Whether it’s the cold in winter or the summer rains, it can be hard to plan to entertain outdoors all year round. However, we shouldn’t let a little cold or rain hold us back. Pergolas and awnings are a great way to still be able to enjoy your garden while the rain is falling or it’s cooler.

But first of all ‒ the difference between a pergola and an awning. We know these terms are often used interchangeably, but they are different. Both keep you protected, not only from the rain but also during hot summer days. An awning is attached to the house and can be permanent or temporary. Awnings provide a roof-like structure and can be retractable or fixed. A pergola on the other hand is a permanent structure that may or may not be attached to the house. A pergola is constructed using pillars and posts for support and can be covered or uncovered.

Let’s take a look at some great options for awnings and pergolas in the Inner West.

Retractable awnings

Retractable awnings give us the best of both worlds. They can be unfolded to provide cover on hot or rainy days, and retracted to allow you to soak up the warm winter sun. Homeowners can DIY with retractable awning kits, or they can have them installed professionally. As long as you choose an awning with a waterproof cover, you can make the most of the outdoors year round.

Remember, too ‒ in cooler weather, your awning can help to trap the heat from your barbecue, outdoor stove or outdoor heating.

Motorised awnings are a great option as they allow you to retract or set up your awning with the flick of a switch (perfect for when those first sprinkles of rain start to come through) while manual retractable awnings are good for those on a budget.

If you have a smart home, you can find retractable outdoor roof awnings that can be linked up to your smart home system.


Pergolas are a great option for those looking for a more permanent solution but you do need to be careful when it comes to buying them. There are two options when it comes to pergolas: covered and uncovered.

Uncovered pergolas in the Inner West are popular in gardens. These types of pergolas are often covered with deciduous plants such as bougainvillea, wisteria, and passionflower, with the vines eventually forming a roof to provide shade in summer. However, plant-covered pergolas aren’t waterproof.

A waterproof pergola is constructed with pillars and posts and can be attached to your house, or as a stand-alone structure in the garden with a covered walkway leading to the area. Installing a pergola can add value to your home as it essentially provides you with an addit