Covered deck ideas: 10 ways to add shade and shelter

A garden deck is the perfect way to create a designated space in your garden for lounging and al fresco dining, as our round up of decking ideas demonstrates. Your garden decking idea deserves more than just fair-weather use, which is where adding a covered deck idea comes into play.

Covered deck ideas creates an indoor-outdoor zone that can be used for more than just one season, in fact, many of the covered decking ideas we’ve shared below can be used year-round, even in the chilliest of winter months.

‘Aside from adding an aesthetical benefit to your space, deck coverings have a lot of wider benefits too,’ explains B&Q Category Planner Jeremy Fishlock. ‘A covering can protect you from the ultraviolet rays which cause damage to the skin; since you have shade, you can relax on your deck without being directly exposed to the sun. The deck’s cover will also protect you from other factors, such as leaves, pollen, and dust, which can easily dirty and damage your outdoor furniture.’

‘Chairs and tables will also always be dry, so you can use them any time you want, far more often throughout the year. Finally, adding a covered roof to your decking allows you to add other elements to your space, such as electricals like lights and heaters, meaning you can extend the usage of your outdoor space beyond the summer months.’

Covered deck ideas

Before deciding on the covering for your decking, ‘it’s important to consider what you want to use your outdoor space for,’ says Jeremy. ‘Are you trying to spend more time outside all year round? Do you need more space to entertain guests? Or do you need a convenient solution that can meet all of your needs throughout the summer months?’.

‘If flexibility is what you’re looking for, a parasol is more than enough to get you through the summer months, allowing you to bask in the sun, but also protect you from the spells of rain when needed. However, if you’re after a space that you can use all year round, it might be worth considering a pergola or patio cover made from aluminium and wood, which are more permanent and built with durable materials, allowing you to spend time outside, even when the weather starts to turn.’

From parasols and shade sails to pergolas and plastic roofing, here are 10 covered decking ideas to suit all tastes and budgets.

1. Keep it simple with a pergola

grey painted pergola with lights and potted plant on table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

The creme de la creme of covered deck ideas might just be the humble pergola. Easy to install and incredibly chic, a pergola is the perfect addition to your garden, providing partial shade and somewhere to hang lights and plants from for an outdoor sanctuary you’ll never want to leave.

Add plenty of colour-coordinated soft furnishings – including an outdoor rug – for a stylish living space that’s the perfect setting for summer entertaining.

2. Protect against the elements with a roof

space outdoors with wooden dining table and grass

(Image credit: Homebase)

We all know how unpredictable the British weather can be, but when it’s summertime you want to be outdoors come rain or shine! Make it possible and protect yourself from surprise downpours with a see-through polycarbonate roof, like the Palram Olympia Patio Cover in this image.
The transparent design lets in plenty of light, and you’ll be able to use your decking whatever the weather.

Buy now: Palram Canopia Olympia Patio Cover, £1740, Homebase (opens in new tab)

3. Extend your living space outdoors

living space outdoors with wooden table and bench

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Hiscock)

Installing a pergola right outside your backdoor creates a seamless indoor-outdoor living space that’s perfect for entertaining. The pergola will help to keep off some off the sun’s glare and add vertical interest to the space, and over time you can grow foliage overhead for extra shade and vineyard vibes.

4. Go glam with an igloo

cuckooland garden igloo

Garden Igloo 360 Dome with PVC Weatherproof Cover, £999

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

If you don’t feel like committing to a permanent structure, a garden igloo is the perfect temporary covered decking solution. We’ve seen these popping up everywhere over the past few years – especially outside of bars and restaurants and in pub gardens – and they’re an ideal way to add extra indoor space to your home.

Use yours for al fresco dining, as a yoga studio at the bottom of your garden, as a playhouse, a greenhouse – the opportunities are virtually endless! Glam it up with chic furniture, cushions and throws, and you’ll be relaxing in a haven of tranquillity in no time.

5. Build a getaway at the bottom of the garden

house with garden area

Garden House Design; Maluwi design from £9500

(Image credit: TBC)

For something much more permanent, consider adding an entire room complete with an extended roof to your decking. This bottom-of-the-garden setup would be perfect for a home office, a gym or even a sauna! The extended roof creates an extra outdoor living space, complete with lighting for a sleek and stylish space that can be used long after the sun has set.

6. Add partial coverage for light relief

sitting arrangement with chair and lighting

(Image credit: Future plc/ Douglas Gibb)

A covered decking doesn’t have to mean full coverage. If you like to be in direct sunlight most of the time, adding partial coverage could be the ideal solution, creating a dedicated area for those that prefer to be a little more sheltered.

Before you install your cover, track the movement of the sun throughout the day to identify the best spot on your decking for it.

7. Keep the rain at bay with a solid roof

garden with light and trees candles on table

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

For alfresco dining whatever the weather, consider a fully covered outdoor dining area. You and your guests can enjoy views of the garden while listening to the soothing pitter patter of rain overhead, without the fear of getting soggy!

Hang festoon lighting overhead for ambience and add potted plants for a seamless indoor-outdoor feel.

8. Add a chic parasol for a simple covered decking idea

simple covered decking idea with umbrella

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘For less permanent, and more convenient, options, simply adding a parasol can be enough to provide cover and protection, especially in those summer months,’ says Jeremy.

If floorspace and/or budget are limited, then look no further than a chic parasol. It’s a simple yet effective way to add shade to your garden on a sunny day, and this muted parasol with fringing adds a relaxed, boho feel to the space. Add neutral-hued cushions for an inviting area that’s the perfect place for curling up with a good book.

9. Set sail with a simple canopy cover

garden trees with decking and table and chairs

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

For a bohemian-inspired covered deck idea, simply string up a simple sail between two sturdy trees, walls or fence posts. The canopy will provide a garden shade idea and create a feeling of lightness and freshness as it catches the summer breeze.

Follow the shade by move your table and chairs around underneath, surround yourself with luscious outdoor plants, and pick a bunch of fresh flowers from your garden for a table centrepiece.

10. Establish a shaded area using foliage

garden area with blue chairs and trees

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Scarboro)

For total shade and shelter from the sun and natural elements establish a full coverage with an easy climbing plant idea to create a canopy of natural foliage. Use a hardy wooden trellis to provide a framework to support your chosen climbing plants.

How much does it cost to build a covered deck?

The cost of covered decking depends on the type of cover you go for. Simple parasols can cost anywhere from £20-£500 depending on size, material and design. The average cost of a wooden pergola is £2,500 (according to Checkatrade (opens in new tab)), however this can vary considerably, from around £400 to £6,000. You could consider building your own to keep costs down!

Larger, more permanent structures will understandably cost more, and the price will depend on the size, design, materials and if you want to include any mod-cons like lighting or heating.

Is a covered deck worth it?

Yes! Not only does a covered deck add a beautiful visual feature to your garden, it provides lots of practical benefits too. It’ll give you shade from the midday sun and shelter from the rain, it’ll create a designated space for lounging, dining and entertaining, and it’ll allow you to enjoy your garden decking for more hours of the day and more months of the year – especially if you add heaters!

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