If you are in the process of redesigning the landscaping around your home, consider installing an awning. Besides providing a colorful and sophisticated look to your garden, awnings serve many practical purposes. Retractable awnings allow you to choose how much sun coverage you want. Also, when your awning is open, you will naturally cool your home and reduce the use of your air conditioner by 25 percent [source: Bell]. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to design a patio with an awning.
- Find the perfect place Most likely you will want to install an awning near your outdoor dining area. That will allow you to eat in the shade on hot, sunny days. However, before purchasing the awning, make sure you have enough room to install it. Retractable awnings must open downward, so you must ensure that you can mount the awning at least 7 ½ feet (2.3 meters) high. As well, you must ensure that you have enough unobstructed space on your house's wall or roof to properly mount the awning. Depending on the model you buy, awnings usually need up to 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of open space for correct installation [source: Romano].
- Manual versus automatic Once you establish that you have the space to install an awning, consider whether you want to purchase a manual or automatic one. Manual awnings are opened by turning a crank or rod while automatic ones open with the push of a button. Automatic models are more convenient and easier to use, but they are also more expensive and in the event of a power outage, you may be caught in the blistering sun [source: Romano].
- Choosing a fabric design Lastly, it's important to decide whether you want your awning to be a colorful focal point of your patio or an unobtrusive and unnoticeable feature. This decision will greatly influence your choice of awning fabrics. Remember to consider the overall look of your garden and patio, as well as the architecture of your home [source: BHG].