Patio Covers vs. Pergolas: Which is Right for Your Outdoor Space?

Your outdoor space is one of the most, if not the most, versatile areas in your property. You can install a deck, put in a swimming pool, plant a flourishing garden, add a firepit, or create a seating area (or any number of these options!).

But what’s more important is installing some form of shade in your outdoor area so you’re protected from sun, rain, and snow all year round. And when it comes to outdoor covers, two of the most popular options are patio covers and pergolas.

What are Patio Covers and Pergolas and how do they Differ?

Patio covers are outdoor structures made up of an overhead cover attached to your house on one side and supported by two posts or columns on the other. They also come in a freestanding variety, so you can install them anywhere in your outdoor space.

Pergolas, have some similar traits as patio covers, but can be a little more on the formal side. A pergola is an outdoor structure with columns that support a roof of beams and rafters. That means the roof can be left open or can be covered to create an area sheltered from the elements. Just like patio covers, pergolas may be freestanding or attached. They may include fabric between the beams and/or on the sides.

Patio covers and pergolas have their advantages, but which one should you choose for your property? We look at several characteristics of both.


Patio covers and pergolas are both durable. They are usually made from aluminum, wood, or vinyl materials. The solid beams anchored to the ground can withstand strong winds and other weather conditions.

While the main structure of patio covers and pergolas are strong, they may have elements like fabric. While the main purpose of the fabric is to provide cover from the sun: fabrics usually aren’t made to withstand heavy storms. Any fabric will fade and degrade from sun exposure, making this element of these structures something you may need to replace.

Size and Shade

Patio covers and pergolas can be built in virtually any size. You can attach a patio cover that spans an entire wall or, since patio covers can also be freestanding and self-supporting, you can install one that covers any size of space in your yard.

Pergolas can be designed to shade a walkway, provide a poolside relaxation area, shade a deck or create a sitting area in the corner of your property. Size will depend on purpose. There are lots of options, all providing some shelter from the elements.

pergola with plants


Like any structure exposed to the elements, both patio covers and pergolas require maintenance to keep them in good condition.

Any fabric parts of these structures may need more regular maintenance, such as checking them for rips, frays, and other types of damage since they’re more fragile. You’ll also need to scrub down the fabric to remove the buildup of dust, algae, and other debris.

Of course, patio covers and pergola main structural pieces may need occasional cleaning too, though they’re much more low maintenance. You can easily wipe down dirt and occasionally rinse them using your garden hose.


When it comes to appearance and variety of design, patio covers and pergolas are equal. They can be built using a variety of different, whether you want them to match the look of your home or make them a standout outdoor feature.

Patio covers can also be made from different materials and painted a variety of colors. But what’s even better is that you can customize your patio cover so it blends seamlessly with the design of your home.

Transform Your Outdoor Space

Considering the factors above, it’s clear that having either a patio cover or a pergola will enhance your outdoor space. They are similar yet have a few differences. Whichever you choose, All Exteriors installs both patio covers and pergolas in Wisconsin so you can protect your outdoor area from the elements and transform it into a multipurpose space at the same time. Check out the details on our website for examples of each structure so you can choose

Call us at 715-781-1696 for a free estimate today.

Outdoor Living: 5 Home Additions to Upgrade Your Backyard Space

We live in an area where the weather can limit our outdoor gatherings. Homeowners plan their such gatherings around the possibility of inclement weather. Life in Wisconsin is most certainly not immune to that, but we want to find ways to optimize the time we can spend gathering outdoors. In a time where we need to find more time outside, it is important to look at ways to improve our outdoor living space.

A well-furnished, attractive outdoor living area is key to taking advantage of outdoor spaces. It also helps you make the most of your property. A functional backyard space increases your home value, which is an advantage if you decide to sell your house in the future.

Below are some home additions and improvements that will help you enrich your outdoor living space.

  1. Decks

Many homeowners shy away from installing a deck onto their home’s exterior, thinking that it has high maintenance requirements. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Decks come in various finishes, colors, and materials. These options guarantee that you’ll find a design that suits your style, budget, and preferred level of maintenance.

PVC decking is a popular option among homeowners. The planks are resistant to rot, extremely durable, and come in a wide array of colors and designs. You can choose PVC decking planks with a wood-like finish if you want a natural wood deck without the hassle of maintenance.

The good thing about decks is they’re easy to install. Putting in a deck is the perfect weekend DIY project for anyone with passable carpentry skills. You can also opt for professional deck installation if you’re not confident with your DIY skills.

  1. Patio Covers

A patio cover is important if you want to spend more time in your outdoor area, whether you’re planning to hold gatherings in your backyard or hang out by yourself. The shade protects you if it’s too sunny or windy, keeping you and your guests comfortable.

You also need a patio enclosure if you’re planning to put couches, tables, and rugs to furnish your outdoor living space. The harsh rays of the sun can beat down on your outdoor furniture and cause fading. The cover will shade your furniture and your deck from the sun, preventing discoloration.

  1. Pavers and Landscape Lighting

Adding paver pathways is a simple, affordable way to enhance the visual appeal of your outdoor space. They also allow your guests to move around your yard more comfortably without trampling your grass.

Plus, your yard looks more organized when you add pavers. You can use the pathways to create a focal point in your landscape or accentuate certain features in your garden.

Add lighting to your walkways to set the mood for your evening get-togethers. These pathway lights also ensure your guests’ safety as they walk around your yard in the dark. You can add accent lighting throughout your landscape to highlight the details and features you want.

  1. French Doors

Doors are vital in achieving a seamless indoor-outdoor living setup. A set of French doors on your patio expands your indoor living space to the outdoors. For instance, you can have French doors installed in your dining room so that it opens to an alfresco dining space.

Even if you have them closed, French doors have a light, breezy look that allows plenty of natural light to stream into your house. They make your indoor area look wider and more comfortable.

You’ll also want French doors for convenience. If you want an outdoor dining area, you’ll need a quick route to and from your kitchen. Going through the back door can be inconvenient when you’re carrying food and plates. French doors give you easy access in and out of your house.

  1. Fire Pits

Installing a firepit allows homeowners an outdoor space to be used all year round. By adding a fire pit, you have an enjoyable place to gather no matter if it is warm or cold outside. Creating this centerpiece to your outdoor space will bring cozy and inviting moments to your backyard, no matter the time of year. This hardscape is a popular feature that helps outdoor socializing happen comfortably. A fire pit will bring years of enjoyment.

These five home additions are just a few ideas that can enrich your outdoor space. If you’re unsure how to maximize your property, consult a home improvement contractor. They’ll give you advice on which additions will best complement your exterior design and achieve the kind of outdoor lifestyle you want.

Your Home Improvement Experts in Wisconsin

When you need help repairing, remodeling, or replacing your home exterior, All Exteriors is here to guide you. With 20 years of experience in home remodeling and improvement, we can create a plan that satisfies your requirements, timeline, and budget.

We serve homeowners in Wisconsin and Minnesota, putting your home improvement ideas into reality.

Get in touch with us today for a free estimate.

5 Ways to Use Your Under Deck Patio

If you have a raised deck, chances are there’s an empty space under it waiting to be used. Using this space can maximize your backyard space, letting you get the most out of the land you have. Since the area is sheltered by the deck, there are plenty of potential uses. Whether you want to create storage space or use the area for social gatherings, under deck patios give you the opportunity to be creative in how you use your outdoor space.

1. Under Deck Storage

This is a great solution for homes that lack enough storage space. If you are a family of camping or outdoor enthusiasts, you likely have a lot of equipment cluttering up your home or garage. Moving those items to the under deck area can free up a lot of space in your home. To make it adequate storage space, you’ll need to make it more secure and protected against the elements. Installing a shed or adding walls to keep out rain and damaging sunlight will help keep your items safe.

2. Create a Screened-In Porch

Climates with mild weather can benefit from a screened porch, which gives you a place to relax with the breeze and the freshness of the outdoors while keeping pests out. With a screened porch, you can choose a mesh fineness and metal type for the screens. A finer mesh will keep out smaller bugs, so you can select one depending on the size of bugs you expect to find in your backyard. The best thing about a screened porch is letting the sunlight and fragrant air come in while remaining sheltered from the elements.

3. Add a Playground

The under deck area is ideal for a child’s play area. Even if there’s not enough space for adults to stand or sit comfortably, a children’s play area may fit perfectly into the space. Your children and their visitors will love crawling through tunnels or playing house within the area. For extra safety and more visibility, add lighting so you can keep an eye on them. It’ll also be helpful to see clearly into the under deck area at night, for home safety and security reasons.

4. Under Deck Oasis System

An under deck drainage system will collect rainwater in the space below your deck, and above the ceiling of the under deck area. It then directs the rainwater into a gutter, preventing it from soaking into the ceiling below. The system is designed with sloped metal panels that lead into the rain gutter. The Under Deck Oasis helps you make better use of the area below your deck, preserving it so you can use it to entertain without having unsightly water stains or drips from above.

5. Set Up a Grill and Seating

Grilling doesn’t just have to be for summer and parties. Channel your passion for cooking into an outdoor cooking space perfect for warm weather. The most common features found in outdoor kitchen areas are:

  • Counter space
  • Grill
  • Sink

These three appliances will give you the space you need to create delicious meals for your family, from kebabs to burgers. Add seating to take the meal outdoors completely.

These under deck patio ideas are only some of your options for designing a feature that will benefit your family and make the most of your backyard space. Under deck patio areas let you get creative, so design something that reflects your family’s lifestyle. All Exteriors LLC can help you make those ideas a reality, contact us today to get started.


Image Credit: Shutterstock/Kristi Blokhin

Underdecking Must-Haves: Outdoor Living

Do you wish you had a relaxing space to hang out and enjoy your yard? Does water drip from your second story deck make it impossible to use the space below when it is raining? If you want functional space that stays dry and doubles as a finished outdoor entertaining area, adding an under deck gutter system may be just what you need.

Underdecking ― the process of attaching material to the underside of a deck ― can help create a covered space that can be used year-round.

The area under a raised first-floor deck is typically damp, with mold or mildew forming on the slab and beams underneath. Use a deck roof to keep the area dry and usable for storage. Additional benefits of implementing a deck roof include:

  • Bird proof
  • Self-cleaning
  • Handles snow loads
  • Guaranteed not to leak or sag

How it Works

An aluminum under deck ceiling system acts like a dropped-ceiling and channels rainwater and snow away from the space between the decking planks. The overlapping panels attach to a framework that angles water, snow, and debris into seamless gutters and downspouts. By moving moisture away from the house and foundation, your patio, furniture, and other contents stay dry. Depositing the water in specific areas prevents the ground around your home from becoming oversaturated.

Clearance requirements for underdecking are minimal. On the high end, the deck roof hangs about two inches below the beams with the slope dropping an eighth of an inch for every foot.

Aluminum vs. Vinyl

The temperature fluctuates significantly throughout the year in Minnesota and Wisconsin, from scorching hot summers to frigid winters. Snow and ice may thaw and freeze multiple times in a single season. Unlike vinyl, aluminum alloy does not contract and expand with the temperature. This means that the deck ceiling will not develop gaps or cracks over time. Here are three more reasons why aluminum is a better choice:

  • Aluminum is rigid and stronger than vinyl, so it will not sag or buckle over time. As the under deck system can feature light fixtures, fans, speakers and other outdoor accessories to make space feel warm and inviting, it is important to ensure the material used is supportive.
  • Birds and squirrels often choose to build their nests in traditional gutters and under the deck against the beams. The deck ceiling uses overlapping panels that are enclosed with flashing, effectively critter-proofing the area.
  • Aluminum alloy requires very little maintenance, and you can power wash or stain your deck as you usually would. Dish soap or glass cleaner can be used with a soft cloth, sponge or shammy to clean the panels without scratching the surface.

Finish Your Yard in Style

Once your under deck system is in place, give your home a finishing touch that reflects your personality with concrete patios and hardscaping. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Maximize your space by using natural stone and extending it beyond the covered patio area.
  • Create walkways to your outdoor space with stamped or broomed concrete services.
  • Extend your outdoor season with a fire pit or similar feature. It makes a gathering cozy, whether you are having a party or a quiet evening for two.
  • Add functionality to your yard with an outdoor living space.

Completing your yard with design details can enhance curb appeal and increase property value by up to 25 percent. At All Exteriors, we work with you to create your perfect outdoor space, from concrete patios to retaining walls and driveways. For more information on creating the yard of your dreams, contact us today!

Start Prepping Your Lawn For Winter

It may seem like winter is still far off, but if you want to set your lawn up to look its best next year, it’s best to think a few seasons ahead. The better you take care of it now, the faster and healthier it’ll come back. Here are a few things you can do for a beautiful lawn next spring.

Don’t Stop Mowing!

It may be tempting to stop mowing as the weather cools down, but believe it or not, your lawn needs your attention now more than ever. Letting the grass grow too long could cause it to smother itself or put it at risk of fungus damage. Grass needs to be kept a little longer during the worst heat of the summer to prevent it from becoming scorched, but as the weather cools down, a shorter height is ideal.

Clear Leaves

You’ll also want to make sure you clear fallen leaves as temperatures slowly decrease. Allowing leaves to pile up on your lawn can smother your grass, leaving large bare spots when spring arrives. To prevent bare spots, rake and remove leaves, or mulch them, breaking them up with the mower and redistribute them into the grass.


If you are going to aerate, before winter sets in is a great time to do so. Aerating helps your lawn breathe throughout the winter and absorb nutrients. Plan on aerating if your yard feels hard-packed, if it sees a lot of foot traffic, or if the grass or mulch is thick enough that it could suffocate the roots of the plants.

Fertilize and Seed

One of the last things you should do when winterizing your lawn is to fertilize it so that you give it the best chance of coming in thick and healthy next spring. This is also a great time to look for any bare or even thin patches in the lawn, and reseed as needed.

Winterize Your Garden, Too

This is also a good time to start thinking about winterizing your garden. As the days get a little shorter and a little cooler, it’s time to start pruning perennials and mulching the garden to protect the plants through the winter. This is also a great time to give your yard a quick assessment to make sure it’s benefiting your curb appeal. Need professional landscaping to really make your yard shine? Contact All Exteriors today to find out more about landscaping in New Richmond.