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The Best Awnings and Pergolas for Commercial Areas

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The Best Awnings and Pergolas for Commercial Areas

As the school holidays approach and the warmer weather arrives, cafes, restaurants, and shops face the challenge of accommodating increased volumes of people seeking comfortable outdoor spaces. 

To provide shade and protection for customers, businesses can invest in the right awnings and pergolas. These structures not only enhance the aesthetics of a commercial space but also offer practical benefits, ensuring a pleasant experience for patrons. 

This article explores the ideal awnings and pergolas for commercial spaces, focusing on durability, functionality, and style.

The Importance of Outdoor Coverings

Outdoor coverings are essential for commercial spaces for several reasons. First and foremost, they provide shade, protecting customers from the sun’s harsh rays. This is particularly important during the summer months when temperatures soar. 

Additionally, awnings and pergolas offer shelter from unexpected rain showers, ensuring that outdoor seating areas remain usable regardless of the weather. 

By creating a comfortable outdoor environment, businesses can attract more customers, increase seating capacity, and ultimately boost revenue.

Types of Awnings for Commercial Spaces

Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are a versatile and popular choice for commercial spaces. These awnings can be extended or retracted as needed, providing flexibility for varying weather conditions. 

For cafes and restaurants, retractable awnings allow for maximum sunlight during cooler mornings and shade during the heat of the day. They also help protect outdoor furniture from sun damage. 

Modern retractable awnings come with motorised options, making it easy to adjust them with the push of a button. Furthermore, these awnings can be fitted with weather sensors to automatically retract during strong winds or extend during more intense heat, providing a hassle-free solution for business owners.

Fixed Awnings

Fixed awnings are permanent structures that offer constant protection. These awnings are ideal for businesses with a specific need for year-round coverage, such as shops with large display windows. 

What’s more, fixed awnings can be customised in various shapes, sizes, and materials to match the business’s branding and aesthetic. 

Materials commonly used include durable fabrics, metal, and polycarbonate, each offering different benefits, such as UV protection, durability, and resistance to weather elements. Fixed awnings provide reliable shelter and can be designed to enhance the visual appeal of a storefront, making them an excellent marketing tool.

Freestanding Awnings 

Freestanding awnings are not attached to a building, making them perfect for creating designated outdoor seating areas. These structures can cover larger spaces and are often used in restaurant patios and outdoor event spaces. 

Freestanding awnings can be moved or reconfigured as needed, offering flexibility for businesses that frequently change their outdoor layouts. They also provide a stylish and inviting atmosphere, encouraging customers to linger longer. 

These awnings can be made from materials like aluminium and steel for the frame, with fabric or polycarbonate covers to ensure stability and protection.

Pergolas for Commercial Spaces

Louvred Pergolas

Louvred pergolas feature adjustable slats that can be tilted to control the amount of sunlight and ventilation. This adaptability makes them ideal for outdoor dining areas, where customers’ comfort is a priority. 

Louvred pergolas can be motorised for easy operation and are available in various materials, including aluminium and wood. 

They offer a modern, sleek look and can be equipped with additional features, such as integrated lighting, heating elements, and even misting systems to enhance the outdoor experience. 

What’s more, their ability to provide precise control over the environment makes them a premium choice for high-end establishments.

Traditional Pergolas

Traditional pergolas have an open-roof design, providing partial shade and a classic aesthetic. These pergolas are often adorned with climbing plants, like wisteria or ivy, or fabric canopies to increase shade and add a touch of greenery. 

Traditional pergolas are perfect for creating an inviting and cosy atmosphere, making them popular in garden cafes and boutique shops. They can be constructed from wood, vinyl, or metal, allowing for customisation to match the business’s style. 

Wooden pergolas, in particular, offer a natural and rustic charm, while vinyl and metal options require less maintenance and offer greater durability.

Bioclimatic Pergolas

Bioclimatic pergolas are designed to create a comfortable microclimate by regulating temperature and airflow. These pergolas often incorporate adjustable louvred roofs, similar to louvred pergolas, but with additional features, such as rain sensors and automated weather response systems. 

Bioclimatic pergolas are ideal for high-end restaurants and luxury retail spaces, offering a premium outdoor experience. 

They combine functionality with elegance, ensuring customers are comfortable in any weather condition. These structures can also include side screens or glass panels to provide additional protection from wind and rain, making them suitable for year-round use.

garden pergola over an outdoor kitchen

Choosing the Right Option for Your Business

When selecting an awning or pergola for a commercial space, several factors should be considered:

Location and Climate

The local climate and typical weather patterns play a significant role in determining the best type of outdoor covering. 

Businesses in areas with frequent rain may benefit more from louvred or bioclimatic pergolas, while those in sunny climates might prefer retractable awnings. 

Coastal areas, for instance, require materials that can withstand salt air and high winds, whereas urban environments may prioritise designs that offer maximum shade and comfort.

Space and Layout

The available space and layout of the outdoor area will influence the choice of structure. Freestanding awnings and large pergolas are suitable for expansive areas, while fixed awnings and compact pergolas work better for smaller spaces. 

Additionally, the configuration of the outdoor seating or display area will determine whether a freestanding or attached structure is more appropriate. It’s important to measure the space accurately and consider how the structure will integrate with existing features.

Aesthetics and Branding 

The chosen structure should complement the business’s branding and overall aesthetic. Custom awnings and pergolas can enhance the visual appeal of a commercial space, attracting more customers and creating a memorable experience. 

For instance, a sleek, modern pergola might suit a trendy urban café, while a more traditional wooden pergola could enhance the charm of a rustic, countryside restaurant.  

What’s more, it’s easy for colour schemes, logos, and design elements to be incorporated into the awning or pergola to reinforce brand identity.

Budget and Maintenance

Budget constraints and maintenance requirements are also important considerations. While some structures may have a higher upfront cost, they can offer long-term benefits and durability. 

Businesses should weigh the initial investment against potential returns in customer satisfaction and increased revenue. 

Materials like aluminium and vinyl are often less expensive and require minimal maintenance compared to wood, which might need regular treatments to prevent weather damage.


Investing in the right awnings and pergolas can transform a commercial space, providing shade and protection for customers while enhancing the overall ambiance. With the school holidays and warmer weather on the horizon, now is the perfect time for businesses to prepare for increased foot traffic. 

By choosing the appropriate outdoor coverings, cafes, restaurants, and shops can create inviting environments that encourage customers to return time and time again. 

By considering factors, such as location, space, aesthetics, and budget, business owners can make informed decisions that enhance their outdoor areas, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive business growth.

Should you have any questions about the awnings and pergolas we have to offer, don’t hesitate to contact us. Alternatively, you can also arrange a home visit from our friendly, professional team at Fraser James Blinds.


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