Window awnings – sometimes called canopies – are a great way to provide privacy and shade. In most places, awnings are designed to protect you from harsh sunlight. But here in the UK, they serve the double purpose of keeping the rain off your windows and walls.
Garden awnings might hang off the edge of the house. Or they may drape over pergolas and fencing posts to create an abattoir (or maybe a carport). Some awnings are sturdy enough to hold off sleet and snow. So let’s look at a few top models and find the best garden awnings.
The Best Garden Awnings on UK Market 2021
1. Costway Retractable Awning
Basket awnings have grids underneath, forming an umbrella-like framework that holds up the fabric. But those are largely commercial so you’ll generally see them at shopfronts ad restaurants. Costway has modified the concept for home use, replacing the ‘spokes’ with a pair of retractable frames arranged into triangles. A vertical hand crank hangs within reach.
As you turn the 160cm crank, the frames fold flat towards the wall, allowing the canopy to collapse out of view. The retractable arms are powder-coated aluminium while the drapery fabric is weatherproof polyester that can survive sunshine and rain. The powder-coat is white to protect it from rust and UV damage. The fabric has a premium 300g/m thread count.
This system doesn’t need any electricals or smart connectors so you can mount it yourself. The directions a clear and it takes two hours at most. The awning comes with a pre-set slope but those factory settings are best for sunlight. In case of rain or snow, you’ll need to lower the slope to 14° making this adjustment it’s not as effortless as the instructions suggest.
Looking for a quick weekend project? This Costway awning comes with anchors and wall brackets. You can install it in a few hours and enjoy years of garden shade so check it out.
- The awning covers 2m by 3.5m.
- It’s operated using a vertical hand crank.
- The fabric is held up by a tough aluminium frame.
- You may have to reposition the angle of the canopy … and it’s not easy to do.
2. Green Bay Retractable Awning (Our Top Pick)
Around the world (or at least online), the UK is known for rain and Chicago is known for wind. So while a Green Bay awning would suffer in the windy city, it can comfortably withstand out 133 days of rain. This awning comes in four sizes and eight colours. So whether you’re into wine-red or striped-yellow, you can find a shade you like, pun intended.
The awning has a vertical crank that hands 160cm from the top of the canopy. The handle and bend are insulated for easy use and firm grip. When you turn the crank, the awning shifts along its aluminium rollers. These rollers are larger than competing products – each one has a diameter of 60mm. They’re paired with extra-long sturdy steel torsion bars.
The steel bars measure 35mm by 35mm by 1.2mm. They support a large swathe of polyester fabric coated in polyurethane. This PU film keeps the awning flexible so it doesn’t rip in harsh weather. The coating also helps your awning resist moisture and essential feature for outdoor fixtures in the UK. The whole set-up has GS and TUV certification.
This awning is pretty, functionally sound, and high-quality. The fabric is 300g/m2 and the gearbox has a cover plate for safety and aesthetics. You can unhook the crank for storage.
- You can pick from 8 colours to match your decorative theme.
- The awning comes with a durable torsion bar.
- The hand crank keeps your awning green.
- It’s great for sunshine and rain but not so much for wind.
3. Waltons Manual Garden Awning
If you were born in the 80s or earlier, the word ‘cassette’ means something entirely different. It’s a thing you slip in a tape deck to play music. Or a VCR to play videos. But in this case, ‘cassette’ refers to the sliding mechanism on this awning. It slides out to open and when you close it, the fabric tucks completely into its pelmet. Only the casing is visible when closed.
This casing is a powder-coated metal cylinder, so this is the perfect awning for low-fuss homes. It maintains your minimalist look and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention. The case also avoids offering a perch for birds, snowfall, or hyperactive pets and pests. You can install this awning as a solo project – everything comes ready to mount and you don’t need tools.
The fabric cover is coated to keep it rain-proof and sun-proof. It’s 280g/m2 aluminium with UV50 protection. And it’s manual so when you want to close (or open it), you’ll need to hook the crank into the oval hoop on the side. When it’s closed, the metal end-plate clicks into place with no exposed seams or fabric so it gives your temporary balcony a neat façade.
This awning is virtually invisible when it’s closed so it’s ideal for homes that prefer subtle shading, pun intended. And you can mount it yourself. Always keep the crank in a safe spot.
- It’s a fully retractable cassette awning.
- The awning comes with a 2-year warranty.
- It measures 3.5m by 2.5m.
- It doesn’t come with a valance, which some home-owners prefer.
4. Yaheetech Window Awning
The best garden awnings are DIY-jobs. You don’t want to have to pay a professional installer – that’s just extra fuss and cost. Plus, if it has to be mounted by hired hands, you may need to call them back for adjustments. Or even for opening and closing the canopy. That’s an added cost for every visit. And this metal-looking awning is something any resident can install.
That said, double-check your toolbox before you buy the canopy. It’s a curved, plastic piece that looks clean, and contemporary. But your regular screw gun won’t hack it. You need something with a motor strong enough to push through. The awning is on the smaller side – 120cm by 76cm. But it’s modular so you can link several pieces for more coverage.
You can use this canopy as a solid piece for maximum shade. Or you can remove the protective film and keep the awning transparent. This can be helpful on gloomy days because you can rest from the rain without blocking off that minimal natural light. The awning has a gentle curve that guides away any rain, snow, or hail … but it’s not a retractable canopy.
Yaheetech is a pretty domed awning that bounces off hail and can withstand heavy snowfall. And you can connect more canopies in a lego-like fashion. The canopy is rust-proof.
- It’s made of tough curved plastic with aluminium bolts.
- You can adjust it to be see-through or opaque.
- It has a modular design so you can link multiple pieces.
- It’s marketed as a metallic canopy but the bulk of the canopy is heavy-duty plastic. Only the fastenings are aluminium.
5. Iropro Retractable Patio Awning
For the average make shopper, colour isn’t a key concern. But the madam (and the neighbours) will notice, so it’s good this one comes in three colours. Choose from grey, green, or wine-red, according to the adjacent décor. The awning comes in pieces so you’ll need basic assembly skills. You can probably find a tutorial on YouTube though.
One thing to look out for is the crank handle. It’s not a permanent part of the awning so it’s easy to lose it. Store that crank with care or you’ll soon be wrangling metal hangers for make-shift cranks. This awning has torsion bars made of steel. Its rollers are 60mm aluminium wheels. You can buy the fabric and steel in various sizes – this one measures 3m by 2.5m.
Unlike other models, the gears are exposed so be careful when handling the crank. The fabric is retractable and is protected against rain, snow, and UV damage. Its thread-count is 300gsm and it has a protective PU coat. But keep in mind this awning is intended for mounting on concrete walls. Brick, tile, or timber may be damaged by weight and the fittings.
Concrete may seem like a boring façade, but it’s the right one for this awning. Luckily, the awning has several colour choices so you can brighten the concrete … or paint it as needed.
- The canopy measures 3m by 2.5m.
- It has 300gsm fabric coated with polyurethane.
- You can order it in three colours.
- The awning is designed for concrete walls so it won’t mount on wooden surfaces, stone, or brick.
6. Primrose Garden Awning
It’s tempting to turn that random part of your patio into a barbeque nook. And it’s fairly easy to do. A canopy for shade, a portable grill or firepit, and you’re set. But if you plan on lighting things up, this is the best garden awning for your needs – it’s flame retardant. It can protect your space against other things though – sunshine, rain, light snow, and falling twigs.
The awning is suitable for schools, homes, and playgrounds. It’s 2m at its widest point is supported by an aluminium bar that’s 37mm by 29mm. The canopy also has 60mm aluminium rollers for smooth retraction. It has a protective coating that bounces off over 50UPF. And you can directly attach it ceilings as well as walls – the anchoring is strong.
This is because the aluminium arms easily clamp end-caps even without additional ceiling brackets. These arms are designed to let you tweak the slop of your awning. It can go from a near-horizontal 5° to a steep 35°. This awning is powder-coated to reduce static damage. The waterproof fabric is 300gsm. It has no torsion bar but the arm rods are flexible ellipticals.
If you’re looking for a garden awning with adjustable angles, bright cheerful colours, and superior UV protection, Kensington is a good choice. It’s reinforced with steel cables.
- It blocks up to 98% of UV damage.
- The canopy is approved and certified by ECM.
- You don’t need ceiling brackets.
- This fabric isn’t flameproof so keep it away from barbeque sessions …
7. Casart Retractable Canopy
At first glance, Casart doesn’t have any visual distinctions. But it’s among the best garden awnings for a reason – you can hang it halfway! Unlike other canopies that have to be all-in or all-out, this awning has a manual crank. So you can hang it halfway for tight spaces or extend it further to match the angle of the sun. The fabric used is 300gsm polyester.
This cloth is coated with polyurethane so it lasts longer and can survive up to 100 passes in the wash. The PU coating keeps the fabric flexible so it can handle the weight of heavy rain and snow. But like many canopies, it doesn’t do well with windy so be ready to pull it back when the gale-force kicks up. The awning has steel torsion bars and comes with fastenings.
Meaning the box has everything you need to assemble and install this shade. When fully unfurled, the awning measures 300cm by 250cm. The removable hand crank is 160cm long. The gears and fixings are covered by side flaps. This cover keeps dust and debris out while presenting a neat, clean surface. It’s a safety feature too since your fingers won’t catch.
This awning has a slanting range of 0° to 45°. Its aluminium support bar is 47mm by 35mm at the front while the torsion bar is 35mm by 35mm. The aluminium rods are 1.2mm thick.
- It has six colour selections, including stripes.
- The fabric is waterproof and coated with PU.
- The angle is pre-set at the factory.
- It’s susceptible to strong wind so you’d have to retract it on gale-ful days …
8. Tidyard Motorised Awning
Cassette canopies are stylish and convenient. They look great and they stay out of sight when you’re not using them. So you can instantly change the appearance and ambience of your garden with a simple flick of the canopy switch. This Tidyard awning is on the larger side – it measures 300cm by 400cm when it’s fully open. And it’s closing mechanism is motorised.
The fabric is polyester strengthen with a polyurethane coating. And the framework and supports are all made of tough but lightweight aluminium. This metal is powder-coated so it can fend off rust and moisture damage. The PU coating keeps your awning cleaner for longer because it repels both rainfall and dirt stains. And you can machine-wash it over 100 times.
When the canopy is retracted and the pelmet clicks shut, it only projects 1cm by 1cm by 1cm. So it’s immensely subtle and is good for conservative owners who don’t like showy garden shades. The boxy pelmet is motorised so this shade will affect your power bill. Install a manual override or a battery bypass in case of electrical issues. It comes with brackets.
For lovers of the minimalist look, the oblong box on this motorised awning is perfect. When the canopy is closed, you can barely spot its containment box, and that’s a huge plus.
- The retraction mechanism is automated.
- The pelmet box is a discreet 1 cm on all sides.
- This awning measures 3m by 4m.
- You may have a problem if the power goes out …
9. Garden Classics Wall Gazebo
Lots of awnings seem unable to handle harsh wind. So when you see the frames on the underside of this one, you may assume it’s more rigid. It’s not though. The frames provide extra support, but not enough for draught protection. Because this canopy isn’t retractable, you can’t fold it in when the air current picks up speed. Just something to be aware of.
That aside, it’s a pretty, permanent canopy that can turn any pavement into an indoor-outdoor space. The frames give your awning a pleasant curve and a distinct appearance. The canopy measures 2.5m by 2.5m. It comes with brackets to secure it to the wall. But it also has soleplate holes for poles. So you can use frontal floor rods for additional ground support.
Unlike other awnings that have a straight slope, this one uses spaced frames to create a higher arc at the back, allowing higher headroom. The fabric is polyester and the frames are powder-coated steel. It takes roughly two hours to assemble this awning. Secure the frames then use the attached Velcro tabs to hold the waterproof, sunproof fabric in position.
If your doors or windows open outwards, this awning works well. It’s 250cm tall at the wall and 178cm tall at the front. Support poles hold up the front so it doesn’t need a valance.
- It has supporting frames to hold it up permanently.
- The subtle beige colour matches a wide range of decorative themes.
- It’s higher at the wall so it can support out-facing doors.
- It’s not retractable.
10. Festnight Manual Awning
Brits are known for our conservative culture. We speak politely and avoid things that are loud and brash. (Except – of course – when it comes to beer and football … then all bets are off). So a canopy with bold stripes is likely to draw the wrong kind of attention from the neighbours. But if you enjoy loud colours (or if the porch is at the back) then you’re golden.
This retractable awning is the largest one we’ve seen so far. It’s 450cm wide and 300cm long. And it’s supported by steel frames so you can fold it halfway if you prefer. It’s a manual canopy so you do need to work the crank for adjustment. The fabric is treated polyester and it has a topcoat that resists fading and keeps those orange stripes bold and vibrant for years.
The polyurethane coating helps your canopy dodge damage by solar radiation or strong rain. It extends the lifespan of your fabric and it won’t come off in the wash. The canopy has a removable hand crank to adjust the height, width, and slope of your garden canopy. And the wavy valance over the fold is a nice aesthetic touch. It can hold up against light breezes.
This Festnight awning will raise your visibility and profile. So if your resident’s association prefers home décor to stay subtle, be sure to get your canopy colour pre-approved.
- It measures 3m by 4.5m.
- The polyester is water-resistant and anti-fading.
- It allows for partial retraction.
- The colour selection may put off certain buyers …
In a pinch, anything can serve as an awning. You can repurpose old sheets, heavy curtains, kitchen drapes, or even abandoned tents. But if you’re buying a designated awning, you want to be sure it’s worth the cash. So how can you identify the best garden awnings for your yard?
Open and Shut
There are two main ways to manage an awning – manually and automatically. Manual awnings might have a hand crank. You turn this lever to ‘open’ or ‘close’ the awning. If the awning is a large one, you can work up quite a pair of triceps and biceps. But you may end up leaving the awning up on days when you’re too tired to crank it. And that could be a problem.
Automated awnings are generally electric, pun intended. They’ll have built-in systems of cogs and cranks that are probably connected to a fuse box. Using a button, a wall switch, or even a remote controller, you can open and shut your awning effortlessly. But always have a trip mechanism or a manual override. They’ll provide a back-up in case the power goes out.
Where do you want your garden awning? Is it covering a single window, a balcony, or the entire front of the house? Which direction is it facing and how much area does it cover? An East-West awning needs to be carefully positioned. Otherwise, the moving sun and shifting shadows will make the canopy pointless. But for porches, you need a much larger fabric.
Awnings came in various sizes, so carefully measure the spot in the garden. Some shops let you cut the fabric according to your needs. In such cases, buy a little extra so you can correct any fitting mistakes. But if you just want a small awning that drapes over your wheelie bin enclosure, get something smaller and simpler. You may not even need a crank!
This shopping factor covers a lot of ground. Is your awning an extended roof or do you want to cover the sides as well? What about colour selections? It will mainly provide shade in the garden, but it needs to consider the colour scheme of your home. Specifically, your outer walls, pavements, and hardscaping. Darker colours retain heat – lighter ones reflect it.
Basket awnings are mostly used in shops, not homes. But even with regular sloping awnings, the angle of the incline matters. But the material of the awning is easily the most significant factor. Fabric is common, but you can find garden awnings made of wood, metal, reeds, or braided rope. The most popular metal for awnings is aluminium because it’s lightweight.
Shadows and Shade
We’ve done the leg work, and we think you should buy a Green Bay Retractable. Here’s why:
- It has steel frames and aluminium rollers.
- The maximum coverage is 3.5m by 2.5m.
- This awning is approved and certified by GS and TUV.
- The fabric is water-resistant polyester.
- It’s a manual awning so it won’t affect your power bill.
- The frame is easy to work with so you can install it as a DIY project.
- You can order it in different colours including plain and striped options.
What awning option is currently draped over your garden? Show us photos in the comments!