What is the cheapest way to enclose a patio?

By deciding to turn your outdoor patio into a cozy and inviting space throughout the year can significantly enhance your home’s value and your overall quality of life. However, enclosing a patio can become a substantial investment, and finding cost-effective solutions is essential for many homeowners. In this article, we will explore various budget-friendly options to enclose a patio and help you find the cheapest way to create your ideal outdoor oasis.

Screened-in Patios

Screened-in patios are an excellent choice for homeowners looking for an affordable way to enclose their outdoor space. When you enclose your patio this way, it is made up of a frame with screens, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air while keeping out insects and debris. Screened-in patios are particularly popular in regions with mild climates.


  • Cost-effective materials: Screened enclosures are typically constructed using aluminum frames and fiberglass or vinyl screens, which are more budget-friendly.
  • Natural ventilation: You can enjoy a breeze, sunlight, and the sights and sounds of the outdoors without worrying about bugs or debris interrupting you.


  • Limited climate control: Screened-in patios do not offer insulation, making them unsuitable in places with extreme temperatures or during certain times of the year.
  • Limited privacy: They offer minimal privacy as they do not block the view from neighbors or passersby as well as other materials potentially could.

Patio Curtains or Outdoor Drapes

Patio curtains which are sometimes called outdoor drapes can be a versatile and cost-effective way to enclose your patio partially or fully. These fabric panels can be suspended from a rod or wire, providing privacy, shade, and protection from light rain and wind.


  • Affordability: Outdoor curtains come in various price ranges, allowing you to choose something as a very low-budget option.
  • Easy installation: Hanging outdoor curtains is a simple DIY project that doesn’t require a specialized skill set.
  • Versatility: You can easily open or close the curtains to adjust the level of enclosure and privacy depending on the weather or preference.


  • Limited protection: While outdoor curtains offer some protection from light rain and wind, they are not suitable to protect against extreme weather conditions.
  • Maintenance: Outdoor curtains may require occasional cleaning and replacement due to exposure to the elements causing them to degrade.

Polycarbonate or Corrugated Roof Panels

Polycarbonate or corrugated roof panels can be an affordable option to enclose your patio’s roof. These can protect from rain and harsh sunlight. These translucent panels allow natural light to filter through while keeping your outdoor space dry.


  • Cost-effective roofing: Polycarbonate and corrugated roof panels are less expensive and quicker to install than traditional roofing materials like shingles.
  • Natural light: They allow sunlight to enter your patio while blocking harmful UV rays.


  • Limited enclosure: Roof panels provide overhead protection but do not enclose the sides of your patio.
  • Heat buildup: In hot climates, the enclosed space may become uncomfortably warm during the summer months.

Bamboo or Reed Fencing

For a rustic and budget-friendly patio enclosure, you could consider bamboo or reed fencing. These natural materials can be used to create walls around your patio, providing privacy and a touch of tropical ambiance.


  • Low cost: Bamboo and reed fencing are among the most affordable materials for creating enclosure walls.
  • Aesthetic appeal: They add a natural, earthy look to your outdoor space.
    Easy installation: These fencing materials are lightweight and can be installed by homeowners with basic tools.


  • Limited durability: Bamboo and reed fencing may not last as long as more durable materials like wood or vinyl.
  • Maintenance: These materials may require occasional replacement due to weathering and deterioration.

Tarp or Shade Sail

If your primary concern is sun protection, tarps or shade sails can provide an inexpensive solution. These fabric canopies can be suspended over your patio to provide shade from the sun’s harsh rays.


  • Affordability: Tarps and shade sails are among the most budget-friendly options for sun protection.
  • Easy installation: They can be hung with ropes or cables, making them a DIY-friendly option.
  • Versatility: You can adjust the positioning of the tarps or shade sails to create different levels of shade.


  • Limited rain protection: While they offer shade, tarps and shade sails do not provide adequate protection from rain.
  • Temporary solution: These canopies may not be as durable as permanent patio enclosures.

Achieving a patio enclosure on a budget is entirely feasible with the right approach. The cheapest way to enclose a patio depends on your specific needs and preferences. Options such as screened-in patios, outdoor curtains, polycarbonate or corrugated roof panels, bamboo or reed fencing, and tarps or shade sails can help you create an affordable, comfortable, and functional outdoor living space.

Before deciding on the cheapest way to enclose your patio, consider factors such as your local climate, desired level of enclosure, aesthetic preferences, and the time frame you want things to last. While cost-effective solutions may have limitations, they can transform your patio into a comfortable and enjoyable space without breaking the bank.