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This patio cover was built directly off the backdoor.

A patio cover is a backyard shade structure that is attached to your home. Typically two posts or columns support the outer portion of a patio cover. The roof of a patio cover may be open or solid depending on what level of protection you require.

Where should I build my patio cover?

A patio cover should be built right off the house in an area in need of protection from sun or rain. Most homeowners elect to locate a patio cover right off their back door so that it serves as an extension of their living space. Consult a landscape professional for information on locating a cover for the maximum amount of shade. Common places for patio covers include over a patio, dining area, built-in grill or outdoor fireplace.

How big should my patio cover be?

Patio Cover Selection Tips
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See an open patio cover built with 4x4-inch lattice work that provides shade without trapping in heat.

The size of a patio cover is dependent on the size of the area you wish to protect or shade. If building a patio cover to accommodate dining or other patio furniture make sure the posts are spaced wide enough for people to easily walk around the furniture.

The height of a patio cover can range from eight to twelve feet tall. Keep in mind that the taller a cover is the less protection from the elements it provides. Additionally, the lower a patio cover is the more cramped it will feel. Check with a landscape architect or patio cover installer to decide on a height that is proportionate to the desired length and width.

How do I decide between an open and solid roof patio cover?

Open and solid patio covers provide different levels of protection. An open, or lattice roof allows light to filter through, creating a partially shaded area. A solid roof will block all light and rain or snow. Typically solid patio covers are made of aluminum. However, you may have a solid patio cover roofed with shingles to match your house.

Learn about the difference between open and solid patio covers and get help deciding which type is right for your needs in the video at right.

What if I want a patio cover that is freestanding?

Shade structures that are not attached to a building are commonly referred to as pergolas. Read this article to learn more about pergola design. Related Reading:

Landscaping Network

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