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Palapa Patio Cover

Designing with thatch roof structures

A video transcript featuring Scott Cohen, The Green Scene

The one thing that's so important in a hot backyard like this is shade, and the clients here wanted to make sure they had plenty of shade in this hot, hot California backyard. What we did is we created an 18- by 22-foot pavilion in the shape of a palapa, which is a tropical look. Sometimes that's accomplished with Mexican palm thatch. In this case, though, we used African reed. It's a little heavier-duty. It gives us a beefier look, and it can handle the wind and the sun and the rain a little bit better than the standard palapas that are made from palm tree fronds.

Patio cover placement
This patio cover is large enough to accommodate the family so they can entertain in this outdoor living area. There is a TV set so they can catch the latest sports, and it provides a little bit of shade for that bar in the outdoor kitchen area. When you're placing your outdoor shade covers in a backyard, keep in mind where the sun travels throughout the day. Just because it's placed in one particular location doesn't mean it's going to provide shade there all day long. As the sun sets, it can sometimes go right underneath the patio cover and ruin the evening plans. So take that into account when you lay out not just your shade covers, but also the trees that you place in the property.