Outdoor covering options and prices

For cheaper budgets you can get a shade sail, while having a sleek design
ARTICLE Patricia Moore 

By creating covered living spaces in outdoor areas, smart renovators are adding both visual appeal and value to their properties. 

They’re also maximising the use of areas which are less appealing over the cooler months; the right overhead treatment can transform a deck or barbecue area into an outdoor room with the potential for year-round use.

The options are wide – permanent or semi-permanent, shade sails, awnings, umbrellas, timber pergolas and free-standing gazebos that can function as an alfresco dining space, pool house or spa room.

We drop into the shade to take a look at the options and the estimated costs. 

Permanent coverage 

When installing permanent outdoor roofing, choose a product that’s durable and unobtrusive, requires minimal maintenance, offers a range of designs to suit all architectural styles and comes with a replacement guarantee.

With PSP ClearVue roofing, homeowners can enjoy a glass-like appearance that’s naturally resilient, provides a  high level of protection against UV and, due to the lightweight nature of the panels, requires less structural support, reducing the overall cost. It’s suitable for use in high wind zones and sea-spray zone areas.

Glazing panels can be supplied ready to install by a tradesman or modified on site using standa rd tools.

Price: Depending on the area to be covered, approximately $250 per sqm, incl GST.

An outdoor area with couch under a louvre roof

Opening roofing 

An opening roof is a versatile and stylish solution, providing coverage plus control of the environment by adjusting the aluminium blades, either manually or automatically, to manage, light, shade and airflow temperature. Many systems also offer automatic rain sensor options.

Look for a product designed to withstand climatic  conditions such as salt spray, strong winds and high UV levels. LouvreTec  currently offer seven different systems, all of which have fully engineered technical specifications to cater for any environmental factor. All products are available in powdercoat or anodised finishes.

Whether retro-fitting to a deck, gazebo or pergola - or installing in a new home - usin g qualified installers will ensure the manufacturer’s warranty.

Retractable louvres, such as Johnson  & Couzins Concertina  louvre, are the latest developments in opening roofs. They offer the same features as the regular opening systems but with the added advantage of retracting to almost nothing at the touch of a button.

Price: Based on 15m² a nd up, opening roof prices, installed with aluminium frame, vary around $800-$950 per m² + GST. A retractable opening roof, installed, is around $1,100-$1,200 per sqm + GST.


A renovation project that involves building a deck is the perfect time to consider adding a pergola - effectively a veranda when covered. This can be either freestanding or attached to a dwelling.

While building consents are not required unless it has a closed roof, a pergola must  comply with the Building Code and any local by-laws. In some cases – such as proximity to the boundary – resource consent may also be necessary.

For a short-term solution a ‘pop-up’ gazebo or party tent is an inexpensive option and there are a wide range  of designs available for groups of all sizes. They’re a popular temporary structure, particularly at the height of summer.

Price: Depending on regional pricing variations, a pergola would come in at around $1,800 including materials, tools and resource consent requirements, excluding installation. A roofed custom-made pergola or veranda may cost around $300 per sqm + GST. Unroofed will be as little as $100-$150 per sqm + GST. Off-the-shelf pop-up gazebos or party tents range from around $20.

sun shade umbrella over a couch by a pool


Patio or market umbrellas are the perfect solution for shading smaller areas like outdoor dining settings, kids sandpits and play pools. The big movers are the versatile side-mounted cantilever styles.

The side-mount keeps the base out of the way and they can cover a wider are a than the traditional patio umbrella. Look for products featuring anti-fading UVA and UVB-resistant fabric, which offer umbrella, and are more resilient to sun damage and fade.  

Most cantilever umbrellas can pivot a full 360 degrees and can either be weighted with a sand or water-filled base, or bolted to a deck. The counter-weight technology in cantilever umbrella bases helps maintain stability. 

Price: At Mitre10  a 2.15m high x 2.3m diameter patio umbrella retails at less than $40, a cantilever umbrella at 2.56m tall x 2.93m in diameter starts from $139. Patio umbrella bases range from less than $20 and cantilever umbrella bases start around $100. 

Shade sails 

Shade sails are probably the most cost-effective way to shade large areas and range from off-the-shelf, sail-only options, to customised designs in a variety of dedicated sail fabrics including shade cloth, canvas, PVC and shade mesh. Unless these are sufficiently heavy-duty, the effectiveness of the structure will be compromised. 

Price: A custom-made 5m x 5m shade cloth with four heavy galvanised poles, installed, could cost  in the vicinity of $2,500-$3,000 + GST. Off-the-shelf shade sails, can cost under $50 (sail only).

You might be interested in reading: Outdoor flooring options and prices.


This article by Patricia Moore featured on page 42 of Issue 018 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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