Patio cover designs allow you to create that all-season enclosed patio area where one can entertain or relax all year round.
It does not matter if you are starting from scratch or if you are enclosing an existing patio, there are many options available to you.
And like I have stressed many times before, the best way to start is to plan what you want to achieve. Do lots of research and look at as many options and examples as possible. Then decide how much separation you need from the outside environment.
Once you have decided how you want to finalise your patio cover design, you must decide on the materials to use.
While always keeping an eye on your budget, remember that the ultimate is to always choose the right material for what you want to achieve.
The materials must be designed for weathering the elements and it must be hardy, with a long life-span and low maintenance.
If you choose the wrong materials at this stage, it will become very costly in the long run.....and if you are really careless, it may cause damage to other parts of your home too.
Remember that when I say "enclosed patio" it does not mean that all four walls will be bricked up. These days there are so many different options available to you.
Depending on what your requirements are, I would always consider to have at least one brick wall. It gives a strong foundation to the rest of the structure and it gives you the option to use that for a "build-in-braai" (barbecue for the rest of the world) or the basis for an outdoor kitchen.
When you enclose your patio, you need to have at least one wall that can be opened and closed completely, so that you have that indoor/outdoor living space, while protecting yourself and your family from the environment when required.
If you look at the photo below, you will see that Bernice, a very good friend of mine, fitted these wonderful aluminium, adjustable louvre shutters to her patio.
Although it does not offer the same level of insulation from the elements as a stacking glass door would, it still act as an excellent barrier against the Cape Town wind and rain, while also giving you the option of complete privacy if and when required.
Shutters are becoming very popular here in South Africa as the aluminium is extremely durable in our harsh environment and it has the added advantage of a great aesthetic alternative to other materials.
Apart from only the aesthetic value, it is an extremely secure option. Unfortunately here in South Africa we always have to keep security and the safety of our families in mind when doing any home alterations and improvements.
Although it is perfect for creating an all-season patio area, closing off your patio will shelter you from the elements, as well as the sun if you don't design and plan your patio lay-out well. This may require that you think about heating options during the colder months of they year.
Enclosing your patio does not only add tremendous value to your home, it also turns that under-utilised summer area into a part of your living space - all year round.