraces which are not directly adjacent to a house, and they can also be moved to provide shade on a patch of the lawn or in another area. Classically, the poles are mounted on sturdy bases, although they can also be sunk into the ground for a more permanent installation, with the canopy being removable so that it can be stored during storms and winter weather.

Fixed patio canopies which attach to frameworks which extend over a patio are yet another incarnation of the patio canopy. These are common at restaurants and cafes which offer outdoor seating, as movable or retractable canopies are at risk of being damaged or stolen, although they can also be installed in a home. This type of canopy provides shelter year round while allowing breezes to flow beneath it, and it may extend only partway over the patio so that people can sit in full exposure when they want to.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


@ocelot60- Home improvement and lawn and garden stores usually have good selections of patio umbrellas at inexpensive prices. Some models come with lawn furniture sets, and some models are sold separately.

The best time to shop for a patio umbrella is in very early spring before the season begins and in late summer when the season is almost over. These are the times that I have found the best lawn and garden sales in my area.


Where can you find a good deal on a patio umbrella? I think that this is the best type of canopy because it is so easy to remove when you don't need it.

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