In this guide we’ll take a look at the best garden awnings for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, size, ease-of-use and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Garden Awning?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Stylish and practical, perfect for summer meals outside!
This Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning is very hardwearing. It goes up smoothly and will reliably protect you from both UV rays and heavy UK showers. The angle can be adjusted so you can customise the shade cover and it’s available in a range of stylish colours.
Things to Know Before Buying a Garden Awning
Garden awnings are extremely versatile and practical additions to the garden.
I’m sure we can all remember a time when we were having a lovely afternoon on the patio, but eventually had to retreat to the house either because the sun was too scorching or a shower struck.
Sometimes in the UK summer it’s easy just to give up on sitting outdoors, finding it tedious to be constantly moving between indoors and out due to the weather. But, with an awning, you can feel confident that you’ll be protected from the rain and sun when necessary, and able to relax outside for hours.
There are a few things to look out for when choosing the best garden awning for your situation, so here are a few pointers to help you make an informed decision:
Considering that the majority of awnings will attach to the side of your house, the width of the awning you buy may depend on the space you have available.
Of course, when you’re trying to buy the best garden awning, you’re going to want to try to get the most shade possible from it. So, the best thing to do is measure the space you have available and work out how big an awning you can attach. That said, you will want to leave some clearance on either side, so leave space between the awning and the corner of the house/light fittings/windows etc.
Similarly, the projection of the awning – how much it extends outwards – will dictate how much shade is available to sit under. Depending on the direction of your garden, and how the sun crosses it, you may be able have a smaller awning or you might want a larger one.
Equally, if you’ve got a smaller patio, you may which to choose a smaller awning just so that the space isn’t overpowered by it. Bear in mind though, you don’t have to fully extend your awning every time you use it.
We know that the conditions in the great outdoors can be a little wearing, so an awning needs to be strong and durable.
Awnings with a torsion bar, like the Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning and the WALTONS EST. 1878 Manual Awning are going to be stronger than those without. This bar becomes the backbone of the awning and absorbs movement and tension.
If your awning has a full cassette, meaning it is completely covered when it is retracted, it is going to be better protected from the elements when not in use. A half cassette will protect the awning from dust and light rain, but you will want to take it down when the weather turns because it won’t be very well protected.
You can also help improve the durability of your awning by retracting it when the weather gets too windy. If a newspaper cannot be left on the table unweighted, it is generally considered too windy to have the awning out. If you leave the awning out in windy weather, it’s unlikely to last as long.
A final point to improve the durability of your awning: retract your awning when no-one is under it. You may think that it will be fine left up for a couple of hours unattended, but if the wind suddenly picks up and it is not taken in, you’re asking for damage which could have been avoided.
Awnings come in a range of colours so you can decide what’s the most suitable for your garden.
Patterned and striped awnings are a bit ‘jazzier’ than plain coloured ones, so if you have a very traditional garden you may decide that a solid colour is a better way to go.
Dark awnings will hold heat more than light coloured ones. This is unlikely to be a big issue, but is good to bear in mind if you think it might get too warm under your awning if it is dark coloured.
Awnings are primarily for providing shade. As a result, you want to look for one which provides UV protection. A UPF rating of 50+ will mean that your awning will be able to block around 98% of the sun’s UV rays.
If your awning doesn’t have UV protection, you might be surprised to find that you can get burnt through the canopy fabric, despite thinking you’re in the shade. Ideally you should look for UPF 50+ and then you will have peace of mind.
Try to look for an awning with waterproof canopy fabric. Although awnings shouldn’t be used in really heavy showers (large puddles forming on the awning will likely damage it), they can generally protect you from some rain. Knowing our UK summers, it’s always a good idea to have this protection so that you don’t worry about it; buy an awning which states it is waterproof.
Having the awning at a 14-degree angle will help water run off the canopy and avoid puddles forming. This is good to bear in mind if it does start to rain.
Everything We Recommend
More Detailed Garden Awning Reviews
Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Garden Awning Review
The Greenbay DIY Patio Retractable Manual Awning is the best garden awning if you are looking for a quality product that works smoothly, does a great job and looks really stylish.
This garden canopy is well made with a steel square torsion bar and aluminium roller. This makes it more hardwearing than many awnings in this price range. The awning fabric is water and UV resistant and comes in a range of designs to suit your garden.
This large awning has a width of 3 metres and a projection of 2.5 metres from the wall. The angle of the awning can be adjusted for a steeper or shallower slope. This item needs to be fitted to a solid wall. It is very heavy to lift and takes two people, with reasonable DIY skills, about an hour to fit.
Once installed this awning looks really stylish and provides plenty of shade on your patio. It also keeps the house cooler, even on blisteringly hot days. The winding mechanism is solid and smooth making this awning is easy to open and close.
This is great value for a stylish and sturdy awning.
WALTONS EST. 1878 Manual Garden Awning Outdoor Canopy Review
The WALTONS EST. 1878 Manual Awning is well built, sturdy and looks really stylish. It’s an excellent way to stay cool and/or dry outside in the UK summertime!
This awning has a full cassette meaning the casing will cover all of the awning when it is fully retracted. This helps to protect your awning in adverse weather. As a result, you can leave it up all year round.
The fabric is waterproof and is rated UV 50+; it will protect you from 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. It comes in four classic patterns and colourways that look stylish in any garden.
This awning is 3.5 m wide and comes out 2.5 m, so it’s plenty big enough to cover a patio sofa or table. You can adjust the angle easily depending on where the sun is, and its adjustable up to 35 degrees so you’ve got plenty of flexibility with it. The crank handle is easy to use, making winding the awning in and out very straightforward.
In terms of fitting, it’s not too difficult to attach; no problem for two people with reasonable DIY skills.
Once fitted this awning looks great, lasts a long time, and will protect you from both the sun and the rain.
Primrose 2m Manual Garden Awning Review
The Primrose 2m Manual Awning is a reasonably priced awning that will protect you from the elements and comes in a range of great colours.
The awning is 2 m wide and comes out to 1.5 m. While it is not as sturdy as higher-end models, having no torsion bar, it is still durable and well made with strong steel cables and a powder coated aluminium frame.
You can open the awning as little or as much as you choose, and the angle is also adjustable. As a result, you can change it several time throughout the afternoon depending on if you want more or less shade.
The awning is easy to extend and retract using the sturdy winder and handle.
Plus, if you’re worried about the weather ruining your time outdoors this summer, the canopy is waterproof and has a UPF of 50+ which blocks over 98% of harmful UV rays.
It will take around 45 minutes for two people to fit this awning.
As you can see, this is a stylish and practical awning which is a fraction of the price of many others. It doesn’t have quite the same robustness as some, but if you look after it well it will do a fantastic job for years to come.
Garden Classics Wall Gazebo Garden Awning 2.5 x 2.5 Review
The Garden Classics Wall Gazebo Garden Awning is the solution if you want to reap the benefits of awning shade without actually fitting an awning. We cater for everyone here!
This gazebo’s beautiful design means it is easily assembled and positioned without the need to fix it to your house. It can, however, be bolted to the house or ground if required for stability. Assembly takes less than two hours.
If you love the traditional look of wrought iron, this awning’s powder-coated steel frame has been designed to replicate it – but at a fraction of the weight! It’s a really stylish, classically coloured gazebo with a beige canopy that looks great in any garden – particularly a more traditional one where a modern awning might look out of place. The overall size is 2.44 m wide and it comes out to 2.43 m deep.
The arched design allows water to run off, and the fabric is PVC coated to make it water resistant – no need to worry about any sudden showers! The fabric is easily attached to the frame with Velcro tabs.
This is a stylish gazebo, specifically designed for use next to the house making it a great alternative to an awning. It looks great, especially in a more traditional garden, and offers excellent value for money.
Garden Awning FAQ
Yes, but keep a few things in mind – a retractable awning will protect against light rain. However, due to its retractable nature, the structure isn’t quite as strong as a static awning. As a result, you should avoid allowing rain (or even snow!) to pool on top of the awning. It will weigh down the canopy and put too much pressure on the awning’s arms.
Patio awnings should be at least 230 cm from the ground. This is a good height to allow headroom under the canopy.
If you want to use your awning with a more severely angled valance, you may which to position the awning higher on the wall. This is to ensure that the extended edge of the canopy is still high enough to allow people to walk under it.
No. You should have help fitting a garden awning and fit it with at least two people. Firstly, the structure is heavy to manage alone, secondly, it’s impossible to fit it to the wall with one person.