Inexpensive Cheap Patio Cover Ideas: 11 Best DIY Methods

If you’ve got one, then you’ll know how the patio is easily one of the best parts of your home. These outdoor areas are ideal for relaxing and resting after a hard day.

Inexpensive Cheap Patio Cover Ideas: 11 Best DIY Methods

You can lounge on a patio couch, enjoy an al fresco family meal, have an evening drink, or simply watch the stars go by at night. 

With that being said, the fact that a patio is outdoors means that it’s subject to the unpredictable weather, and if you haven’t got a patio cover then you’re only going to be able to make use of your patio when it’s all sunny and dry.

So, you definitely need a patio cover. But aren’t they really expensive? Thankfully, they don’t have to be! 

In our useful guide below, we’ve got 11 DIY ideas for patio covers, and each of them are inexpensive and cheap. None of these ideas will break the bank, but they’ve all got their own stylish benefits and will make your patio usable all of the time. In a sense, that’s priceless!

Inexpensive Cheap Patio Cover Ideas: 11 Best DIY Methods

1. Veranda

Our first pick for a cheap patio cover is a veranda, which is guaranteed to keep your patio nice and dry whenever you’re struck by rain.

Better still, verandas are inherently stylish! It’ll easily add even more class to your patio, and you can make it from similar products so that it fits right in.

Put simply, a typical veranda is a roofed gallery or porch that is attached to the outside of your building.

Since you already have the patio in place, though, a veranda in this case is really just going to be the stylish roofed section, and that roof will extend across and around your entire patio. 

The veranda roof is held up with vertical beams, but you can also have a railing too if you want.

Admittedly, a veranda is going to be one of the more complex DIY jobs for covering your veranda, so you should only attempt it if you have construction experience.

If you don’t, it may be worth hiring somebody else to do it! This may not seem cheap, but it should still be cheaper than buying a patio cover yourself.

2. Pop Up Gazebo

This next patio cover idea is certainly a lot easier than the previous one! It requires very little effort, but will make such a difference to your patio experience, allowing you to use the patio whatever the weather.

Gazebos come in a few different varieties, but you might assume that they’re firmly fixed to the ground and immovable. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case!

This is because you can buy pop up gazebos, which can be easily packed up and moved around, then erected wherever you want.

Meanwhile, they should still have some form of feature (like guy ropes and stakes) to keep them safely set down and stable. 

How does it cover your gazebo, though? Simple! All you have to do is erect the pop up gazebo over your patio. Of course, you’ll need to first make sure that you buy a gazebo large enough to properly cover your size of patio!

3. Fabric Canopy

Another extremely cheap and easy way to cover your patio from the harsher weather, you can simply hang a fabric canopy over it! 

Also known as shade sails, these are essentially a triangular piece of fabric which extends stylishly over your patio. You can easily find these in stores, and they won’t cost much, so it’s a fantastically inexpensive way to cover your patio – and keep things looking cool.

However, you could always make your own fabric canopy too! If you have a sewing machine and experience using it, you’ll just need fabric, hooks, an electric drill, and some PVC piping.

To begin with, you sew a pocket along the fabric’s edge. The pocket is for the piping. Next, drill a hole at each end of your pipes, then slide the piping into the sewn fabric pocket. Finally, attach it to your wall by using hooks!

It’s a fairly simple DIY method, but you can still get a store-bought one cheaply if you wish to instead. 

4. Stone Roof

This next patio cover idea is going to take a lot more effort than the previous two, but it’s worth it! On top of that, this is a much more permanent option, so if you want a patio cover that’s going to be sticking around, then this is one of the best picks.

What is it? Well, it’s a stone roof that is constructed above your patio.

This gives it a slightly rustic look, and it will also make your patio seem more like an outside room than a mere patio. In addition to that, the stones are thick and sturdy, and they’ll undoubtedly keep you from getting wet.

Naturally, making such a cover will take time and effort, but you can do it reasonably cheaply if you have the DIY skills and get the materials yourself.

Unfortunately, though, a stone roof can admittedly cover up some of the light, making your patio darker than you might want.

5. Wooden Roof

Similarly, you could construct a wooden roof for your patio instead. This won’t be quite as difficult as making a stone covering for it, while still providing all the cover and shelter that you need from the harsher weather conditions. 

This is simply a roof constructed out of various wooden planks, and it’s a design that will look right at home with any wooden patios that’s full of planks already.

Naturally, this means that it’s also going to make your patio a little dark at times, like the stone roof. However, at least it’ll be dry and cozy!

It’s easy to make a wooden roof for your patio, so if you’ve got some DIY skills then you should be able to throw it together cheaply. Alternatively, you can pay someone to do it for you! It’ll still be cheaper than buying a fancy patio cover.

6. Pergola

Another great idea for a patio cover is a pergola. These are stylish outside structures that have support columns, all holding up a roofing grid made of rafters and beams. Basically, picture a lattice on top of four table legs! 

They look great and they’re simple, though there is one catch…Since they have a lattice design on top, these aren’t going to keep you too protected from the rain.

That is, unless you get one with a solid roof, in which case glass would be best – it lets you see the sky! 

Even better, you can dress your pergola in all kinds of stylish things that then make your patio an even more appealing and cozy place to spend time. For example, you can have curtains that you can draw for added privacy.

On top of that, you can hang fairy lights around the structure. You can even put climbing plants around the pergola, eventually surrounding it in lush plant life!

7. Prefab Patio Cover

This is the halfway option between making your own inexpensive patio cover and buying an expensive patio cover from a store.

If DIY isn’t your strong suit, or you don’t want to have to put a lot of time and thought into covering your patio properly, then you can get a prefab patio cover. 

Essentially, this is a patio cover that’s been pre-fabricated. In other words, it’s mostly made, it just needs to be assembled on site. 

You might think that these are going to be pretty expensive, but you can find plenty of stylish and cheap options if you look around properly.

However, it’s likely to still cost more than doing the work yourself with a DIY patio cover. With that being said, since you’re saving on DIY effort and time, it’s surely worth a little extra money! After all, they say time is money.

8. A Cover That’s Attached To Your Home

Another great idea for a patio cover is one that’s attached to your home. We’ve already touched on this idea with the veranda option, but it’s one that’s really helpful, and can save you a lot of money.

After all, plenty of patio covers rely solely on support beams and columns of their own. With a cover that’s attached to your home, it requires fewer support beams, and therefore it’s cheaper!

Of course, this will only work if your patio is attached to the side of your home already. If you’ve got an isolated patio in the middle of the garden, then you’re not going to have a house-like structure to attach the cover to. 

But if your patio is next to your home, then attaching your cover to the building is a great idea. In fact, many patio covers that you can buy will easily attach to your home with some bolts.

9. Aluminum Cover

Our next recommendation is for you to add a cover to your patio that’s made out of aluminum. Why? Well, there are a few benefits.

For one, using wood for your patio cover can actually end up costing you quite a bit, because wood prices are on the rise. As a result, you may not have the budget to have a wooden patio cover.

Thankfully, aluminum is a lot cheaper, making it an ideal material for patio covers – and one that still gives you the same great results.

On top of that, aluminum has its own great look and style. While wood admittedly looks great, especially when paired with a wooden patio, an aluminum patio cover has a uniquely stylish, sleek look. It’s smooth and has sheen to it, looking very neat and elegant.

Finally, aluminum is also easy to work with! It should be easy to DIY an aluminum patio cover, and it’ll be easier than working with lots of individual planks of wood too.

So, aluminum seems a pretty good option, wouldn’t you agree? Stylish, sleek, cheap, and easy. Perfect!

10. Translucent Patio Cover

So far in our list, we’ve had two different ends of the spectrum. Some patio covers let in plenty of light, while others keep it out a bit and shroud your patio in darkness. But what if you could have a patio cover that was somewhere in the middle?

That’s where a translucent patio cover comes in, where the roof part is made of translucent material. Translucent is the term for something that lets light in, but not detailed shapes, instead giving you a view that’s semi-transparent.

It’s great for patio covers, because it bathes them in enough light and protects you from rain, while also giving you UV protection against the sun.

There are a few materials you can use for your translucent patio cover roof, but polycarbonate is a good pick. It lets enough light through for you to enjoy your patio, while not making it dazzlingly bright.

11. Big Umbrella

Our final pick for inexpensive patio covers is a bit different from the rest…it’s a big umbrella! Obviously, we’re not talking about the kind that you would bring with you out in the rain, we’re talking something like a parasol that’s large, weighted down, and can easily cover a wide area like a patio. 

On top of that, large umbrellas or parasols are pretty stylish. Rather than having an intricate structure erected over your patio, with various beams and a roof, an umbrella keeps things simple and minimalist.

The large umbrella stretches above you almost like the fabric canopy shapes we looked at earlier, and the only part of it is the pole holding it up. Oh, and a weighted base so that it won’t fall over or blow away!

Even better, an umbrella can be moved around with (albeit with a little effort!) With other patio covers, you may not be able to move them, but you should be able to relocate the umbrella if you need to.

Admittedly, the key downside is that people with massive patios are likely not going to be able to find a large umbrella that can cover it all.

Instead, umbrellas are best for covering small areas of the patio – or small patios themselves. Additionally, you’ll also need to adjust its position throughout the day as the sun moves.

Final Thoughts

Having a patio cover is essential, because it allows you to enjoy your patio even in the rain. However, getting a patio cover doesn’t have to be expensive! There are loads of stylish and cheap options available, and we’ve covered them all in our helpful guide. 

John Whitford
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