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Helpful Definitions

There can be some misunderstandings when trying to describe what is required of outdoor structures.  As a general rule the following should assist


A general term applied to a roof or cover over a defined area like a Patio, Deck or a Pergola structure.  It provides protection from the sun and rain to enhance the outdoor living area.  Awnings can be a fixed structure usually made of metal or retractable/folding materials that can be rolled away in conjunction with a mechanically or electronic operation.

An awning can also be a small blind or similar covering over windows or doors so there can be a cross over between the types of companies that can undertake the different kinds of awnings available.  Some will require a blind manufacturer to make an awning whilst others will be better served with a builder.

Glass Room

This is similar to a Patio Enclosure except that all the walls are fully enclosed using sliding doors and windows that incorporate fixed panes of glass or are installed above mid height solid wall panels.


Similar to a Pergola as an open sided freestanding structure but has a roof.  A Pergola is also more rectangular in shape whilst the Gazebo is more hexagonal or octagonal and could incorporate some rail, lattice work or screening on some of the sides.

It is usually erected in a garden environment to provide a protected area for people to sit and admire the view.


A flat area of ground, adjoining the house (usually the rear of the property) and covered with a hard material (such as concrete, bricks, pavers or tiles) but no roof and is ideal for outdoor dining or recreation.

Patio Enclosures/Screen Rooms

This again is a term increasing in popularity but is based on a need rather than a definition.  Patios can be partly or fully enclosed using a variety of products but would usually start with some form or roof and then it’s a matter of how much to enclose the walls.  These could be made from a combination of products and may include insulated wall panels, windows and/or insect screened sections.  These sorts of options have evolved from a need to provide a more protected environment for Alfresco Dining and recreation.

Patio Roofing/Cover/Awning

Similarly to that of Pergola Roofing/Cover in that it has become an evolved term to overcome a need for better use of an area and is more of a marketing toll rather than a defined term


This is traditionally and open (flat/skillion) framed timber structure.  It has no roof but has vertical posts, regularly placed down each side (freestanding structure), which supports the cross beams.  Sturdy lattice sections may also be included, which will aid in the training of climbing vines, which are used to provide protection/shade from the summer sun.  With the changes in styles over the years, most pergola’s these days have at least one side attached to the house (attached structure)

With the substantial maintenance required with timber (painting/staining etc) there has been an increase in the requests for minimal maintenance, which accompanies the combined use of powder coated aluminium and/or Colorbond steel products.

Pergola Roofing/Cover/Awning

These terms appear to be increasing in popularity and appear to have evolved from a need rather than the original design or intention at the outset.  Better all-round protection from the sun and the rain encouraged people with pergola’s to look to use the existing base structure to enhance their outdoor living space with the inclusion of a roofing or cover.

It is usually possible to roof the traditional open pergola but it must be borne in mind that they were not designed to include a roof and as such some changes to the original design may be necessary to achieve the right end result.  As soon as a roof is proposed it must be designed to ensure there is fall for adequate stormwater water runoff.  In some cases it can be more cost effective to remove the original pergola and have it replaced with structure correctly deigned for the purpose.  This may also allow for changes to the area or the overall size to be changed, for a more practical and quality finish for the newly refurbished outdoor living area.

A number of suppliers have started to use this term, to identify with customer’s needs rather than anything else.

Care needs to be taken with the design to ensure the original openness/outdoor feel of the Patio is not lost.


A porch may have a roof but not always.  It is often associated with the entry/exit doors to the property. It may be relatively small in terms of overall size but is sufficient to permit someone to pause before entering or leaving the house.


Is attached to the house and generally on the front of the property and may extend to one or more sides.  It has a roof and may have rails/balustrading on the open side.  On older style, country type cottages, it was not uncommon for a verandah to run completely around the entire outside of the house.

Where the house is raised off the ground (bearers and joists) and not on a concrete slab the verandah usually has decking boards as its flooring.

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