If you view your outdoor dining area as an extension of your house you can create inspiring spaces for summer entertaining, but what if you don’t have anywhere to escape from the sun, in this case an awning can be the most economical option.
I wouldn’t say I’ve neglected my outdoor dining space but it isn’t exactly working for our unpredictable summers, no overhead shelter from sun or light rain apart from an umbrella doesn’t work. However, looking ahead to summer, I’ve decided to invest some money on a retractable style canopy so I can entertain more. Ideally I would like a pergola with open and close shutters, however these can run into the 10’s of thousands so the most simplest option is a retractable awning.

The great thing about retractable awnings/canopies is that they can also prevent your indoor furniture from sun damage and fading to wood floors from our harsh Australasian sun. When you want the sun pouring in, such as winter, you can always retract the awning. Awnings also allow for a clear space beneath, there is no need for supporting posts which  makes it easier to place outdoor furniture. Below are some great ideas for outdoor entertaining from covered extensions to simple awnings..


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                      Image via Buchanan Photography
Image via:  Go Green Construction – A narrow alley is perfect for entertaining and this area has been given a somewhat Oriental touch
Image via: Breeze Giannasio Interiors  – This retractable awning also has sides that close for shelter from wind, making the area feel more like a room. The tiles co-ordinate with awning
Image via – If you can’t afford a more permanent structure, this is  simple way to add shade and atmosphere


As an economical option retractable shades can be versatile and smart, especially the striped ones if your home has some Hamptons or cottage appeal.