3 Expert Tips To Choose An Outdoor Canopy

An outdoor canopy is a perfect solution to unpredictable weather! It lets you continue using your outdoor space without fear of getting soaked by the rain or burnt by the sun, making it a great, universal investment for your home.

There are quite a lot of outdoor canopy options available on the market, so check out these expert tips to help you pick out your perfect canopy.

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1. What types of outdoor canopy are there?

The most important decision you'll have to make when choosing an outdoor canopy is the exact type you'll be purchasing. This mainly depends on your individual needs, as well as the climate you live in, and the amount of outdoor space you have.

Want something easily portable? Pop-up canopy

  • Pop-up canopies can come in the form of a simple canopy roof or a more structured tent, but both serve the same purpose of being easily portable and moveable.

  • They're very cheap, which does mean the materials may not be as durable, but they can be replaced very quickly.

  • These canopies are very popular amongst families with children, as they provide a unique play area for the children that can be set up at any moment.

  • However, pop-up canopies don't come in a huge range of sizes - they tend to be on the smaller side, as larger canopies are harder to transport.

  • Also, they're not super resistant to rain and are usually only recommended for sun protection.

Metal Pop-Up Canopy
Steel Pop-Up Canopy in Navy Blue
Steel Pop-up Canopy in Brown
Metal Pop-Up Canopy in Navy
Steel Pop-Up Canopy in Beige
Classic Metal Pop-Up Canopy in White

Planning a large gathering? Party tent

  • As the name suggests, party tents are perfect for larger gatherings and special occasions.

  • They're usually quite large, either in diameter or in length, in order to accommodate larger groups of people.

  • You can find both rain and sun resistant tents that are designed to keep the party going regardless of the weather conditions.

  • Unfortunately, these canopies can get very expensive, especially if they're specifically marketed as party tents - sellers assume that someone organizing a party that requires a tent will be willing to spend lots of money.

  • Also, the majority of these tents are quite time-consuming to set up and they're not designed to be portable, so you may have to pay extra for a team to come help you set things up.

Metal Party Tent in White
Steel Party Tent Canopy in Pink
Steel Party Tent in Navy Blue
Steel Party Tent in White
Steel Party Tent Canopy in White
Wedding Steel Party Tent in White

Want something very sophisticated? Pergola with canopy

  • Pergolas usually consist of an intricate lattice framework, made from wood or metal, with some sort of roof or canopy over the top.

  • They are a permanent garden feature that can provide you with protection from the sun and light rain, without being too confining - most pergolas have relatively open sides, allowing good air circulation and creating the impression of a larger space.

  • Getting a pergola for your garden can be a bit of an investment, as even the cheapest materials will be much more expensive than pop up tents or even gazebos.

  • Also, some people may simply not like the combination of wood or metal with a fabric canopy.

Want something permanent, yet affordable? Gazebo

  • While similar in concept to pergolas, gazebos are a much more affordable and practical option.

  • They offer great protection from the sun, wind, and rain due to their enclosed design, yet still allow you to open up the sides and create a bigger entertainment space if needed.

  • Gazebos aren't easily portable, so they're better off as a permanent feature of your garden.

  • However, you need to make sure your gazebo is installed properly - stronger winds might knock it over or damage it.

Steel Patio Gazebo Canopy in Cream
Large Steel Gazebo in Beige and Brown
Outdoor Patio Gazebo Steel Canopy
Garden Party Steel Patio Gazebo Canopy in Green
Metal Patio Gazebo in Nutmeg
Elegant Cream Steel Patio Gazebo

Looking to protect your car? Car canopy

  • Car canopies are a great alternative to having a garage - higher quality car canopies offer great protection from all of the elements.

  • They are often suspended between two walls or between a fence and a wall to create a dedicated, enclosed space for your vehicle.

  • Their design focuses mostly on practicality rather than looks, so you won't have much luck finding colorful or patterned car canopies.

  • Unfortunately, even if you buy a super high-quality car canopy, there is no 100% guarantee that it will survive intense rain or winds, so keep your local climate in mind.

2. What material should I choose for my outdoor canopy?

The material you choose for your outdoor canopy will dictate exactly what weather conditions it will be able to withstand. Cheaper materials will obviously be less durable and may only really serve a cosmetic purpose, while more expensive materials will be specially designed to resist the elements.

  • Polyester canopies are the most common. They are relatively durable and water resistant, with higher denier polyester offering much more protection than lower denier polyester. Keep in mind, this material isn't completely waterproof, so it's not recommended for individuals living in areas experiencing high rainfall. Also, the UV protection provided by polyester is pretty minimal, unless it's treated with a special UV protection solution.

  • Polyethylene canopies are like an improved version of polyester. They're specially treated to offer substantial UV and rain protection, making them a popular choice for car canopies and permanent features likes gazebos or pergolas. However, this increased resistance does make it quite a bit more expensive than other, less durable options.

  • Vinyl canopies are the most resistant on the market. Not only are they UV resistant and completely waterproof, but they are also usually flame retardant - while we don't expect you to be accidentally setting fire to your outdoor canopy anytime soon, it's a reassuring fact. However, all of this means that vinyl canopies are the most expensive on the market, and the fabric is often very heavy due to being so durable.

Vinyl and Metal Mosquito Net Canopy
Polyester Steel Party Tent Canopy in White
Water Resistant Party Tent in White
Garage Canopy in Grey
Steel Pop-Up Canopy in Navy
Modern Aluminum Pop-up Canopy

3. What features should my outdoor canopy have?

Now, you could definitely get by without some of these features, but they will make your life much easier. This is especially true if you live in an area with an unpredictable climate, as you won't have to worry about your canopy getting unnecessarily damaged.

  • Having a water-resistant canopy is a must, unless you live in an area that doesn't experience any rainfall. This will protect you whenever the weather is being unpredictable and will prevent light rainfall from ruining your outdoor time.

  • Getting a canopy that doesn't require any foundation will save you a lot of money in the long run. While it may seem like a canopy with no foundation may be more prone to damage, which may cost you a lot of money, it will allow you to be flexible with your canopy placement. It will also let you replace or change out your canopy very easily, as you won't have to lay down a new foundation each time.

  • Choosing an enclosed canopy will mostly come down to personal preference. However, it is a great choice if you live in a relatively windy area - the enclosed sides will keep the wind out, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor time without interruptions.

  • A double roof may seem a bit unnecessary, but it can really help improve rain and sun protection. It's a great alternative to using more expensive materials, as it's often cheaper to just double up.

  • Bug screens are a must, regardless of where you live. Whether it's flies, mosquitoes, or any other bug, you're definitely going you want to keep them out of your canopied area. Bug screens allow you to do that without forcing you to keep the canopy enclosed at all times.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.