Some types of covers are really best built with the patio. This is true, for example, of thatched roofs. It would be tough to add one to an existing patio. That does not mean, however, that you can't add a patio cover to an existing patio. Here are three types of patio covers that you can add later.
Retractable awnings tend to be one of the most affordable and easy-to-install types of patio covers. You can mount the awning to the side of your home. There will usually be some type of crank you turn to stretch the awning out over the patio or to retract it again. Some retractable awnings are motorized and may even coordinate with your smartphone. You can open an app and control your awning from inside your home, or even while you're at work. The only downside to retractable awnings is that the canvas and plastic they are usually made from are not as durable as some other materials. The awning may tear in a big storm or high winds if you don't retract it before bad weather rolls in.
A pergola is a sturdy, free-standing structure that you can have built to stretch over your patio. Most pergolas have four legs and a flat, roof-like, top structure. The rooftop area is often made from metal, but you will see some pergolas made from wood.
Pergolas cost significantly more than retractable awnings, especially since many of them need to be custom-built. However, they are very sturdy, made to stand up to wind and other weather, and a good source of shade since they're usually wider than the patio itself. A good pergola can make your patio usable even when it's raining.
If you have a smaller patio or you only need to cover part of it, then you may want to invest in a patio umbrella. These large umbrellas can mount to a large table or to the floor. They provide shade and shelter from gentle rain showers. However, you will need to take the umbrella down if a big storm rolls in as you don't want it to be torn by high winds. Patio umbrellas do need to be cleaned and washed periodically since they are made from soft materials.
If your patio is uncovered, but you want a cover, you do have options. Pick the best type of cover for you based on your budget and preferences. For more information, contact a patio cover supplier.