The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Awnings & Pergolas for Your Business

Welcome to the definitive guide on sprucing up your commercial space with the smartest, sassiest shade solutions out there: awnings and pergolas.

Whether it’s giving your café’s terrace a bit of a facelift, jazzing up the shop front, or just offering your customers some shelter from the great British drizzle, we’ve got you covered.

In this blog, we’re talking all things awnings and pergolas, ensuring your outdoor space is not just seen, but remembered.


Who This Guide Is For:

If you’re a business owner in retail or hospitality looking to enhance your outdoor space, increase customer footfall, dwell time and make your spot the talk of the town, you’re in the right place! We’re here to walk you through the ins and outs, ensuring you nail your choice like a pro.

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What’s On the Menu:

What is the difference between an Awning and a Pergola?

Awnings are great for providing shading from the sunlight and protection from light drizzle. They’re attached to the building and are made from fabrics like canvas, and some models can be retracted to give you greater flexibility.


Pergolas, on the other hand, can be either freestanding or attached against your building. Their varied roof options offer a mix of shade, weather protection and sunshine that’s just right for a semi-outdoor chill zone.


Types of Awnings & Pergolas

Let’s size up the contenders, shall we?

  1. Retractable Awnings



Amo Shop Awnings Lakeland Windermere

AMO’s Lakeland Windermere awning at Call Lane Social in Leeds


Retractable awnings can be extended to provide shade and retracted to open up the space to natural light, offering flexibility based on weather conditions.


Best For: Both commercial spaces and home residences, ideal for areas where flexible and adjustable sun protection or rain cover is needed 



  1. Traditional Awnings


Traditional awning


Often referred to as ‘Victorian shop front awnings’, these utilise a spring barrel mechanism and are extended using a pole with a hook.


Best For: Adding a classic or historical aesthetic to shop fronts or for homeowners aiming for a classic look



  1. Vertical Awnings



These awnings move vertically and are ideal for protecting against low sun angles and increasing privacy.


Best For:  Windows, balconies, or any vertical space needing shade and privacy control. Both commercial and residential spaces that require side protection and privacy over extensive overhead coverage. Ideal for creating private outdoor nooks and shielding against low-angled sun or wind.



4. Dutch Awnings


A Dutch awning, or canopy, features a durable extruded aluminium profile with a satin silver finish, reinforced with glass-filled nylon corners on the frame for added strength. Available in both fixed and retractable styles, these canopies can be curved or squared to suit different architectural needs.


Did you know…?

Our Dutch Awnings are also available in powder coated finishes White and Anthracite as standard, with any other Ral colour available for an extra cost. 


Best Suited For:  Commercial use in Cafés, boutique shops, offering ample space for sign writing on their flat surfaces, making them perfect for displaying business information or branding on the valance.



5. Pergola Awnings

Pergola awning


A pergola awning is a robust outdoor shading structure that combines the architectural elements of a pergola with the functional benefits of an awning. Designed to cover patios, decks, and gardens, these awnings are versatile, allowing for customisation in size and style to suit specific commercial needs.


Best Suited For: High-end commercial establishments with ample outdoor space as well as homeowners looking to create a focal point in their gardens.


Need more help in deciding?


Hear from our technical manager, Will, who explains how choosing the right awning is about balancing needs, aesthetics, and functionality: 


“For commercial establishments, retractable, traditional, and pergola awnings offer the perfect blend of brand expression and practicality. Regardless of your choice, each AMO Group awning brings its unique touch to spaces, transforming them into inviting havens for guests and families alike.”


Now, let’s get to know Pergolas a little better, starting with Fixed Roof Pergolas.


  1. Fixed Roof Pergolas


Fixed roof pergola


These are great for providing a permanent roof over outdoor spaces, offering consistent shelter that’s ideal for patios, gardens, or carports.


Best For: Permanent, year-round outdoor areas requiring robust protection from the elements



  1. Louvered Roof Pergolas


Louvered roof pergola


Features adjustable  motorised slats that can be rotated and angled to control sunlight and ventilation, combining the benefits of open and enclosed spaces. 


Best For:  Commercial spaces like restaurants, cafes, and outdoor event venues, offering a flexible solution to weather protection



  1. Folding Fabric Roof Pergolas


Deponti verdeca folding fabric roof pergola


A folding fabric roof pergola, also known as a retractable fabric roof, offers a versatile roofing solution made from flexible materials like polyester, PVC, or polyethylene. These roofs can be extended to cover and protect outdoor commercial spaces or retracted to expose them to the open air


Best For: Cafes, bars, restaurants  or hotels with outdoor dining or social areas and event spaces, that might need quick adaptation to weather changes



So what to choose?

Each type of commercial awning and pergola has its stage to shine on depending on what your business needs. Want flexibility? Go retractable. Need a permanent fixture that shouts your brand? Maybe a traditional or Dutch canopy is your match. Looking for versatility with a touch of class? Pergola awnings could be your scene-stealers.

Our Director Rachael shares her top advice:

“Before making a decision, consider the usual weather conditions, how much space you’ve got to play with, and how you want your customers to feel. The right choice can turn a simple outdoor area into the heart of your business, drawing customers back time and again.”


Maximising ROI with Awnings & Pergolas

An awning or pergola is not just an addition to your space; it’s an investment in your business’s appeal and comfort. By enhancing customer experience, you’re likely to see a return in the form of increased footfall and longer dwell times.

Wrapping it all up

Investing in the right awning or pergola isn’t just about upping your style game—it’s about creating spaces that invite, protect, and, let’s be honest, make the competition a bit jealous! Done right, it’s a surefire way to turn every visit into an experience and keep your customers coming back for more.


Got a spot that needs a little AMO magic?

Let’s chat and make your outdoor space the place to be. Give us a bell, and let’s turn that potential into reality.

Call us on 01924 412666 | Email us at


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